Eating Healthy During Football Season

I’m glad I didn’t start this healthy lifestyle during August and December.

I’m a college football fan(atic). I love watching hours of college football every Saturday — particularly, I love watching SEC football and the South Carolina Gamecocks.  When they’re not playing, I’ll usually opt to watch one of those “powder puff” teams in another conference pretend to play football.

Here’s looking at you, Buckeyes.

Much like how I associate movie theaters with soda and popcorn, I associate Saturdays during football season with food. A lot of food. The kind of food that will clog your arteries and crush your daily calorie allowance in a single meal.

Typical food spread during football season in 2008:

  • chips & salsa
  • 15-20 wings from Wild Wing Cafe
  • potato salad
  • baked beans
  • sweet rolls
  • 1 liter of sweet tea

We’re talking 2,500 calories consumed during a single football game.

While I’m thinking of simply limiting my portions this year (1/2 a dozen wings, 1 cup potato salad, etc), I would really prefer to have some healthier food options altogether like these deviled eggs my wife and I made last night:

100 0934 1024x577 Eating Healthy During Football Season

(Deviled eggs recipe from Almost Meatless Eating Healthy During Football Season – healthy and delicious!)

What makes good finger/snack/man food during football season?

34 thoughts on “Eating Healthy During Football Season”

  1. My husband and I make healthy mini pizzas, and they are delicious! Take whole wheat hamburger buns, and use 1/2 for each small pizza. Put 1 small spoonful of tomato sauce on each bun 1/2. Then sprinkle fat free shredded cheddar cheese and/or mozzarella cheese on top. Add 3 turkey pepperonis (that’s about all that will fit on one bum ½), or just have cheese pizza. Bake in the toaster oven till cheese melts. SCRUMPTIOUS!

  2. Tyler, I have loved your blog and what you have accomplished over these last few months…. and then you went and insulted the Buckeyes and the Big Televen. :(

    While, unfortunately the SEC is hands down the best conference in the country right now, I challenge you to point out any other conferences that are better than the Big 10…. The Big East is a joke, the Big 12 crumbles as soon as someone brings a defense to a game (although they probably are a bit better than the Big10), the Pac 10 got hosed by the Mountain West and is really only USC, and the ACC is a shadow of what it once was. So at worst, the Big 10 is the 3rd best conference in football…

    //end rant :)

    1. You guys can play for 2nd best — the SEC is the best conference and that’s all that matters to me!

      I’m sorry about you being a Buckeyes fan, though. I might start another blog helping people cure themselves from that ailment :)

  3. +1 to Marathon Megs and Crystal’s ideas. I snack on trail mix at the office. Nuts, especially almonds are good choices. Those pizzas sound great too! Anything you can get from the produce section of your grocey is usually best. Maybe try a nice sliced apple and grilled chicken salad with a healthy dressing or something.

  4. I would try hummus with vegetables, AND skinless buffalo wings (which greatly reduces the fat) with a yogurt based blue cheese dip. Then add a nicely seasoned turkey burger on a reduced calorie bun. And of course, a no calorie beverage of your choosing.

  5. Tyler,
    I am right with you! We do the tailgating thing every weekend our team is in town and when the team is out of town we through a big shing dig at my place with a large spread. I am in to week two of my weight loss expedition, and I am dreading this football season. I have been known to over indulge and drink too much beer before and after the games and have 2 to 3 Brawts, and a bunch of other junk that come with football season. I have been on the hunt for healthy alternatives for this year’s season. I am truly committed to changing my life and lossing around 80 to 100 pounds. Thank you for doing this blog – it gives me inspiration on a daily basis. I am down about 10 pounds this last week and half, so I am pretty happy with the results I am getting so far.

    Perseverance, Dedication, and Self Control.

  6. oh another thing for the hotdogs, you can eat turkey dogs and wheat buns. They are just as tasty :) I want some pizza now hahaha

  7. One idea I had that I’ll probably be using this season is some skinless chicken breasts, grilled on my grill, and then a slight glaze of buffalo sauce on them.

    The sauce isn’t healthy, but figure in moderation can at least have that flavor, but on some grilled chicken to make it less bad.

