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Happy, Healthy Tailgating!

People grilling hot dogs at a tailgate party

I’m a Hoosier. I was born in Indiana and went to Indiana University for college. This means I was raised to be a football fan and to love tailgating. Anyone who knows anything about Indiana knows that we, as a state, love football and basketball. There are two large Big Ten schools in Indiana: Purdue and Indiana. Naturally, because they are in the same state, they are fierce rivals.

Growing up you are either a Purdue fan or Indiana fan. Of course you have the occasional split household. We also have Notre Dame, which it seems that everyone in Indiana supports – even around the country, unless you are a Michigan fan (I however, am not included in that “everyone”) Finally, you CAN’T forget about the Colts (I’ll be fair and include northwest Indiana residents with the Bears).

Football. Saturdays and Sundays in the fall plans are centered on the great American pastime of football. Whether it is on the TV or actually at the game, flowing drinks and excessive food are staples of a football weekend. And this isn’t just in Indiana.

So how do we, as health conscious people, still enjoy the wonderful world of football and tailgating? This is a blog devoted to being health conscious and still having fun during this wonderful thing we call football season! Follow, or at least keep in mind, the following tips and tricks as football season gets underway:

1. Eat healthy throughout the week. Making healthy food choices throughout the week is going to change your taste buds and influence what you crave. By eating healthy throughout the week, the “junk food” often served at football festivities will be less appealing.

2. Be conscious of what you are eating and plan ahead. A great alternative to cheap burgers and hot dogs is fish. You can also use a healthy veggie burger – black bean burgers are great alternatives. Take a night to make your own homemade veggie burgers or black bean burgers and freeze them. If you’re choosing to go with the meat, make sure that you are getting grass fed beef with no hormones or antibiotics that is less than 10% fat content.

Another thing that you can make ahead of time is the beef. If the beef is on sale, buy enough to make burger patties to freeze. Add onion and garlic to your burgers for flavor and health benefits. As far as hot dogs go, let’s not get into the details of what goes into those cheap hot dogs. Applegate has a great option out there for all beef hot dogs that have hormone and antibiotic free meat. It isn’t the best option, but is definitely a better option. The key when looking at any hot dog of any meat is to look for key words like uncured, antibiotic and hormone free, and grass fed. Be conscious of what you’re buying.

3. Sweet potatoes are a power food and a great substitute for the other fried potatoes we often eat. You can make your own sweet potato fries by peeling, dicing them into strips, and using olive oil and things like garlic to add flavor. Toss them on the grill for a delicious side!


4. Be aware of the beverages you are drinking. Look at the calories in the alcohol and realize that drinking too much doesn’t just leave you feeling bad the next day. It also slows down the metabolism. Furthermore alcohol has a more calories than one may realize. Make sure you’re staying hydrated and not drinking too much alcohol. At the very least, stay away from sugary drinks such as sports drinks and pop; they’re packed with sugar and calories. This is not the way to spend your calories and you definitely don’t want that insulin spike.

5. Pinterest. It is a great resource for converting unhealthy recipes into healthy ones (there are also plenty of unhealthy ones on there too.

6. Don’t be afraid to pack the veggies and fruit. It is apple season and they are a very portable fruit! Also, carrot and celery sticks travel well. You could also make veggie kabobs to grill. If you want to spice it up a bit, make fruit kabobs and grill them with some cinnamon!

7. Most importantly be aware of what you are putting in your mouth. Be conscious and deliberate. Remember that everything you consume either honors or dishonors our body.

Happy football season everyone! We’d love to see your favorite football fan pictures!

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