Tailgating? Menu Ideas that are Fun and Healthy
(ARA) – Food, fans and fun all go together during the big game. When you get together with your favorite sports enthusiasts, it’s likely you’ll be surrounded by traditional tailgating fare which is often unhealthy. Whether its hot dogs, nachos or fried appetizers, fan foods tend to be high in calories and fat content.
Tailgating and sports parties are great times to get together with friends and try some new recipes. Instead of surrounding yourself with junk food, try some alternatives that are equally delicious and better for your body. You might be surprised by how much everyone enjoys the variety of foods. Here are some tips to help the host and guests eat healthier during game time:
For the Host:
Sometimes during the big game the coach needs to change plays because it is the best line of attack. This is also true for the host of the party. With easy cooking strategies you can please the team without all the extra calories.
Huddle Around the Barbeque: Skip the deep fried items and grill. Grilling foods is a heart healthy way to prepare meats and vegetables that tastes great. Create a barbecue using skinned turkey or chicken breasts and a bottle of low-fat barbecue sauce. Perhaps even offer veggie hot dogs and veggie burgers.
- Sacking the Chips: Instead of typical fried potato chips, make your own with Weight Watchers Whole Wheat pitas. Slice eight triangles and spread on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil, salt and bake 15 minutes or until toasted. To get the crunch of chips without the calories, try using vegetables. Fresh bell pepper, celery and carrots satisfy the crunch sports fans desire. Make dips with low-fat Weight Watchers Vanilla Yogurt instead of sour cream and mayonnaise.
- One Hot Play: Make a healthier chili using the leanest ground beef or ground turkey available. Include a variety of beans, corn and chopped tomatoes. Not only will it add color and flavor to your chili, but nutrients as well.
- Sweet Attack: Look for low calorie sweets at your local grocery store. One example is the new portion-controlled Weight Watchers Caramel Snack Cakes that are just 90 calories, have 3 grams of dietary fiber and just 3 total grams of fat. They are a sensible food option and help satisfy the need for a ‘sweet treat’ without sacrificing taste. Serve either wrapped in a basket or unwrapped on a tray.
- Skewer the Opponent: Try making Hawaiian-style kabobs with fresh fruit. Simply slice your favorite fruits such as pineapple, oranges and strawberries and skewer. Fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, but remember canned fruits lose nutrients. The whole team will enjoy this fun presentation.
For the Guest:
You’re a team player, but with all the traditional game foods, it’s hard to stick to your own personal health strategy. Here are some tips for guests so they can enjoy the food and fun without worry.
- Team Prep: Not sure what’s in those mushrooms? The ingredients can be the difference of hundreds of calories. A polite, ‘That looks great, what’s in it?’ will get you the information you need to make wise food choices.
- A Good Defense: Take a step back from the food offerings and look at everything before digging in. If you can’t resist potato skins, have them, but don’t waste calories on foods that you don’t absolutely love. If you want many different foods, consider taking smaller portions of each and cutting items like burgers and brats in half.
- Game Time: At half time or before the game even starts, initiate a game of touch football or another backyard game. You’ll have fun and burn off some extra calories.
- Proper Hydration for the Win: Drinking too much can make you susceptible to overeating. So keep your intake to one or two drinks and keep it light by alternating alcoholic beverages with diet soda or water. When you do drink, choose something like a wine, a champagne spritzer or light beer.
- Be a Team Player: Offer to make some healthy snacks. That way you know you always have something good to eat and your host will appreciate your contribution.