Skip to main content

Hearty, Healthy Tailgating

A tailgate party is a great time to enjoy friends, football, and food. Do your guests a favor by serving some healthier options at your next event. A smarter tailgating menu is easy; but does take a little planning.

Start by examining your current menu. Better choices are easy to find and may be even easier to prepare. Let this chart be your guide to help reduce fat, cholesterol, and sodium, while increasing antioxidants, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

If you usually serve: Chicken wings, try this instead: Marinated grilled chicken
Boneless, skinless chicken can be marinated in advance and will cook quickly when thrown on a hot grill. Use a meat thermometer to avoid over- or under-cooking; chicken breasts should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

If you usually serve: Bratwurst, try this instead: Turkey sliders

Ground turkey is a lean meat that makes an excellent burger. Slice buns width-wise and toast on the grill during the last few minutes of cooking for a nice crust.

If you usually serve: Take-out pizza, _try this instead:Vegetable pizza
This veggie pizza requires no cooking and holds up well when made in advance. Use any raw veggies you have on hand.

If you usually serve: Nachos with cheese, try this instead: Baked chips and salsa
Fried corn chips and cheese sauce can be easily replaced by a delicious salsa.

If you usually serve: Cocktail wieners, try this instead: Caprese skewers
Skewers of tomato, mozzarella, and basil drizzled in a balsamic vinaigrette make a for a beautiful presentation while adding calcium and vitamin C. Use mozzarella sparingly to minimize fat content.

If you usually serve: Potato chips, try this instead: Hummus and whole wheat pita
Hummus is a traditional Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas. Contributing fiber, protein, and healthy fats, this dip is a healthful crowd-pleaser.

If you usually serve: Beef chili, try this instead: Pumpkin chili
The unexpected addition of pumpkin contributes rich flavor and aroma to a fall favorite. Deep orange vegetables like pumpkins are loaded with beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Use leaner beef or turkey, or omit meat altogether for a vegetarian chili.

To complete the menu and show your spirit, try using bamboo skewers to build fruit kabobs in your team’s colors. Following are some suggestions to help you create your color combination:
  • Blue or navy: Blueberries
  • Gold or yellow: pineapple
  • Green: grapes, kiwi
  • White: honeydew melon
  • Orange: cantaloupe, orange sections, mango
  • Red: watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries
  • Purple: grapes
  • Black: blackberries
Thread on skewers, keep cold to serve.