It’s football season, which means it’s time to tailgate! Eating right can be hard when you’re surrounded by burgers, beer, and chips all day long, but we’ve got you covered. These simple food swaps are simple, delicious, and healthy!
- Burgers: A 5-oz. pre-made fresh or frozen beef burger from the grocery store has about 340 to 400 calories and up to 10g saturated fat, the latter of which is 51% of the daily value! Add a bun (140 calories), catsup (20 calories per tablespoon), and a slice of cheese (60-100 calories), and you’ve racked up 560 to 660 calories from your burger alone!
Try one of these variations instead:
- Make your own burgers ahead of time and use 90% or greater lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey with little to no filler (i.e. breadcrumbs).
- Look for lean pre-made burger options at the grocery store by reading the Nutrition Facts Labels. Stick with an option that’s got 30 to 50 calories and about 7g protein per ounce.
- Think outside the box. Pre-made tuna, mahi-mahi, or salmon burgers are always a great lower calorie, protein-packed option that’s good for your heart.
- Try lettuce or tomato “buns” in place of hamburger rolls, or skip the roll altogether. Limit catsup, avoid mayo and try mustard or salsa for a lower calorie alternative.
- Chips: It’s easy to overdo it on this one. One ounce of potato or tortilla chips (~12 chips) has 140 to 160 calories. Dunk them in ranch dip or cheese sauce, and the calories add up fast.
Try this instead:
- Make your own veggie chips.
- Slice mini bell peppers in half, and use in place of tortilla chips. Top with reduced-fat cheese, shredded boneless skinless chicken breast, diced tomatoes and scallions, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, and/or sliced avocado for a healthier take on nachos grande.
- Make kale, zucchini, radish, or turnip chips. Here’s a great kale chip recipe!
- Bring a veggie tray with a yogurt-based dip. Non-starchy veggies are naturally low in calories, rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of fiber, the latter of which will help fill you up and keep you satisfied.
Beer: A 12 fl. oz. beer can have anywhere from 90 to 210 calories. Alcohol, including beer, promotes dehydration, lessens inhibitions which can lead to poor food choices, and is a non-nutritive source of calories. Therefore, if you can avoid it. If not, stick with just one serving or try one of these instead:
- Light beer: A 12 oz. light beer typically has 90 to 100 calories.
- Wine: A 5 fl. oz has about 100 calories.
- Mocktails: Try this Spicy Berry Daiquiri!
- Potato & Macaroni Salad: A 2/3 cup serving of store-bought potato or macaroni salad has 290 to 390 calories, 21 to 28g of fat, and 500+mg sodium. Need I say more?
Try this instead:
- Make your own potato or macaroni salad and lighten it up by swapping cauliflower for the potatoes/macaroni. Add additional chopped veggies, like bell peppers, for an extra crunch, and use low-fat plain Greek yogurt and/or mashed avocado in place of some or all of the mayo. Add flavor with herbs and spices, like dill, chives, garlic, parsley, and red onion, as well as fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and vinegar.
- Cookies, Brownies, & Other Desserts: Baked goods are often quite high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Try this instead:
- Pack one of your Medifast Meals, like the S’mores Crunch Bar. You can even prep the meal ahead of time if needed (i.e. bake the Medifast Brownie Soft Bakes in advance).
- Have fruit. It’s naturally sweet, hydrating, and full of health-promoting nutrients. Try fresh cubed melon or berries; they’re a good source of water and fiber, both of which will help fill you up.