Football season is here!
While I’ll admit I’m not a devoted football follower, I do love the camaraderie among fans and the loyalty they have for their team. My loyalty lies within the tradition of tailgating. However, the traditional game-day favorites can be loaded with calories. The average fan can take in an estimated 1,200 calories in one sitting.
Whether you are watching the game at home with a few friends or packing a cooler for a tailgating party, game-day eating doesn’t have to make a wallop on your waistline. Score points with your health by putting a healthy twist on tailgating standard dishes.
Make simple trade-ups in ingredients. Preparing chili or sloppy Joes? Try substituting ground turkey or chicken for hamburger.
And load up with vegetables. It can be shocking what great flavors carrots, celery, spinach and zucchini can add to these dishes.
Tailgating outdoors? A few tips
While tailgating outdoors, it is important to keep in mind safe food-handling practices, as refrigeration and running water are typically not available. Here are some tips to a safe and successful tailgating party:
Be sure to pack plenty of clean utensils for preparing and serving.
In addition to a grill and fuel for cooking, bring a meat thermometer to ensure your meat and poultry have been cooked to a proper internal temperature.
Carry any cold perishable foods such as raw meats in an insulated cooler pack with several inches of ice, frozen gel packs or containers of ice. Be sure that the meat is wrapped securely to prevent raw juices from cross-contaminating ready-to-eat foods.
If bringing hot take-out food, eat within two hours of purchase (one hour if air temperature is above 90 degrees).
Instead of using old-fashioned sour cream-based dips, substitute plain fat-free Greek yogurt for the sour cream. You’ll score more protein and fewer calories without losing flavor. Try this chipotle dip recipe that offers 35 calories per serving and a load of flavor to your next chip dip.
2 cups nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup salsa, mild or medium
1 canned chipotle pepper, halved and seeded
3/4 teaspoon salt
Baked tortilla chips, for serving
Vegetables, for serving
Puree Greek yogurt, salsa, chipotle pepper and salt in food processor or blender. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Serve with chips or vegetables. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 35 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 3 grams carbohydrate, no dietary fiber, 3 grams sugar, 6 grams protein.
When preparing meats, roasting and grilling are healthy and easy cooking methods. However, many marinades can be high in sodium. Preparing your own marinade can be simple and just as flavorful without the excess sodium. Try this recipe that features Middle Eastern flavors. Tuck the grilled chunks of meat and onion into a warm whole-wheat pita for easier eating while tailgating.
Shish Kebab with Tahini Sauce
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided use
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 pounds sirloin steaks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large onions, cut into 8 wedges each
Combine garlic, lemon juice, 1/4 cup oil, salt, allspice, cinnamon and pepper in medium bowl. Place beef in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Preheat grill to high. Remove the beef from the bag. Discard the marinade. Brush onions with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide the beef among 6 skewers and the onions along 3 skewers (See note). Grill the onions until charred and tender, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Grill the beef, turning once or twice, until slightly charred but still pink in the middle, about 6 minutes. Serve with tahini sauce. Makes 8 servings.
Note: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to cooking to prevent skewers from burning on grill.
Per serving: 314 calories, 19 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 8 grams monounsaturated), 55 milligrams cholesterol, 9 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, 235 milligrams sodium, 473 milligrams potassium. Nutrition bonus: selenium (40 percent daily value), zinc (35 percent daily value), vitamin C (25 percent daily value), iron (15 percent daily value).
Alexandra Economy is a Winona dietitian.