Get through football season without gaining weight

Lisa Reed, special to

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:

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