  8. I know it sounds strange, but there are meatless ribs in the freezer section that are AMAZING. I think Morning Star Farms makes them. They really help with portion control and calorie monitoring and taste way better than they sound I swear.

    Also, you can make easy hummus at home – and use vegetables for dipping. So good.

  9. I’ll have to try to find the recipe (I’m bad at remembering things off the top of my head, and I can’t find the recipe card right now) but I like to make dilly pretzels; basically, they’re pretzels (one of the “healthier” snacks one can have) with dill and ranch-powder coating. They’re not too bad on calories, and they taste good, but they’re too salty to eat too many (which is a good thing), plus you’ll drink lots of water with them.

    If I can find it I’ll post it here later.

  10. I love deviled eggs! Seriously, you can parade 10 cakes in front of me and I will not bat an eye, but put that plate of eggs before me and I’ll defend it with whatever weapon is handy until I’ve devoured the lot!

  11. My favorite self-limiting snacks are pretzels and roasted soy nuts. I get them at HEB. They are sooo salty, you can only eat a handful. I tried to eat just one entire serving once…I had no skin left on my lips. For mindless snacking, popcorn makes me want soda too much, and cheese and crackers add up fast!!! Try making your own sweet tea with Splenda or Equal. I do, and now everything else is just toooooo sweet. I make it by the glass…about 3 packets of Splenda to 1 large glass of tea…and I have a huge sweet tooth!

  12. You can still do salsa and even guacamole, just choose a veggie as your “chip”. You could make turkey meatballs. Turkey pepperoni & cheese cubes.

  13. Moderation is a good plan. Can be tough to stick to when there’s a ton of food – I try to grab a small plate, and when I finish that I wait at least 30 minutes before I get more. Water in between. I find 30 minutes goes by and I forget to get more food.

    Salsa is actually super healthy – just watch the sodium amount in the brand you buy. For healthier “chips” slice tortillas into triangles or strips, spray with Pam and lightly salt, bake on a pizza stone or broil (watch carefully and flip halfway through – about 5 min. depending on your oven). Bring some dip-able veggies into the salsa mix (peppers, celery, cucumbers) and you’re golden.

    I hate fat-free cheese, but part-skim cheese is a good compromise. Someone said something about Buffalo sauce being unhealthy – it’s not. It’s mostly vinegar, which has hardly any calories. Some sauces might contain sweeteners, but the small amount that you eat won’t be an issue. Go skinless on your chicken and you’ll be in good shape.

    My grocery store and my local warehouse store (Hannaford’s and BJ’s respectively, here in the NE) sell flavored chicken sausages that are AWESOME. They are the size of brats, they come in varieties like sundried tomato and garlic, buffalo, spicy Italian, etc. I wouldn’t call them “diet food,” but they’re much lower in fat and sodium than regular sausages and super tasty. I slice one up, saute it, and mix it with pasta. You’d never know it wasn’t true Italian sausage.

  14. I do the mexican route. Chicken breasts simmered in mojo crillo in a crock pot until it is shredded. Roll it in high fiber tortillas. For wings I grill chicken slice and then dip in franks red hot which is healthy as long as its not mixed with butter.

  15. Some awesome ideas; in fact, I can’t add anything, although I gleaned some new treats for my next sports watching bash (with me, it’s baseball), where overeating has been an issue in the past.

    One of the great benefits of your blog is the real life issues you bring to the fore and talk about meeting the the challenges head on.

  16. Probably the easiest thing to do is to keep the healthy stuff in close reach (apple slices, nuts in the shell, air popped popcorn) and keep the stuff that’s worse for you out of range while the game’s on. If you fill up one small plate with the “bad” stuff, bring it to your seat, then snack on the healthy stuff, you’ll get full primarily on the healthier options.

  17. Tyler —

    First – Go Gamecocks! (Moore School of Biz Alum ’91)

    Second – I agree with a bunch of these suggestions, but the easiest is the veggies as a chip rule. Each as much celery as you want, and save the Frito’s to a few just before you leave the party, or send them home with a guest. Also, do cut up skinless chicken breast, grill em, and dip in BBQ sauce. That will keep you full.

    Finally – Congrats on your loss – I was determined to not let you passs me in weight, but you did! I’m at 245 (down frm 261) and you flew past me — I’ll catch up though! (I’m doing a bit more weightlifting than you I think, and that has built muscle with slower weight loss) BTW – WEIGHT LIFTING IS KEY. You wont get skinny as fast, but your body will change!!

    Take care – thanks for an ecouraging blog.

  18. If you like chick peas here is a great snack. Toss chick peas and olive oil and your favorite spices together and then bake until golden.

  19. Ideas:
    * Artichoke Dip
    * Veggies and Dip
    * Definitely agree on the Hummus and Pita (so amazing!)
    * Broccoli cheese dish
    * Artichokes and lemon butter!
    * Chicken on the grill (Hot wings aren’t that bad for you either)

  20. Even though avocados have a lot of fat, it’s good fat, and they also have lots of fiber, which is excellent! So I say guacamole is a good place to start! I like to add a ton of chopped tomatoes, some minced jalapeño, and a tiny bit of red onion to mine. That way there’s some added fruit and veggie, plus it tastes awesome. I like to buy these pita crackers they sell at Trader Joe’s (they’re like water crackers, rather than those fried chip things), but there are so many pita variations out there, it’s a good chip substitute. Or a few corn chips that are low in salt would probably be fine.

    As a potato salad replacement, you could always try roasted potatoes, or potatoes tossed with a vinegar base, rather than mayo. Or substitute sour cream or yogurt for some of the mayo. I LOVE these mustard roasted potatoes: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/11/mustard-roasted-potatoes/ They are seriously good.

    Of course, that all depends on your willingness to cook. My own weight loss was really dependent on me putting down the takeout menu and picking up the spatula. I’m a big advocate of cooking your own food so you can control what you’re eating. :) Good luck!

  21. Homemade Hummus:

    chickpeas (rinsed)
    chopped garlic (you can fry it up in a bit of olive oil if you want)
    cumin (start with a teaspoon-tablespoon depending on how many cans of chickpeas you add, I do everything to taste so add more if you want)
    salt to taste, if you must

    …blend the shit of out it. If it’s too thick add little bits of water or olive oil until it’s the right consistency.

    Also, Tyler, one thing:
    SMILE MORE! In the “before” photos of you look so much happier than in the “after” photos…and, something tells me that’s not really the case. The photo of you in the change room is awesome. Add that one to your photos section. 

    Happy football season.

  22. We love our chili, so I either get the Turkey kind, or make my own meatless – no gross meat substitutes, just lots of veggies, corn, beans, etc.

    Baked Lays or Doritos
    Air-popped popcorn
    Prezels

    We love our carbs! We have mineral water (aka, soda water) with lime – at the Mexican market they come in glass bottles and you can put your lime wedge in it to duplicate the beer experience!

  23. i confess i have no idea how long an american football game is but i am a hockey lover (in the uk no less!) and i try and limit my snacks while watching. bag of treats (er 500g chocolate things or gummy candy) a small coke and if it’s really cold some fries and nothing else. it has to last them’s the rules! plus it’s my main treat of the week so i try and limit what i eat the rest of the week so i have a “stock” of spare calories for pigging out while my team loses .. might be a idea if the healthy stuff doesnt work out – and make sure you have nothing else in! IF it’s not in the house you can’t eat it :D

  24. Was enjoying reading this Blog until the Buckeyes comment. Were did they finish this year? Where did SC? How many Big 10 teams were in the top 10? How many SEC teams? Hmmm….. Youungsters like you make me laugh when you make comments like that since you do not realize everything is cyclical. And, why not point out the Okie Sooners? They have lost more BCS games than anyone. Actually, I can’t blame you, if you watch ESpiN as they are just as bad as Fox News telling people what they should think and how they should feel. Anyway, good luck with your continued journey, but I lost respect for you after reading this post.

    BTW, stumbled across this blog after doing google search on treadmill running tips. Had not seen it on CNN.

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