What makes football so popular? It’s a great game, of course! Football is THE number one pastime in the country. It is not just a weekend sport anymore, it is not just a game; football season has evolved into a 4 month, 256 game family affair. That’s right, football is not just a man’s game. According to data from the ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census, with league officials female football fans account for almost half of its supporters. Forty four percent of the NFL’s more than 150 million American fans are women, http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-commentary/article/7536295/nfl-finding-success-targeting-women-fans-merchandise-fashion. In fact, women participating in fantasy football have doubled over the past 4 years.
As many as seventy-four percent of male and female sports fans agree that following sports together is a good way to bond, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/football-frenzy-half-of-americans-are-professional-football-fans-300141035.html. Tailgating is a football tradition that heightens the bonding experience. Regardless of whether your football team is winning or losing, there is nothing much better than hanging with friends and family and having a good time.
Watching football and joining in on the tailgating experience: Eating, drinking and playing is not reserved for only those who are attending the game. Enjoying the game from the comfort of your home can be almost as enjoyable as watching the game from the stadium, especially when those at home “homegate”. Need some homegating ideas? Check this out, http://www.nflshop.com/Homegating/pg/2/ps/96/so/no_sort, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/01/nfl-homegating-essentials-_n_2224060.html.
Whether tailgating or homegating, the party experience does not have to be a complete foul on your health or waist. Go into the “game” with a winning attitude. Bring your best strategy and play to win. Go all-or-nothing, manage portions, prep by cutting back during the week but do whatever it takes to make the nutrition score.
Whether imbibing alcohol or indulging in party fare:
- Fill up on nutrient dense protein and veggies, not empty calories like chips. Strip away the outside of no-no’s like fried batter, buns or sandwich bread
- Drink one or two alcoholic beverages but don’t overdo it. Check out and count nutritional information for alcohol and food beforehand: lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/alcbev.html, and, http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/tailgating-foods-super-bowl-low-carbs- 2181.html.
- Save up by cutting down on extra food and drinks during the week.
- Think number one and help yourself to one serving not two.
- Do not go to a party hungry, I guarantee a disaster. Eat healthy foods before you get to the party and control what you eat once you get there.
Better options to eat while “gating” (Home or tail)
crudités with deviled eggs, chicken or tuna salad
pigs no blanket
low carb Swedish meatballs
mozzarella basil and tomato skewers
cigars: any cold cut, rolled up with lettuce and cheese or avocado
low carb/no sugar added cole slaw
grilling meat (hot dog, burger, shrimp, fish or chicken)
BBQ wings (not fried)
lunch meat and cheese cigars (ham turkey roast beef cheese roll-ups)
sausage and peppers
Veggie dip recipes,
Don’t forget the other “game”, activities are an important part of any “gating ” party. Set up activities to play and focus on something else aside from drinking and eating.
Enjoy the football family “gating affair while making good food choices. Do not toss in the towel for a party. Be smart. While you do not have much control over the final game score, the BIG “health” score is ALL yours. Fire up the grill and let the party begin. Relax, balance your goals and enjoy the game.