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Jen’s Tailgating Tips



As we are full swing into football season, and we all know what that means. TAILGATES, FOOTBALL GAMES, SUPERBOWL PARTIES, etc. We all have our favorite college and pro teams, and we enjoy a social gathering (or two) to spread some cheer in a public place or even just at a friends house. And even better yet, right across the street from the field with tailgates a mile long calling your name. Being near Ann Arbor, it’s hard not to get in the spirit! But what if I told you, you could still get ahead of the game with your snack choices, and still have a good time with friends and family, without wearing guilt all over your face? Interested? Take a look…

Tailgating can be a lot of fun – sometimes it’s more entertaining than the game – but it can be hard to stick to your health and fitness goals. Whether you’re hosting the bash or just contributing to the potluck, it’s possible to put together creative, crowd-pleasing tailgate treats that are healthy as well as tasty. It just takes a bit of creativity and a willingness to break with tradition when necessary.

Score with Skewers

It’s not classic tailgating without meat on the grill, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re stuck with steaks and burgers. Put together skewers of lean chicken breast or pork tenderloin instead. Don’t forget to load them with colorful veggies as well. Par-cook your onions, zucchini, mushrooms and sweet peppers ahead of time so they’re done at the same time as the meats or enjoy them a little on the crispy side like me 😛

Go For a Dip

Instead of dips heavy with cheese or sour cream, choose options low in fat and high in protein. Offer savory hummus or other bean dips for the hearty appetites and put tzatziki on your tray rather than the usual ranch dressing. Set out lots of crunchy vegetables for dipping, and pretzels or baked chips instead of the usual fried versions.
New Twist on an Old Classic

Buffalo chicken wings are another high-fat tailgate staple. Enjoy a more virtuous version by tossing slices of grilled breast in the hot sauce instead of wings with their high ratio of fat and skin. Chicken’s not your only option either. Buffalo shrimp are equally tasty and a pleasant change from the usual. Roasted “buffalo” cauliflower is also surprisingly good and a vegan option as well. Has anyone heard of cauliflower bites?! Honestly taste like the real thing.

Oven-Frying is Your Friend

If a basket of fried chicken is indispensable tailgating fare in your family, opt for oven-frying instead of the usual deep fat. Mist breaded, skinless chicken with a spray of oil and bake it until it’s golden and crisp. The same technique works well for zucchini fingers, breaded shrimp and other foods that might otherwise be fried.

Smaller-Size Me

If your crew won’t accept burgers made with ground turkey or any gathering that doesn’t include cheesy twice-baked potatoes, you have one more weapon in your arsenal – portion control. Make up tiny sliders instead of massive burgers. Use baby potatoes for your twice-baked so they’re a finger-sized treat instead of a high-fat side dish. Reducing portion size is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s still one of the best.

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