Football season is in full swing, and when I think football, I think warm fuzzy sweatshirts and tailgate parties because I’m always looking for a reason to have a party. Tailgate parties are a great opportunity to gather with other fans, share healthy rivalries and delicious, healthy food as we build up to the ultimate NFL-inspired bash: The Super Bowl.
Now normally when tailgate parties come to mind, hot wings, chips and dips, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers and greasy finger foods come to mind. And don’t forget the beer. When you start to add up all those calories at the end of the game, you’ve probably eaten more than the required calories for an entire day at just one sitting.
Fortunately, there are healthy alternatives to those greasy, tailgate goodies.
- Grilling doesn’t have to end just because summer is officially over. In fact, a lot of tailgaters look forward to fall simply for the opportunity to grilling delicious game meats like venison and elk. The great thing about game meats is they are leaner, which means less fat and less time on the grill. Cutting down on the grill time also cuts out your exposure to the harmful chemical reactions from grill smoke.
- Chicken wings are a football favorite, but the skin on the wings combined with deep fryer time is a heart attack waiting to happen. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy crispy, bite-sized, oven-baked breast bites marinated in your favorite wing sauce.
- Vegetable kebobs are another tasty grilled treat sure to please crowds. With so many autumn vegetables in season, from tomatoes and squash to onions and mushrooms, there are dozens of delicious combinations begging to be skewered together and tossed onto the grill.
- Cooler weather and football are always the perfect excuse to whip up a batch of chili. Cut out the fat in your chili by substituting ground turkey or chicken for beef.
- Desserts are a must-have at every tailgate party, and with plenty of fall fruits in season, fruit salads and cocktails are the perfect palate cleanser and it’s so good for you. Just make sure you don’t add extra sugar, but rely on the natural sugars to enhance the flavors of your fruit desserts.
- As mentioned above, a tailgate party wouldn’t be a tailgate party without plenty of beer. Not only should you offer light beer for those who want to watch their waistline, but also make sure there is plenty of water for everyone to drink since alcohol dehydrates your body.
Keeping things light and fresh at your tailgate parties ensures that everyone has enough energy to stand up and go wild when their favorite team scores a touchdown!