Football season is here, and I’ve got the tailgating tips that will help you score the winning touchdown when it comes to fueling well on game day…I posted these each Saturday on Facebook last year but thought compiling them in a blog post could be helpful, too.
So…I have one question to ask: “ARE YOU READY?“ [insert Hotty Toddy chant here :)]
Would you expect a football player to wait until right before kickoff to fuel up with a pre-game meal? Should your children “save up” by not eating leading up to a party later in the day? Hopefully, your answer is “NO!”
So why do we do this to ourselves sometimes?
Rather than skipping or skimping on meals leading up to your game day get-together, fuel up with a balanced breakfast (and lunch if kickoff is later) to prevent eating more than your body needs when game-time finally arrives.
Football teams and their fans wear their signature colors on game day, but sometimes our tailgate spreads are neutral colors only…or varying shades of brown. Be the one to bring the color…Asian slaw, succotash salad, or a veggie dish that won’t get soggy over time. Fruit kabobs with a yogurt dip could be a tasty addition, too! Your fellow fans will thank you for adding a festive pop of color to their plates!
A memorable day of tailgating is about much more than the food. Take time to socialize, play corn hole, or watch the Walk of Champions (if you’re an Ole Miss fan like me!). What’s your favorite non-food tailgating activity?
During football games, time-outs are called at strategically important moments. As you’re eating meals, take a “time-out” to check in with yourself…are you still hungry, comfortably satisfied, or stuffed? Use your time-out to reevaluate your “strategy” and to prevent eating more than your body needs. Continue eating if you’re still feeling hungry or not quite satisfied, or move on to more socializing and cheering for your team if you’ve had enough.
Each football player’s position demands different skills and sizes. A running back who needs speed and endurance shouldn’t be compared to an offensive lineman who needs size and strength to perform well in the game. No one position is better than the other!
In the same way, no one body shape or size is better than another….so why do we compare and judge ourselves against others? Focus instead on fueling with foods you enjoy when you’re physically hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied (rather than relying on what someone else may think). Don’t let comparisons to others interfere with your tailgating (or any) fun!
Your plate is your playbook!
Winning football teams study visual representations of all their plays. Serving yourself a plate (rather than grazing) provides a visual representation of the amount you’re eating and could help you eat more mindfully amidst gameday distractions.
Remember: A plate (playbook) + honoring natural hunger and satisfaction cues (skill) = A winning strategy!
During a football game, it is each team’s job to keep members of the opposing team out of the endzone. At your tailgate, it’s your job to keep foods out of the Temperature Danger Zone (40-140 degrees F) where bacteria thrive or “score.” The strategy: Keep cold foods cold & on ice. Eat hot foods within 2 hours or keep hot in chafing dishes. Making sure the food you serve to friends is safe is key to a winning tailgate.
Hosting a tailgate with friends? Keep your fellow fans energized by sending them to the game with a to-go bag of trail mix (nuts, dried fruit, and a little dark chocolate). This party favor will come in handy when hunger strikes during the big game (not to mention they won’t miss any important plays while standing in the concession stand line)!