My husband and I just recently moved our family from the suburbs back to the city. In the past few years, we’ve thrown football parties at our home. But now, instead of the living room, we find ourselves gathering with hundreds of other football fans in a parking lot full of food, cornhole and music! Something about it reminds me of college! There aren’t many opportunities in the adult world to blow off a whole afternoon and just hang out with friends. This past weekend we tailgated family style, with friends and kids of all ages. I love the rare chance for a day off from housework and responsibilities.
Let’s be honest, that’s what a tailgate is really about. That, and the food. Lots of food. But football season doesn’t have to be the off-season for your healthy diet. There are lots ways you can put a healthy spin on the traditional tailgate foods of chips and dips and yes, even chicken wings!
I’ve created some go-to recipes that won’t leave you feeling bad after you indulge. You’ll still be able to chat and crunch and munch and fill up before the game but you’ll be filling your body with a healthier fuel that will last longer.
First, a few tips to help you live healthy and love life at your next tailgate.
1.) Plan Ahead and help organize: If you are going to tailgate, offer to bring one of your favorite snacks to share with the crowd. You know you’ll be tempted by all the junk food other people may bring so be sure you have a healthier choice that you will want to eat!
2.) Stay hydrated: Make sure you drink plenty of water. If you are going to drink alcohol, try to alternate with water. When you are dehydrated, you are more likely to overeat because you think you are hungry, when you really just need more fluid.
3.)Fill up on the REAL good stuff: Good fats, clean sources of protein and veggies. These will all sustain you without craving the fast, fried and fake foods that will leave you wanting more.
4.) Why fry when you can grill? We had a grill out at our tailgate, but if you don’t, you can grill at home and bring it to the tailgate. This is a much healthier option and will still be delicious.
5.) Take a fitness break. All that sitting around and eating just makes you eat more. Go toss the football. Make a game of it. Whoever doesn’t catch it has to do jumping jacks or lunges. Walk around and see what other tailgaters are up to.
Now for the FOOD!
Just because you’re tailgating doesn’t mean you have to serve everything on paper plates. Seriously, how cute is this?
These make crunching and chatting before the big game easy.
Use the clear plastic cups again, layer black beans (I recommend Edan’s canned bpa free) and creamy cado and you have a great dip to walk around with and snack on.
Now for all those people who think veggies don’t count as tailgate food, try these Simple and Healthier Chicken Wings. They are sure to be a favorite!
Here are a few more chip options. After all, it is a tailgate, right? Can you have too many chips?
Zucchini chips: Cut your zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds and grill them. You can add salt/pepper to taste and add goat or cheddar cheese.
Natural Nachos: Layer the bottom of a dish with Beanitos brand chips made with beans.
Then cover with 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained, 2 small tomatoes chopped, 1 large avocado, chopped, 2 green onions, chopped, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 lime.
And finally, you can’t have a tailgate without something for dessert!!!
1.) Fruit Kabobs-these are always a hit no matter what the age. They are also very hydrating as well.
2.) Brookie’s Tailgate Cookie Bars– a mix between a cookie and a brownie.
3.) Black Bean Brownies. Bake them in a muffin pan for easy handling.
See? healthy food can be good and good for you! Now go cheer on your team!!!