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My family loves football. We spend most Saturdays in the fall tailgating before games. Any tips for eating healthy on game day?


Tailgating is such a fun way to share food with friends and family. Unfortunately, some of the dishes typically served can be high in fat and low in nutrients. If you’re not careful, you can end up consuming a lot of empty calories. Like the football players, you must go into the day with a game plan. Follow these three key plays to win the tailgating game. Play 1: Pregame with Breakfast Before heading out to tailgate, be sure to eat breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast not only kick-starts your metabolism, it will also keep you from overeating later in the day. Make a bowl of oatmeal with milk instead of water and top it with fruit. At eight grams of protein per glass, milk has more protein than an egg. Paired with fiber-rich oatmeal and fruit, this meal will keep you full for hours. Play 2: Make Key Plays When you’re ready to tackle the game day spread, choose wisely. Pick lean sources of protein such as nuts, cheese trays, turkey sandwiches and grilled chicken tenders to fill you up faster. Instead of fried potato chips, pair veggies like carrots and celery with your favorite dips. If you’re contributing, try making dips with yogurt instead of mayo for a high-protein, low-calorie option. Play 3: Punt Big Portions You can still have a burger, just make it a slider. The same goes for muffins. Just make it mini. If all else fails, play the split game with a friend. When healthy options are limited, portion size is key. In a stand-up-and-eat situation like a tailgate, one-or-two bite foods are ideal. Keep that in mind when you are preparing food to take. With a few modifications, most foods can be made in a “mini version.” LauraMarbury_headshot_smallLaura Marbury, MS, RD, LD

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