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Waist Watchers and tailgating

Waist Watchers and tailgating Waist Watchers and tailgating

NEW ORLEANS - When you live in a football crazy city like New Orleans, it's hard to stick to a diet this time of year with so many tailgating parties packed with Louisiana foods. Many Saints fans aren't thinking about calories when they chow down. But nutritionists say they should factor that in when they eat at those parties, because many of those delicious dishes and drinks are loaded with fat and calories.

Nutritionists point out that foods like ribs, fried chicken wings, gumbo and jambalaya are high in calories and fat, which end up as extra fat on your body  - especially if you don't work out regularly and eat tailgate-style foods often.

"Anything fried, so fried chicken, fried fish, wings or ribs," said Ochsner Elmwood nutritionist Rebecca Miller. "They may not be fried, but they have the skin on them so they're high in fat, which means they're also high in calories. If it's a gumbo or a jambalaya that has a high-fat meat, which is typically sausage, we're going to have higher calories from that, so those are kind of my bigger offenders."

Miller said mixed drinks are high in sugar and calories. She said a 20-ounce daiquiri drink can have about 1,000 calories, and just one regular beer contains at least 150 calories.

Miller suggests that before you head to a tailgate, you should make sure you have a game plan. Miller says a good breakfast will help stop you from gorging on everything at your tailgate. If you're heading there straight from work, have a full lunch and pack healthy snacks like granola bars or small bags of nuts to munch on during your party. If you have time, take a lower-calorie dish to share with your friends who are also trying to keep their weight down.

Miller said instead of eating a tailgate bacon-wrapped food, try making dishes like green peppers stuffed with lean ground beef. Or try making jalapeno peppers stuffed with chicken or low-fat cream cheese. If you can't do any pre-planning before heading to a tailgate, then you're urged to reduce the portion of food on your plate. Also, when putting together a plate of food, one-third of it should be protein - which could be lean meat or fish, one-third should be carbohydrate and the other third vegetables.

If you want to sample everything, Miller suggests taking small portions.

"A wing or two on your plate, one rib or two, some chicken and remove the skin, hamburger and remove the bun to reduce the calories, " added Miller . Also if you have the gumbo, choose the seafood or chicken rather than the higher fat sausage one and remove the white rice which is high in calories.

Avoid the creamy appetizer dips filled with cheese, and instead select the lower-calorie salsa tomato-based dips. Also, because you can easily consume 1,000 calories in alcohol alone, remember to select low-calorie beers and reduce mixed drinks that are high in sugar.

Finally, pace your alcoholic drinks with water because alcohol stimulates your appetite and the water will keep you feeling full.



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