Heart-healthy game day tips

With football back in full swing, many people have already welcomed the fall season by indulging in game day favorites, like fried and fatty meats and calorie-laden drinks.

This year, the American Heart Association is offering up some heart-healthy tailgating tips to keep football fans from packing on the pounds and putting heart health at risk this football season.

Football fans can do a lot to keep tailgates and other parties heart-healthy – without giving up the fun or the flavor. Here are some healthier alternatives:

– The meats: No tailgate is complete without firing up the grill. Choose lean or extra-lean beef burgers, and keep the patties to the size of a deck of cards. Another alternative could be try turkey burgers or salmon burgers, which are tasty and give the body the essential omega-3 fatty acids it needs. Wing fans can try grilling chicken breast strips tossed in a small amount of your favorite sauce.

Picking different meat selections isn’t the only healthy choice you can make. Instead of over-seasoning with salt, try throwing in some chopped onion or extra pepper to spice things up.

– The sides: At many football parties, there’s usually no shortage of chips or other addictive sides to choose from. Encourage party goers to fill up on vegetables and fruit throughout the game by offering an array of colorful options with dipping sauces instead of those chips. Serving salsa and bean-based dips over high-calorie dips can make a tasty alternative for guests.

Skewers are also a fun and flavorful way to snack. Load them up with onions and peppers, or throw some corn on the cob or zucchini on the grill.

– The drinks: Beer and full-calorie sodas are usually plentiful at football parties and games. For those that choose to drink alcohol, the American Heart Association recommends using moderation and limiting intake to an average of one or two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is considered one 12-ounce beer or four ounces of wine.

As far as soda goes, you’ll usually find no-calorie options wherever the full-sugar kind is. Water is the best choice though, especially at games early in the season where dehydration is a concern. Add fruit to your water for more excitement and flavor.

For more information and other healthy game day tips, visit