Drum roll. Football season is upon us once again. There’s nothing like watch parties with friends and family, and grilling in the parking lot ahead of the big game. But, within all these delicious spirits and finger foods lie hidden calories, fats and subsequent pounds. And no one needs extra pounds ahead of the holidays.
A 2012 study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that the risk of dying at an early age rises in conjunction with red-meat consumption. For this reason, not to mention the added fat content, it’s a good idea to substitute that beef burger for a healthier alternative. Don’t think cutting the cow means you have to cut the taste. Ahead of the tailgate or party, try mixing up a veggie, bean, mushroom or turkey burger. Then, just throw the patties on the grill when you arrive. We love this one from Mario Lopez’s cookbook Extra Lean which incorporates spinach and tomatoes—adding in a few extra veggies is always a win!
Dodge the dips
Let’s be honest – the creamy dressings and whipped dips are hard to resist. However, lurking under that tangy ranch and the savory buffalo/cheesy goodness are usually fats, and lots of them. We can all bet that there will be chips and dip at any tailgate we go to, so pack your own alternatives ahead of time. This is key. It’s all about the preparation. This caramelized onion dip is packed with flavor and only a tiny bit of mayonnaise, making it much more guilt-free than some other traditional dips. And what’s a party without the guacamole? This recipe is packed with flavor and all the benefits of avocado.
Just say no to the chips. While they are crunchy and salty and an easy vice, veggies will leave you feeling a lot less guilty at the end of the day. Get creative – you do not have to stick with the basic carrots and celery. Check out these vegetables that are at the peak of freshness during fall.
Know when to say “no.” Over-grazing is easy to do with a smorgasbord of food and refreshments at your fingertips. Drinking plenty of water will not only keep you hydrated, but it will also fill you up faster and keep you from overeating.
Remember to remove yourself from the situation. It might sound silly, but simply moving your chair farther from the snacks will keep you from reaching over for just one more bite. Don’t forget to take a walk. Keep moving and burn off a few extra calories at halftime or during a commercial break.
Making these slight substitutions and adjustments will really add up over the course of the season. So grab the face paints and jerseys, and make sure you’re the number-one fan for both your team and your health.