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LeeAnn Weintraub, LA-based registered dietician and nutrition consultant, is such a nice, caring, and considerate lady. In her recent nutrition column, “Tips for mindful eating at tailgates.” she gives thoughtful, well considered advice on how to totally ruin the experience. If you follow her advice, you might as well stay home, eat a salad with non-fat dressing and watch Oprah re-runs. Let’s make a few corrections to her "5 ways to eat right at tailgate parties."

Five Tips for Maximizing Fun at Tailgates

LeeAnn Weintraub, LA-based registered dietician and nutrition consultant, is such a nice, caring, and considerate lady. In her recent nutrition column, “Tips for mindful eating at tailgates.” she gives thoughtful, well considered advice on how to totally ruin the experience. If you follow her advice, you might as well stay home, eat a salad with non-fat dressing, and watch Oprah re-runs.

tailgate
Tailgate parties should be fun outings, not nutritional exercises

Let’s make a few corrections to her “5 ways to eat right at tailgate parties.”

1. Kick off with your star players: LeeAnn recommends veggies, fruits, and water. Veggies are okay if you need to get sour cream dip and guac to your mouth. Just remember, corn is a vegetable, so corn chips may be substituted for any veggie you consider yucky. Fruit is contained in margaritas, pina coladas, and peach schnapps. Put ice in your drinks – it’s made from water.

2. Play offence, not defense: That’s the spirit, girl, but you’ve got it backwards. No individual serving-size chips; tailgates are about sharing. Buy family size packages, or if they make anything larger – Costco and Smart & Final may be sources – get that. Share with your friends and share with people walking by. You may make new friends that way. By the way, LeeAnn, my snacking is never mindless. It’s well planned out.

3. Minimize Penalties: Cute. She must have seen a game on TV once. Sliders, mini-snacks, and half-size sodas are not what you want at a tailgate. Well, sliders might be okay for an appetizer to get things started, but never as a main course.Assuming you have brought your barbecue, go for one pound burgers, ribs, steaks, brats, polish sausage, carne asada, or whatever kind of meat you enjoy. Meat is the operative word. You should also remember a pot in which to heat up beans. I know beans are technically a veggie, but I’ll allow an exception here.And those snacks you always pass up at the grocery store; bring them to the tailgate. To share, of course. Besides, eating something fun – mmm, chocolate chip cookies — two or three times per month during football season will not make you fat; it will make you happy.

4. Remember there’s no “I” in team: But there is in appetizers, main course, chips – potato, corn, and chocolate — condiments, wine, and ice cream. Wine should be brought in bottles and served in fine crystal on a white tablecloth, if you live in a ritzy neighborhood or are a close personal friend of Steven Spielberg. For the rest of us, get those boxes of wine and bring plastic cups in the appropriate team color or better yet with the team logo. The boxes are impossible to spill and the cups will not shatter and cause a hazard. In the unlikely event you have some wine left over, the boxes are easy to take home.

LeeAnn also recommends something she calls “whole grains.” I Googled it. It’s what whisky is made from. OK, one point for her.

Did I mention chocolate chips and ice cream?

5. Take a timeout: LeeAnn says to take a timeout to “let your body feel satisfied before going back for second servings.” First, what’s this “servings” thing? This is a party not a formal dinner. You are there for the gusto. If you do feel like you need a break, that’s the result of a warm, satisfied feeling. Take this time to share some goodies with your tailgating neighbors.

Schmoozing at tailgates, I’ve learned barbecue techniques and recipes, and heard and shared lots of funny stories. At the last tailgate I attended, the people across from us brought their own sushi chef. Fascinating. They were drinking wine from bottles.

Often, your neighbors will reciprocate your generosity and share their gastronomical creations. That will get you out of your funk and you can start eating again.

Tailgating is about fun

Of course, beer bongs and passing out are never a good idea. You could miss the game. It is a good idea to have a designated driver for the trip home and remember to bring some trash bags to clean up your mess. Some folks enjoy the tailgating so much, that they stay at the camp site while the true football fans go in to the stadium. Most locations give you an hour or so to move out after the event, so that’s another opportunity to have a snack, talk about the game, and if necessary, sober up.

LeeAnn, come to my next tailgate, and I’ll show you how it’s done.

For a checklist of what to bring to the tailgate, see my Ultimate Tailgate List.

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About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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