WASHINGTON – Football season is finally upon us. It’s time for fantasy leagues, Friday night lights and food. And while watching a game with friends around the television — or tailgating outside the stadium before kickoff — is no doubt fun, celebrating football isn’t always ideal for your waistline.
Pizza, wings, burgers, beer: All of the classic football staples are packed with fat and calories. But football season doesn’t have to be a diet disaster. Here are some tips on how you can keep the score up and your weight down.
Give your favorite football foods a makeover and try these healthier options for your next spread:
Instead of chips and French onion dip, make guacamole dip or a mango salsa and serve it with baked tortilla chips.
If you’re firing up the grill, make your burger with 90 percent or higher lean ground beef — or choose a veggie burger. Don’t forget to top your burger with lettuce, tomato and a whole grain bun.
Skip the greasy chicken wings and opt for grilled chicken breast or shrimp skewers with a low calorie dipping sauce.
If brownies are on your game day menu, cut them into small, 1-inch bites — it is all you need. Your football team is disciplined, follow suit.
If tailgates are on your fall schedule, take a few simple steps to make sure you stay on track:
Eat breakfast or a high-protein snack before you arrive at your tailgate. Do not arrive hungry or you risk overeating. Try an egg white omelet with vegetables or a half-cup of oatmeal with berries in the morning to stay full throughout the day.
Fit in a workout before your day begins. You will have more energy to cheer on your team and you’ll burn more calories all day long, since your metabolism will get a boost from exercise. The video below is a perfect quick and simple workout that will get you revved up to cheer on your team.
Be a smart griller. Marinate your food for a few hours in advance to make sure it is packed with as much flavor as possible, with as little added fat as possible.
Drink in moderation and try lighter beers.
Stay active at the tailgate. Spread out and toss a football or a Frisbee with friends. You’ll forget you are sneaking in some exercise.
Remember, moderation is key. Football season doesn’t mean you have to pig out. You can maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying a winning day with your favorite team.
A quick, but effective, workout for your busy fall season: