Kristen Ziesmer, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD
Apex Athletic Performance
A new football season is underway! Tailgating with delicious food is a must for many football fans. It can be a challenge to stop yourself from having some tempting tailgating dishes. Kristen Ziesmer, Palmetto Health’s Apex Athletic Performance sports dietitian, shares some healthy options for your tailgating recipes.
If you love appetizers, choose hummus and veggies instead of buffalo chicken dip. Ziesmer strongly recommends hummus dip due to its high content of healthy fat and fiber, while Greek yogurt dip is also a nice substitute. Ziesmer advises swapping chips and fries for baby carrots or any other vegetable to get more water and fiber.
“Think about tailgate dishes as an actual meal,” said Ziesmer. The dietitian suggested the golden portion size of your tailgating main dishes: vegetables on half of your plate, carbohydrates on a quarter of your plate, and lean protein on the other quarter. An ideal combination of a healthy tailgating dish comprises a lot of steamed green beans, half a cup of mashed potatoes topped with a bit of gravy and 3 ounces of skinless baked chicken wings.
Other tips for main dishes from Ziesmer include:
- Reduce the amount of “cheesy” food, such as mac ‘n cheese
- Eat whole wheat instead of white noodles
- Leave the chicken’s skin aside from your dish
- Eat as many vegetables as you can
Choosing healthy drinks for the tailgating meal also is important. Ziesmer favors water over other type of drink. If you prefer sweet tea or alcoholic drinks, alternate one glass of water between glasses of sweet tea or alcohol. Another way to limit the amount of sweet drinks is to have half of your sweet tea glass filled with unsweetened tea. Consider light beer; you want to stay sober and cheer for your favorite team until the end of the game!
Serving Columbia and Lexington, Apex Athletic Performance has a comprehensive and scientific approach to athletic training and exercise, which includes nutritional assessments. For more information, visit their website or call 803-296-9202.