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Tailgate Food You Can Eat
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Tailgate Food You Can Eat

By Lindsey House, RD LD Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise


Dietitians hear this all of the time, “I can eat THAT?”


What many patients fail to understand is there is a time and place for almost all food. The only thing you need to figure out is how often and how much. In fact, it is important to not feel deprived while trying to lose weight or else there will be an inevitable rebound effect. When we are told that we cannot have something, it’s human nature to want it more.


This is part of the reason why people automatically think deprivation when they think weight loss. The consensus is that if you’re starving and missing your favorite foods, then you must be on your way to weight loss success. That’s DEAD WRONG.


Food Makeovers


The tastiest and healthiest way to prepare your favorite foods is to cook them at home and get creative with your ingredients. The following table gives examples of how to enjoy all the foods you LOVE while eating right!


Food Item

Try It This Way

Or Even Better


Use a high fiber, light bun with half the calories, lean ground beef and top with a lot of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, lettuce and pickles).

Remove the bread and use your lettuce as a bun. If this seems too extreme for you, opt for just one half of the bun.


Try a high fiber, low-carb wrap for the crust and top with turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers (cook right on the oven rack for a nice crisp crust).

Use a 100 calorie English muffin for the crust. This also creates instant portion control.

Hot Dog

Use a high fiber, light hot dog bun and turkey hot dog…create a “Chicago-Styled Dog” by adding tomato, onion, sugar-free relish, ketchup, mustard, and a pickle spear.

Take away the hot dog bun and enjoy your dog & toppings with a fork and knife (do you really care about the bun?)


There is always a way to give your favorite tailgate dish a recipe make-over. Ask your dietitian to help if the kitchen is a bit intimidating for you and you need additional ideas.