IT’S FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE!!!
While I am not crazy about school starting every August, I am more than thrilled to start another season of college football. Being a Tennessean by birth and Texan by marriage, football has been and always will be a way of life. From Friday night lights of high school football to college game day Saturdays to professional games nearly every other day of the week, I am a born and bred football fan.
Every aspect of the football experience thrills me- the tailgates, the halftime shows, the energy throughout the stadium, the passion of the players, the cheerleaders, the fans (except Florida Gator fans- sorry, I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere). I love it all!
With that being said, I’ve had to learn how to make the football stadium experience, one that is NOT in any way, shape, or form conducive to a gluten-free or Paleo lifestyle, work for me over the past years of football attendance. Here’s a few things I’ve learned along the way (from trial and error and learning the hard way) that have helped me survive and thrive through high school and college football games.
No matter what stadium or conference you are in, I promise these tips will keep your health goals in check and help keep your mood as stable as possible, something especially crucial when you are a Volunteer fan. Seriously, I have developed slightly higher blood pressure these past few weeks because of them. No joke.
1. Breakfast of Champions
To get my day started off right, I knew I needed the magical combination of healthy carbs, fiber, protein, and fat to carry me through the morning and keep my blood sugar stable so I could survive any temptations later at the game. I had half a purple sweet potato, half of a pear, and a hearty amount of my pumpkin protein dip with sunflower seed butter swirled in and trail mix on top. With that in my tummy alongside a cup of decaf with almond milk, I felt satiated and satisfied, two crucial parts of surviving game day without a nacho bender.
2. Get a Game Plan
Know what the day will entail as much as you can. What time is the game? How long are you tailgating? What are you allowed to bring into the stadium? For SEC games, it is a new regulation this year that any bags/purses must be clear, yes clear, as in throwback to the 90’s clear purses. You can carry whatever your can fit in your pockets, but I just carried a Ziploc baggie with unopened waters, my snacks, chapstick, and wallet. Since I was attending an afternoon game, I ate most of my snacks before going in yet brought a few things in just in case. Here’s what I brought along to keep my healthy and happy:
3. Tailgate Traps
If you are tailgating, I highly highly highly stress to be careful with the alcohol, no matter the time of day. Alcohol consumption=lessened inhibitions=good-bye willpower=hello pizza sticks. At tailgates, there’s usually plenty of booze, cheesy dips, chips galore, and baked treats to put you into a quick sugar coma. While there’s nothing wrong with a scoop of bean dip or a few nachos, it’s easy to go overboard if you’re just picking away while drinking.
4. Hydration Station
I’ve found that hydration is the key to me making it through a long day. Between the heat, being on my feet all day, the stress of watching my team through TWO OVERTIMES, I’ve found I’ve got to stay hydrated to make it through. In order to do this, I stuck with water for most of the day and brought a water bottle into the stadium. I kept refilling it at a water fountain throughout the whole game. While we were in the shade most of the time, it was warm enough that I need to actively hydrate. Plus, when I’m not hydrated, I sometime confuse hydration signals with hunger signals.
5. Make it work
I understand sometimes you bring snacks and drinks and you’re still starving at the game. Maybe your game ends up being FIVE HOURS LONG and you feel like you may punch someone if you don’t get something to eat. There’s almost always a burger in the confession stand (my husband got the Aggie Burger which was topped with chili, nacho cheese, and fries AND served with fries…don’t order that please). You could still order a burger sans the bun and ask for extra lettuce and tomato. That, my friends, would get the job done.
Hopefully, these tips serve useful to you at your next football game- high school, college, or pro. If you want to use the game as an excuse to loosen up and live a little, of course, that’s okay, too. I’m a big fan of moderation and not putting too much restriction on yourself. Usually, it just ends up backfiring.
I wish y’all a FABULOUS, football-filled weekend ahead. My Vols are taking on the Crimson Tide tomorrow, which I must admit I’m a tad anxious about. But us Vol fans know anything is possible, especially in the last four minutes of the game. Be well my friends, and GO VOLS!
Healthy Happy Texan
I'm a Foodie, Fitness Instructor, and Follower of Christ. Add a passion for teaching others, dark chocolate, bacon, and dogs -- and that's me in a box.
Come on, let's live a little!