Home > Nutrition > Game Day Menu: Tailgating Tips and Recipes

Game Day Menu: Tailgating Tips and Recipes

By Amber Odom, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian, Cooper Clinic

It’s that time of year again…fall, cooler weather and football season! Whether you are tailgating at the football game with a few friends or hosting a football extravaganza, here are some healthy tips for a winning game plan this season.

What’s on the Menu
Before you head to the game, don’t forget to put lots of ice in the cooler for food safety. Here are a few low-calorie ideas to get your party started for appetizers:

  • Fruit and Veggie Tray (made ahead of time or purchased from the grocery store deli)
  • Baked Lays potato chips, pretzels or multi-grain tortilla chips
  • Dips – salsa/picante sauce, hummus, guacamole or spinach dip
  • Laughing Cow Cheese (Light) with raw veggies, Kashi TLC crackers or reduced-fat Triscuit crackers

Go for the Grill
When you think of tailgating, go for the grill! It can be a fun and healthy way to enjoy your favorite pre-game foods. Here are some grilling ideas for the main entrée/protein:

  • Chicken – use breasts for grilled chicken sandwiches or kabobs; or try marinated chicken for fajitas
  • Fish – try wrapping your favorite fish in foil with fresh herbs, garlic & lemon and it will be ready for the grill, or you can try salmon (marinated in a little olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice and basil) grilled on a cedar plank, or shrimp for kabobs
  • Pork – marinated pork tenderloin
  • Burgers – 97% lean ground beef or ground turkey (use 2% milk cheese slices if making cheeseburgers)
  • Hotdogs – try fat-free Ball Park, turkey Oscar Meyer or 97% fat-free Hebrew National (use 2% shredded cheese and 99% fat-free, turkey chili if making chili cheese dogs)

When packing the tailgating mobile, don’t forget to throw in a pot or pan to cook or heat up the veggies/sides:

  • Grilled onions for sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, or fajitas
  • Chunks of tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, squash, and zucchini on skewers for kabobs
  • Baked beans
  • Brown rice to serve with kabobs
  • Whole-wheat buns for burgers and/or hotdogs
  • Whole-wheat tortillas for fajitas
  • Fresh fruit tray
  • Pineapple chunks on skewers for kabobs

By following these tips and meal ideas you’re sure to have a great tailgating bash. Remember – it is not about deprivation but moderation. Enjoy the game!

 

Amber Odom, a registered and licensed dietitian, joined the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Department in 2004 and specializes in preventive and cardiovascular nutrition and weight management. She leads grocery store tours educating attendees on how to navigate the store and select healthier food items and teaches nutrition classes to Cooper teammates as part of the CooperFit wellness program. In 2002, Amber was named “Recognized Young Dietitian of the Year” by the Texas Dietetic Association. She received a Bachelor of Science in food and nutrition from Texas Tech University and completed a combined Bachelor of Science and internship in nutrition at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

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