How to tackle the tailgating snack attack

Kelly Burgess

In the spirit of Homecoming on The Hill, Hilltopper fans have put together a tasty starting lineup of tailgating snacks for this year’s game against Old Dominion.

The offensive line includes several returning players this season, including pigs in a blanket, sausage balls, chicken wings, chili and pit-smoked barbecue sandwiches. We also have a few rookie players with very promising records so far, including buffalo chicken dip, loaded nachos and potato skins. Which combination of players will receive the most playing time will depend on Coach Brohm’s pre-game analysis of team spirit, scoring potential and, finally, entertainment value for the faithful Topper fans.

Each player has different qualities that make him valuable to the team. Our new starting quarterback, buffalo chicken dip, has slightly variable statistics but averages 100 calories per one-fourth cup serving. The right and left guards, pigs in a blanket, also average 94 calories apiece. We can expect the wide receivers, sausage balls, to each run 50-100 calories in this game.

Kicking off with a bowl of chili starts the team out at about 350 calories. The crowd favorite chicken wing tackles add roughly 190 calories per pair. Last but not least, the running backs: potato skins, barbecue sandwiches, and loaded nachos, all make significant contributions to the team’s record, averaging 220, 320 and 450 calories, respectively.

With a starting lineup of buffalo chicken dip, potato skins, a barbecue sandwich, chili, two pigs in a blanket, chicken wings and sausage balls on the field, the team quickly jumps to nearly 1500 calories in just one play! The Toppers are such a competent team that they meet three-fourths of the average person’s daily caloric needs in just one play on the field.

While those stats may be great for the team, what does that kind of lineup do for your body, and should you be so quick to put all your best players on the field right at kickoff?

Let’s take a look at Brohm’s playbook for some key ingredients to success in the tailgating game.

Play number one is portion control. Tailgate festivities naturally encourage “grazing” or continuous snacking. When you go back to the table, casually grabbing one chip at a time, keeping up with how much you have eaten is tough. None of the favorite tailgating foods is especially harmful to your health, but eating indefinite portions of each could lead to overeating without even realizing.

How do we tackle this problem while still enjoying the atmosphere of tailgating fun? The best thing to do is to make a plate instead of grazing over the course of several hours. Putting food on a plate reminds you of fitting portions based on what fits on your plate. If you are attending a potluck-style gathering or are a diehard “grazer,” try play number two; bring a dish that is a good contribution.

Raw vegetables make a great addition to the tailgating classics, are easy to prepare and make healthy snacking options. Play number three for a good Homecoming is to defend your beverage; don’t forget, they have calories too. A 12-ounce can of beer or coke has about 150 calories. The calorie count may seem small, but drinks add up quickly, not to mention that most beverages other than water dehydrate your body rather than keeping you hydrated.

The Toppers’ “Top-notch” lineup is going to be hard to beat this year, but it’s up to you to play the field wisely.