It’s football season!! (aka: GO PACK GO!)

I think most of us can agree that keeping on top of good nutrition during football season is about as difficult as it is during the holidays (which are very quickly approaching so brace yourself). Everything always seems to go so good with something else- beer and pizza, chips and salsa, hamburgers and buns, I understand this. Whether you’re going to a house football party or to your favorite local pub to watch the game, there’s always a better option than the “carbohydrate counter” or “carbs and dip”. Drooling over the bacon cheeseburger with french fries the server just brought out to your neighbor table? Order it, just without the bun and with a side salad or veggies instead of the fries. You can do that with a ton of different sandwiches if you’re out to eat for the game, use your imagination! One of my personal favorites is the philly or french dip with no bun, both still go great dipped in au jus. Trust me, anything difficult that you want to order, your server has had worse and more difficult things to take care of before so don’t be afraid to ask for a club sandwich in the form of a salad, this is your body, people! Another thing to try to do is always order first so you know what you want and it’s easier to stick to your guns if you order before your friends get the cheese fries and the “grande nacho platter”. I know they may sound, look, and smell completely amazing, BUT KEEP YOUR COMPOSURE!!

Next thing on the list: house football parties. Ah, yes. Home of chips and dip, cheese and crackers, and (the best finger food ever) tortilla pinwheels. This is another time that definitely makes you test your self control, a nibble here, a chip there, that’s where it all starts. The more carbs you eat, the more you crave. So don’t even start to munch on the bad stuff. I found a recipe for buffalo chicken wraps that look amazing but haven’t had any reason to make them yet, so if anyone tries them, please let me know how they turn out! They’re made with spring wraps, which are around 4g of carbs a piece. So yes, these are a good idea, but definitely keep MODERATION in mind. Here are a few more ideas and links for football finger foods-

  • pickle wraps- baby dill pickles wrapped in dried beef or ham painted with cream cheese
  • wrapped wienies- baby hotdogs wrapped in bacon, very easy to make in the crock pot
  • hamburger cheese dip- Velveeta, browned hamburger, and salsa. Be good and replace chips with veggies.
  • chili– be careful while buying the chili seasoning and beans, read the labels! Add cheese and sour cream for a little extra fat
  • jalapeno poppers– quick, easy, and full of flavor
  • buffalo wings– who doesn’t like a wing or two? This is just a simple recipe, but if you’re buying your hot sauce, be sure to (once again) read the label for sugar content.
  • grilled chicken- fire up the grill and grab some chicken legs or even breasts to cut into finger-food-worthy strips. Spend some time in the BBQ/marinade section in the grocery store and see what sauces are low in sugar and would be great on grilled chicken. Heck, even just season with some pepper and Lawry’s seasoning if you want to keep it simple.
  • grilled skewers or kabobs- you’ll definitely have to be in the cooking zone to get some kabobs put together if you’re doing veggies and meat, which is what I was originally looking for, but these grilled shrimp skewers looked amazing as well. Plus, I know mom will love this recipe 🙂

If you haven’t already noticed, I may or may not be addicted to looking at food on the Food Network’s website. I’m just going to throw this recipe in real quick. I made it the other night for company and it was just about the best fish I’d ever eaten, and I hate fish!! This pan-seared salmon is full of flavor and perfect for a romantic night.

Alright, back on track. BEER!!! Guys love beer, gals love beer, some dogs love beer, I think you get the point that beer is a huge part of football season (and life in general for most people, including my best red headed friend). I came upon a website that lists all of the beers in alphabetical order and has the amount of carbs in a 12oz can/bottle of that beer. A few of the beers with few grams of carbohydrates include:

  • Natural Light- 3.2g carbs, 4.2% alcohol
  • Aspen Edge- 2.1g carbs, 4.1% alcohol
  • Budweiser Select- 3.1g carbs, 4.3% alcohol
  • Budweiser Select 55- 1.9g carbs, 2.4% alcohol
  • Busch Light- 3.2g carbs, 4.1% alcohol
  • Michelob Ultra- 2.6g carbs, 4.1% alcohol
  • Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) “64”- 2.4g carbs, 2.8% alcohol
  • Miller Lite- 3.2g carbs, 4.2% alcohol

I’m not saying that just because a beer has 3.2g carbs, you can down however many your liver can handle in a given period of time without it affecting your fat stores. Beer is a very hard thing to have in moderation. Now, I understand that liquor can be dangerous during football games and tailgating, but sometimes it’s just the better choice if you want to keep your figure. If you like vodka, do a flavored vodka and water with some lime or lemon juice. Here’s a little table I came across with some information on different Smirnoff vodka flavors.

Smirnoff Vodka Nutrition Facts (per 1.5oz serving)

VODKA FLAVOR [proof] – calories/carb(g)/protein(g)/fat(g)

Smirnoff Vodka (Blue Label) [100 proof] – 121/0/0/0
Smirnoff Vodka (Silver Label) [90.4 proof] – 110/0/0/0
Smirnoff Vodka (Red Label) [80 proof] – 97/0/0/0
Smirnoff Black Cherry Twist [70 proof] – 95/2/0/0
Smirnoff Citrus Twist [70] – 87/0/0/0
Smirnoff Vanilla Twist [70] – 93/2/0/0
Smirnoff Orange Twist [70] – 91/1/0/0
Smirnoff Green Apple Twist [70] – 97/3/0/0
Smirnoff Cranberry Twist [70] – 96/3/0/0
Smirnoff Lime Twist [70] – 91/1/0/0
Smirnoff Raspberry Twist [70] – 93/2/0/0
Smirnoff Watermelon Twist [70] – 95/3/0/0
Smirnoff Strawberry Twist [70] – 97/3/0/0

Another thing I enjoy occasionally is whiskey and diet Squirt. It’s just like a whiskey sour without the added sugar. Here’s a few more cocktails that are low carb:

  • Gin and tonic (or vodka tonic)
  • Jack and Coke (made with diet cola)
  • Scotch and soda
  • Rum and diet cola
  • Rye and Ginger (rye whiskey and diet ginger ale)

Like I said earlier, liquor can be DANGEROUS on game days. So know your limit and BE CAREFUL if you chose liquor over beer. Also, please don’t forget to drink water and to eat. If you need to, set an alarm on your phone or somewhere to remind you that you need some substance in your body besides alcohol. We, Americans, are crazy during football season, but that doesn’t mean your nutrition has to go down the drain! The internet has a wicked amount of recipes that are low carb and easy to make/eat, so if none of my ideas tickled your fancy, Google “low carb finger foods” and see all the possibilities. Let the party begin!!