Healthy Tailgate Food

Eat better before every game with these tips for guilt-free gameday spreads.

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Healthy Tailgate Food

Give your Tailgate Party a Healthy Makeover

The cool, crisp fall weather means it’s football season and time to tailgate! Gathering with friends, family, and fellow gridiron fans before the big game is a time-honored tradition for many people. In fact, a University of Minnesota study found 18% of fans tailgate before a sporting event. Whether it’s a college or professional football tailgate party, one thing is for sure—there will be a lot of food and drinks you won’t want to pass up. From barbecue and chicken wings to burgers and hot dogs to salty snacks and cold beer, a tailgate spread can be an elaborate and calorie-dense event.

Eating healthy at a tailgate may seem impossible, but you can have your snacks and be healthy too. As you plan your next parking lot party before your team takes the field, here are a few tips for creating a healthier tailgate spread.

  • Kick off with better grilling. Opt for leaner proteins like chicken breasts, turkey burgers or shrimp skewers that have less saturated fat. Kick up the flavor with tangy marinades, bold spices and savory rubs that are low in sodium.
  • Don’t go offsides with your side dishes. Lighten them up by offering guests options like a fruit platter, a vinegar-based coleslaw, three-bean salad or a garden pasta salad loaded with filling veggies.
  • Think like the water boy or girl! While a cold beer on gameday might be your go-to beverage, try alternating with water between beers (or other alcoholic drinks). Staying hydrated will help ward off a headache the next day and cut down on the calories you consume from alcohol.
  • Don’t fumble the snacks. Think baked not fried when it comes to your favorite crunchy snacks. Pretzels, popcorn, pita chips, or baked chips give you the crunch without a lot of sodium, fat, or calories. Grab some baby carrots and pre-cut celery for an even healthier dipping option.
  • Sub in better-for-you condiments. Bring along the ketchup, hot sauce, mustards, and salsa for toppings that add plenty of flavor without a lot of sugar, salt, or fat.

Tailgating is about bringing people together who love the game and want to socialize with friends and family over good food and drinks. Why not create a menu that’s just a little healthier by making simple swaps that are full of flavor and keep fans fueled up for a great time? You’ll be the winner when you use this playbook for your next tailgate party.

An Easier Grocery Shopping Game Plan

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