Healthy Tailgating

Healthy Tailgating

Football season is in full swing, and the American Heart Association is here to provide some tips to make your next tailgate party heart-healthy.

Gera Nissen, RN, BSN, with Viva Health joined us with some pointers. Many common tailgating foods have a lot of sodium, so be particularly careful of the Salty Six: pizza, bread and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, savory snacks such as pretzels and chips, sandwiches, and cheese.

When making sandwiches, use whole-grain or high-fiber breads. Instead of chips or crackers, offer unsalted sunflower seeds, whole-grain crackers - fat-free or low fat, fat-free or low-fat cheese sticks, carrot or celery sticks, and unsalted walnuts or almonds. Instead of sweets such as cookies, offer fruit, such as apples, orange slices or bananas.

Also, be wary for sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda or sweet tea. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories and zero nutrition. Instead look for sugar-free or low-calorie beverages. Obesity is a leading cause of health problems, including heart disease. Foods that are high in sodium or trans fats can cause high blood pressure and raise cholesterol levels, which can eventually lead to heart attacks or stroke. The American Heart Association's Healthy for Good movement inspires Americans to live healthier lives by Eating Smart, Adding Color, Moving More and Be Well. There are hundreds of recipes and tips online at For more information on healthy eating, join the American Heart Association and Viva Health on November 1st for National Eat Smart Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Linn Park, where we'll be handing out healthy snacks and doing cooking demonstrations.

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