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Healthy Tailgate

A Winning Recipe for a Healthy Tailgate

For many of us tailgating is the best part of a football Sunday. We love relaxing with friends as we prepare to cheer our favorite team on to victory. Unfortunately, those of us watching our waistlines, cholesterol or blood pressure can end up on the sidelines wondering what to eat. Not any more! With the right game plan you can enjoy a delicious and healthy tailgate, and your guests will never know the difference.

Most typical tailgate food is loaded with salt, saturated fat and sugar. By making five minor changes you can lower the amount of all three, while adding fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

    1. Make the switch from red to white
      The main dish at most tailgates is often red meat. Unfortunately, red meat is high in artery clogging saturated fat. Making the switch to white meat is not as hard as you may think. Love your burgers? Try turkey or veggie instead of beef. Pile them high with lettuce, tomato and onion and serve on a whole-wheat bun. Is chili your favorite? Chicken chili, always a crowd pleaser, can be made using white beans, shredded chicken and sautéed vegetables and served with baked tortilla chips. Is it hoagies your tailgaters crave? No problem, order a Harris Teeter Party Platter with lean turkey slices. Serve on whole grain buns, stacked high with veggies and lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Can’t wait to fire up the grill? Go ahead, marinated chicken and veggie kabobs satisfy your need to grill and your taste buds, too. If it’s seafood you love, order a Harris Teeter Seafood Platter piled high with shrimp - nothing could be easier!
    2. Healthy side salads
      Let’s face it - most of the salads you find at a tailgate aren’t the green variety, but they don’t have to be slathered in mayonnaise, either. By choosing ingredients like beans, whole-wheat pasta, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil, your salads will be tasty and provide fiber, healthy fats and a host of vitamins and minerals. Try a whole-wheat pasta salad made with grilled vegetables and pesto, or a mixed bean salad with garlic, onions, olive oil and vinegar. A simple Greek salad can also be a delicious side with grilled chicken or shrimp.
    3. Skip the chip
      When it comes to your health, there’s not a lot to be said for chips – a staple of most tailgates. Luckily, there are a lot of terrific alternatives. Popcorn, especially air-popped, provides lots of crunch and fiber as well. Whole grain crackers served with hummus, almonds, walnuts, soy nuts and roasted pumpkin seeds are other crunchy and healthy alternatives to chips. If no other substitution will do, look for a baked chip and serve with salsa or guacamole.
    4. Sweets
      If you need something sweet to round out your tailgate table try some fruit kabobs and yogurt dip. Sweet, delicious and packed with nutrients, fruit is the ultimate healthy dessert. Arranged on a pretty tray, fruit can also be a great centerpiece for your table. Make it easy on yourself and order a gorgeous fruit party platter from Harris Teeter before any game.
    5. Drinks
      Football games can mean long days in the sun and wind. Be sure to hydrate as much as possible. Water and flavored seltzers are your best options. For a flavor kick, spike your water and seltzer with sliced lemon or a splash of 100% fruit juice. Avoid the excess calories and sugar from sodas, juices, and other drink mixers and remember that alcohol dehydrates and impairs.

Next time game day rolls around make sure you are ready to wow your guests with a winning tailgate menu. Remember, it is possible to enjoy your tailgate and support good health!