Thursday, September 12, 2013

Top 10 tailgate food swaps

This week, enjoy a guest post from my intern, Ashley!

Be Extraordinary,

It’s that time of year again; football is back in full swing! Everyone enjoys the cooler weather and cheering on our favorite teams with our friends and family. Tailgating goes along with football season, which usually means a variety of tempting foods within an arm’s reach. If you are training for a race you might think that you need to avoid these parties so you don’t ruin all the hard work you have put into your training. The good news is you don’t have to! You can enjoy tailgating with your friends and family while sticking to your training plan.

Here are 10 typical tailgate foods with perfect healthy swaps perfect for a person in training:


1. Wings are a delicious and messy appetizer that everyone loves, but are typically fried and high in fat. This baked chicken wing recipe is lower in fat, but still provides full flavor that you love.

·         Using Greek yogurt in the blue cheese dip lowers total fat and provides protein and calcium.

·         Make it your own: substitute hot sauce for a sweeter BBQ sauce if you don’t like spice.

2. Nachos usually contain excessive calories and fat, but if done right can be healthy. This recipe of chicken and bean nachos are an appetizer everyone will enjoy.

·         Chicken: great source of lean protein, which can help protect against muscle damage during a workout

·         Beans: good source of protein and fiber that will keep you feel full longer

·         Shredded cheese: provides calcium and is lower in fat and sodium content than processed nacho cheese

·         Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream again!

·         Offer fresh pico de gallo, salsa or guacamole on the side and serve over corn chips. 


3. Fresh salsa or pico de gallo are great choices.  Both are a good source of vegetables, which contain vitamins essential for athlete’s immune systems and helpful to reduce muscle soreness post workout.

4. Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips like spinach artichoke dip, buffalo chicken dip or French onion dip. This spinach artichoke dip recipe is full of flavor and sure to be a hit!

·         Artichokes and spinach are high in iron, which is essential for providing oxygen for your muscles during a workout.

·         Serve fresh cut veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, or snap peas with your dip instead of chips.

5. Hummus provides protein, fiber and healthy fat which are an essential part of a trainer’s diet. Eat with veggies or whole wheat pita bread.

6. Guacamole is a delicious dip that provides healthy fats, essential for heart health. Mix guacamole with snap peas, tomatoes or peppers to add fiber.

Main Dishes

7. Burgers are a tailgate staple. When selecting meat, choose lean ground beef, turkey, or chicken. This turkey burger recipe is a great alternative to beef to satisfy your burger craving!

·         Add cheese and top with lots of vegetables like mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

·         Swap out white buns for whole wheat ones to increase fiber content. 

·         Go light on condiments like mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce as they are usually high in sodium.

8. Chili is a must on cold fall tailgating days. This turkey chili recipe is a simple, healthy, protein- and fiber- packed meal.

·         Make it your own: Use any type of beans that you prefer. Add jalapenos for an extra kick!   


9. Everyone loves chocolate and this brownie recipe will be a huge hit at your next tailgate!

·         Walnuts: provide healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants for heart health (You can add any type of nut you prefer).

·         Swap dark chocolate chunks for bittersweet milk chocolate chunks. Dark chocolate provides antioxidants that can boost heart health and ease inflammation from training.


10. Alcohol can act as a diuretic by increasing urine volume, so be sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Alcohol can also decrease vitamin and mineral absorption and delay carbohydrate repletion, muscle repair or muscle recovery.  Always remember to rehydrate and refuel post-exercise before drinking alcohol!

The guidelines of moderation when consuming alcohol:

·          1-2 drinks a day for men

·         1 drink a day for women

·         One drink equals 12 oz of regular beer (~150 calories), 5 oz of wine (~100 calories), or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor (~100 calories).

Enjoy this football season tailgating with your friends while fueling your body for your training routine. Go cheer on your favorite team!


  1. That buffalo wing recipe looks good. I may have to give it a try this weekend

    1. Hey David - If you tried it, would love to know what you thought!