Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: Tailgating Tips From the Auburn Nutrition Team
There's nothing like football season on The Plains. It’s been a little up and down (per usual), but that shouldn’t hold us back from enjoying ourselves.
With the biggest games around the corner, you’ll need a strategy to succeed this game day. So here’s how to make the most of tailgate food while skipping the guilt that often follows.
Actually Enjoy Yourself.
Everyone wants to have fun, feel good, and celebrate with the Auburn family. That’s great. But you should also be smart so that you can continue to feel good after the game ends. Careless overeating and drinking will slow you down, ruining your mood.
Like the guys on the field, our diet affects our game day performance. But instead of passing or blocking ability, it affects our moods, our ability to walk long distances and our ability to throw a roll of toilet paper high enough to catch on the branches of Toomer’s Corner.
Eat to Feel Well in Short-Term.
What you eat matters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat fun food on game day. Just try to slow it down a little. We sometimes forget to pay attention to what we’re eating, so make sure to enjoy it. You’ll feel more satisfied, you won’t be stuffed, and you’ll feel better as the day goes on.
You don’t even have to limit yourself to only what you “should” eat all the time. As you learn more about how different foods make you feel after eating, you’ll discover cravings for both nutritious and less-nutritious foods. And that’s okay.
Consider eating a bit before you get to the tailgate. If you show up starving or dehydrated, you’re more likely to overeat, leading to feelings of bloat and sleepiness. Instead, grab a small bite to eat. You’ll still have an appetite, but you won’t eat right past comfortable fullness. And don’t forget to drink water throughout the day; thirst can make us feel hungrier than we are.
Oh, and one more thing - get some long-lasting fuel in your system first if you’re going to drink alcohol. Foods with protein, healthy fat, and fiber will stick with you longer, helping to cushion the impact of your drink so that you feel better.
Think About Longevity.
Finally, Auburn’s athletes work hard to prevent injury and illness throughout the season. You should too. They support and fuel their bodies, making good choices. When we consistently make good eating decisions to support our goals, we boost our immune systems, energy levels, and well-being.
If we hard-core celebrate every weekend, that’s up to a quarter of our year. At that point, we can’t keep pretending those weekends don’t count. To succeed, we need to consistently choose foods from performance-supporting food groups. For best results, include these in your diet as often as you can:
Fruits and vegetables for disease prevention and a healthy glow
Whole grains for sustained energy
Lean protein for maintenance of muscle, strength, hair, nails, and skin
Dairy and other calcium-rich foods for strong bones and teeth
Fats from plant sources (nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.) for overall health
Plenty of water
Consistent, guilt-free consumption of any foods that keep you happy, mentally healthy, and satisfied.
It really is that simple.
Be well, Auburn.
Story by Rae L.
Photography by Julia Britt