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Tailgating with Healthy Foods

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April 10, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about tailgating with healthy foods.

Hello. I'm Amy Myers, and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Alex Frantz, Dietetic intern at Mississippi State University.

So, Alex, I love to tailgate, but the foods I choose when I tailgate are not the healthiest food choices. What are some simple ways to revamp my tailgating food choices?

Alex Frantz, Di: When people go to these tailgates, they tend to eat foods that are fried foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and processed foods. So, that means when people attend tailgates, they're consuming foods like chicken wings, cheese dips, and chips and soda, and stuff like that.

So a few simple ways, specifically with those food examples, that you can make those better, is you could use baked chicken wings instead of fried chicken wings. This simple change can save you almost 100 calories per serving. And if you like dip, you could try making hummus instead, because you're going to get some more fruits and vegetables with that and there's more fiber to keep you satiated longer. Or maybe even a bean dip, a black bean dip. That's also high in fiber and protein, which will keep you satiated and you won't snack as much.

Another great tip is just, in order to reduce the amount of those types of foods in general, you could be eating the fried foods, is try snacking on portion amounts of pretzels, rather than regular chips. Or baked chips. I don't think people tend to realize that these healthier food choices can taste better, if not just as good.

Amy Myers: I'm starting to think the big message is that these foods are the same foods that you would normally have a tailgate with, but just healthier versions of the same foods.

Alex Frantz, Di: That's correct, Amy. That's the message I'm just trying to get across, is that you can eat healthier while going to a tailgate, and not sacrifice as much as you might think.

Amy Myers: What I like about these are that these choices are doable. But if you're like me, convenience is a huge part of my decision in making my tailgating food choices. How can I make these healthier tailgating options more convenient?

Alex Frantz, Di: You and me both, Amy. As a student, I make most of my food choices based off of convenience. So, a way you can make that easier on yourself is to utilize stuff like Tupperware. This is what I like to do, and I think is a real effective way to prepare yourself for the tailgate the night before.

So, Tupperware is going to be your new best friend, just in general, when it comes to making health-related goal choices or preparing foods. This is because you can fill this Tupperware with pre-portioned amounts of whatever food you'd like to bring to the tailgate, like those dips I was talking about before. Or even the ... You could bake your chicken wings the night before and bring it.

This means, if you pre-portion these foods, you're less likely to overindulge. So Tupperware just in general, is my big tip to people. This is really an effective way for you to be mindful about what you're bringing and what you're eating.

Amy Myers: That's fantastic, Alex. What about beverages that lots of tailgaters like to drink, like sugary beverages and other things that tend to be high in calories? What can tailgaters do to avoid these beverages?

Alex Frantz, Di: That's a great question, Amy. People should look to consume beverages not so high in sugar, just in general. So, this means you should probably drink less of the regular sodas and sweet tea. I know sweet tea is real big down here, and I like sweet tea.

Instead of these sugar-sweetened beverages, you should try to look to have zero sugar beverages. Like, sugar-free lemonade, unsweetened iced tea, club soda or diet soda, are all viable options that you can throw into the mix in order to reduce unnecessary sugar and calorie intake.

All sugar-free beverages are a great option. Don't forget the best option is always water. You can never go wrong with water, if you're ever unsure about a choice. And if you want to give your water some flavor, what I like to do is I like to put lemon, or fruit, or lime in there, because sometimes water can get boring and you can spice it up that way.

Amy Myers: Those all sound like viable options for someone looking to consume less calories from his or her beverage choice. Do you have any other tips for people that are looking to make their tailgate healthier?

Alex Frantz, Di: It is very easy to get caught up in conversation around the food table. This can lead to possible accidental overeating or snacking on foods or beverages that you tried to avoid. So, to prevent this over-consumption, if you didn't bring Tupperware to pre-portion out how much you're eating, bring small plates or napkins that you can kind of say, I'm only going to have two of these small plates of whatever food that might be at the tailgate. And also, remember to utilize that Tupperware. That's my go-to, and I want people just to remember that while eating healthy is important, don't forget to have a good time with your family. Go play Cornhole, and enjoy the overall experience of tailgating.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Alex Frantz, Dietetic intern. I'm Amy Myers, and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Department: Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion

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