Tips For A Healthy Tailgating Party

By Elana Goodwin on November 2, 2014

Even though the college football season is ending soon, tailgating parties are still rampant and will continue after the season.

Here are some tips for healthy tailgating because what many don’t realize is how many calories you can take in while partying before the game.

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“On average, tailgaters consume up to three times the recommended daily calorie allowance,” Luke Corey, registered dietitian, performance nutritionist at EXOS and consultant for The Coca-Cola Company, said in this press release.

“These extra calories are usually stored as body fat. One tailgating party may not result in weight gain, but for the 60 percent of students who tailgate five or more times a season, those extra calories can really add up.”

In order to have a healthy tailgating party, invite those coming to bring healthy snacks and extra water bottles. Popular tailgating party foods include hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, chips, pretzels and beer.

Substitute some of your regular tailgating foods with more healthy options, like turkey burgers, sliders, nuts or whole wheat pretzels. Instead of white bread buns, try wheat buns and put out carrots and dip rather than a bag of chips. These substitutions are more healthy and will lower tailgaters’ overall calorie count during the party.

Also be sure to keep the meat cold and cook it at the proper temperatures and until fully cooked to avoid food poisoning and other illnesses.

Another way to avoid high calorie intake during your tailgate is to have a healthy snack, like yogurt, fruit, or a protein bar, before going to the tailgate party. This way, you don’t end up eating as much while tailgating because you’re not as hungry, and so even if the party doesn’t have healthy options, you’ve already made a healthy choice.

Tailgating can be a long experience and it’s important to stay hydrated before and throughout the tailgate (and I don’t mean by drinking beer). Try to drink at least 8 ounces of fluids every hour that are non-alcoholic and get up and walk around throughout the party, too.

Additionally, if there’s a bag or bowl of chips in front of you, monitor your intake, and do the same for your alcoholic beverages. Don’t just eat the food because it’s there — figure out if you’re really hungry or are just snacking because it’s there and tastes good. Also space out your beers and balance them with food so you’re not drinking on an empty or mostly-empty stomach.

So the next time your college team has a game, make your tailgating party a healthy tailgating party with these tips and cheer your school on to victory while making healthy choices.

By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
I am currently serving as the Director/Managing Editor for Uloop News. I've been part of the Uloop family since 2013 and in my current role, I recruit writers, edit articles, manage interns, and lead our National Team, among other duties. When I'm not writing or editing, I love being outside, reading, and photography! I have a Bachelor's degree in English with a double-minor in Sociology and Criminology & Criminal Justice from The Ohio State University. If you have questions or just want to chat, don't hesitate to reach out! Email me at

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