If you're human, and all Badasses are, perhaps you have a love-hate relationship with Tailgate Saturdays. The friends, football, 'adult beverages' and tailgate food are what we look forward to through the whole long, hot summer. That's the love part.
The hate part is the speed at which all that alcohol and tailgate food can wreck a Badass' week of healthy eating. By the time the fourth quarter ends, we've effectively been drinking and eating approximately 250 calories per play - but NOT working it off like those players.
A few of you have asked me this week, "How can I have a good time this football season without demolishing a summer of hard work and awesome results?"
I will never profess to have all the answers. But a few overarching tips come to mind, plus practical "eat this, leave that on the grill" guidelines for a happy but not too heavy tailgate.
These are merely 'suggestions,' and in no way meant to put a penalty flag on the glory that is a College Football Saturday! Because let's be for real: Sometimes you just have to celebrate a touchdown with a cocktail or another hot wing (or 5).
Big (Tailgate Snack) Plays
Stay away from the pocket: That buffet table or stadium box countertop lined with food? Strategically position yourself far from it. As in, out of "let me just reach over here and dip another chip" distance.
Come Hungry to Win, not Eat: The quickest way to scarf down too much tailgate is to show up hungry. Skipping breakfast and lunch to "save calories" for later will likely lead to overeating. Eat something somewhat healthy and filling beforehand, whether it's oatmeal for breakfast before noon kickoff or salad for lunch before the 3:30 p.m. game.
The 1-to-1 Fake: For every beer or cocktail, drink 8 ounces of water. You'll consume fewer liquid calories, if only to avoid the 19th trip to the bathroom. Bonus: The less sloshed you are, the more likely you are to resist chili cheese on the hot dog. Some foods just seem more appetizing through blurry eyes.
Tailgate Snacks 101
Chips: Obviously, carrots or even fruit will be less calorically disastrous than a bag of chips, but some chips are better choices than others. Rice Works, The Works, Sun Chips, Pretzel Crisps and a few others are healthier choices - when eaten in moderation - than regular ol' pure potato chips or tortilla chips. The biggest pitfall is mindless crunching. Know thy serving sizes, no matter the chip. And if your tailgate isn't likely to supply the healthier, option, BYOB(ag).
Dips: Go for hummus or guac (with the healthy fat of avocados) over mayo and sour cream-based dips. Salsa is ideal - low in calories, high in nutritional value thanks to those tomatoes.
The Grill: Turkey burgers or bison burgers are leaner than regular beef, and many varieties of chicken sausage are delicious AND lower in fat and calories than regular beef or pork sausage. Hot dogs don't have much redeeming value nutritionally in my book. Use whole grain sandwich thins or eat them 'naked' (no bun or wrapped in lettuce) to cut carbs and calories. Again, bring these food supplies if the tailgate host won't.
Desserts: You don't have to deny yourself, but watch portions - as in, one cookie, not three; or half a brownie, not the whole gigantic square. By the time dessert rolls around, you might have had enough 'adult beverage' to be feeling less in control of your sweet tooth, so be careful.
Remember "85 to 90": Above all, don't beat yourself up on Tailgate Saturday! It's one day. Live a little. The Badass Journey has to be enjoyable. If your Tailgate enjoyment comes via chips and dip or a chili dog, so be it. What counts is this: Eating 85 to 90 percent clean, 85 to 90 percent of the time!
Coming up: The Badass 5-25-50-100 Challenge...