Husker Football Time is Here, How Can We Avoid Gaining Ten Pounds from Tailgating?

Every year, Husker Football hits Lincoln and the city and even the state comes to life.  The support, sportsmanship, camaraderie and excitement really highlight why there is no place like Nebraska!

Along with the excitement of Husker Football comes another great tradition, tailgating!  Corporate tailgates, block parties, family get togethers and good old tailgate parties with friends and pickup trucks…these parties are everywhere and are one of the biggest traditions surrounding any great football program.  Overall, Husker Football Tailgate parties are great times for all.

The one negative thing about tailgating is the food.  With all the excitement, most generally lose track of any kind of healthy eating.  As we teach in our program, it’s good to have some cheat days or cheat meals each week.  However, tailgating often turns into two or three days of gluttony.  People return to work on Monday feeling sluggish, bloated and upset with themselves after eating more than they should in a whole week!  The feelings of guilt and disappointment make many feel like they just can’t control their weight.  As their jeans fit tighter and tighter, pants with elastic waist bands start looking like a better option.  Adult obesity is constantly on the rise, and this is just one element that adds to it.  So many people are stuck looking for solutions and asking “how can I avoid gaining weight?”

The great thing is that with just a few modifications, we can all make tailgating easier on our waistlines.  First, having some cheat meals or unhealthy food is not the end of the world.  We just have to do some damage control to minimize the impact on how many notches we need to let out on our belts!  Here are some quick ideas to help out with tailgating and still enjoy a good time:

1. Pound a bunch of water before going to the tailgate party.  Being dehydrated slows down our metabolism and having more water in us will lessen the urge to overeat.

2. If you really want to minimize the damage, eat something healthy before you go.  Simple logic=>More good stuff in belly equals less room for bad stuff.

3. At the party, most will drink.  To minimize alcohol’s impact on your metabolism (and also your blood alcohol content in case you are driving), drink a glass of water between each serving of alcohol.

4. Some people put out some “health foods” such as vegetables or fruit etc.  These are great alternatives to gobbling chips.  Eat some raw vegetables, but then reward yourself with “some” of the junk food.  The key is to indulge in some of the foods you crave, but not go nuts.  Finding a good balance will save tons of calories and trans fats from your system.

5. When eating burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches etc, try to toss some or all  of the bread.

6. Eat slow and spread it out.  Eating the same amount of food, but spread out over hours will keep your metabolism going stronger.

7. Finally, BE SAFE.  If you have been drinking, get a ride home.  If you think putting on a few pounds is bad, imagine getting a DUI or worse from a horrible car wreck.  It’s just not worth it, so get a ride home or call a cab.

Extra Credit:
If you want to take some extra steps consider:

1. Working out before the tailgate party—this gets your metabolism jacked up so you will burn more of the excess calories before the game.

2. Go for a walk or do some exercise later on after the indulgences—this helps burn it off too!

For more information about Healthy Tailgating or if you have any more questions, suggestions and comments please contact Jeff Doursham at