How to find the self-control to keep football season treats at bay.

Football season is in full swing, which means tailgating, football parties, and at-the-game snacks. My husband and I have season tickets to our alma mater, and we love attending and watching all the football games. I love football, but I don’t always love the way I feel after a game. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve binged (to the point of sickness) more than once. It can be difficult to resist those BBQ wings, nachos, caramel popcorn, and hotdogs. Even just listing them is making me hungry! So with all of these typical football foods around, how do we avoid binging and that post-game bloat? Here are five tips to help you out!

Don’t eat everything available.

This is one I have to remind myself about often, because I want to “sample” everything. Most of the time, we don’t just have wings and vegetables, we have fries, chips and dip, soda, beer, ice cream, etc. Even just a small portion of everything available can be too much. Instead, pick one or two football foods, and keep the portion to one, small serving—about a handful. Make the rest of your snacks healthy, whole foods such as fruit and vegetables.

Make sure there are healthy options available.

This might mean bringing a veggie platter, salad, or fresh fruit tailgating along with those hotdogs and hamburgers. By making sure there are healthy options available, you won’t be stuck with choosing between junk food and a growling stomach.

Don’t fast beforehand.

I know that I’ve been guilty of this. I think, I’ll just skip lunch so I can eat whatever I want tonight. While this logic may seem sound, the reality is that most people (including myself) will feel deprived and overly hungry, which sets us up for binging. So skipping those 500 calories at lunch may lead us to eat an extra 1,000 calories later on, especially with football food! Instead, have a lighter lunch and a low-calorie snack beforehand (like some carrots or snap peas). The fiber in the vegetables will help keep you full, and fresh vegetables won’t break the calorie bank.

Drink water!

Soda, beer, and juice all provide lots of calories without satiety, making it easy to overdo it. Bring a water bottle with you, and if you choose to drink something other than water, keep it to one serving. That means 8 ounces of soda, 12 ounces of beer, or 4 ounces of juice.

Just watch the Game!

Now, you might be thinking, “Duh! Of course I’m watching the game!” But I mean just watch the game and don’t eat! Distracted eating (like in front of the television) can lead to overeating, so don’t keep the food right in front of you. If, for some reason, you have to eat while watching the game, put together one plate and don’t go back for seconds unless it’s fresh veggies or water.

So enjoy rooting for your favorite team, without suffering the consequences of the football season binge bulge!


Megan Ostler MS, RDN
iFit Dietitian