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October 12, 2015 | 2 minute read

What do you suggest for healthy choices when tailgating?

Q: What do you suggest for healthy choices when tailgating?

A: There are many delicious options for tailgate parties that promote good health by providing plenty of plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans and limiting high calorie foods. If you grill, choose chicken; include some vegetable kebabs, too, for a delicious way to add vegetables. If you like make-ahead dishes, chili, sloppy joes, lasagna, and enchilada casserole can all be lean and healthy when prepared with lots of vegetables and beans. Try them with lean ground turkey if you don’t want to make them vegetarian; if the dish includes cheese, limit the amount and use reduced-fat options.

For options that let you do the prep work in advance, stir-fry some vegetables and chicken, and let people create their own fajitas by rolling them up in whole-wheat tortillas, with or without some reduced-fat cheese. If your tailgates tend toward sandwiches and subs, make them lean with fresh meat like turkey or a little lean roast beef and load them with vegetables. Cut the sandwiches into small sections to make portion control easier for people, and make some with whole-grain bread and rolls.

Since it’s easy to nosh through more chips than intended, provide a range of vegetables instead; add some whole-wheat pita bread wedges and hummus if you want. Grapes and melon chunks on skewers or toothpicks make a healthy way to finish off the tailgate with a sweet note. Since drinks can add so many unwanted calories, make sure to offer one or more calorie-free selections, like water (plain, sparkling water, or infused with a little fruit or cucumber and basil) and tea (iced, plain or hot chai-flavored tea).

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