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Football Season and the Temptations of Tailgating

Tailgating is an American pre-game tradition found at most major sporting events and with football season already under way, remember that your pre-game party doesn’t have to be an unhealthy food and drink fest.


“You can stay healthy at tailgating parties from kickoff to the final touchdown,” says Enrique Cuevo, M.D., a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

Many of the food options at tailgating parties are high in calories, sodium, and fat, and therefore may not be the healthiest choices for your overall health. Instead of tempting yourself with alcohol, potato chips and hot dogs, make delicious yet healthy selections when choosing your pre-game favorites.

“Numbers are very important in the game of football. In the game of health, numbers are important, too. Eating and drinking in moderation is the key to enjoying a fun and healthy tailgate party,” says Dr. Cuevo. “You don’t have to eat and drink excessively to be a fun tailgater.”

Dr. Cuevo shares how you can have a healthy balance without sacrificing your game-day rituals.

“If you plan on grilling on game day, include vegetables such as mushrooms, sliced onions, and peppers to spice things up. Also, fresh vegetables for dipping, rather than potato chips, can help you score big for your own health,” says Dr. Cuevo

Although there never seems to be a shortage of beer and sodas at most tailgating parties or games, it is very important to watch your alcohol consumption. Dr. Cuevo says, “For every cup of alcohol you drink, follow it with a cup of water. Too much beer or liquor can actually cause you to eat more. Water is the best choice.”

With a little care and moderation, you can avoid sidelining your healthy diet this football season.

“Watch your portions and every once in a while take a break from the food — walk around, visit friends, and participate in other game day activities,” concludes Dr. Cuevo, who cares for patients at Tanglewood Clinic.