Game Day:Raising the Bar on Your Tailgate Party


After weeks of anticipation, one of fall’s best offerings, Football Season, is here! Hot diggity!!!

Now many sports fans view this as a total positive, but those who have been working hard all summer to shave percentage points off their body fat and boost their fitness levels recognize football season’s potential hazard - tailgating food. It’s no secret that football fare is not the healthiest food on the planet.

To make matters worse (or better depending on your perspective), football is not just on Saturdays and Sundays anymore. There’s a game almost every day of the week. Even those with the most efficient metabolisms can’t afford tailgate splurges multiple days of the week.

No worries! There’s a way to love football and enjoy great food without derailing yourself and your fit friends. For all you health-conscious football lovers, this blog is for you. Below you will find a crowd-pleasing tailgating menu with tips for celebrating football season without carrying extra pounds into the not-so-far-away holiday season.

Enjoy and good luck to your team!

Tailgating Menu

  • Broccoli and Red Pepper Chicken Salad*
  • Southern Caviar*
  • Mixed green salad with cranberries, walnuts and vinaigrette dressing
  • Hummus
  • Wholly® guacamole
  • Beanito’s Black Bean Chips (see photo and nutrition info below)
  • Fresh veggies for dipping: broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, grape tomatoes
  • Crusty whole wheat bread
  • Beer, wine, sparkling water, etc.
  • Dark chocolate dipped fruit (see School Spirit Kabobs below)

*Pictured in photo below. Click here for recipes for items with asteriks.

7 Tips for Healthier Tailgating Parties

  1. Include a rainbow of brightly colored foods in your menu and on your plate, i.e. vegetables and fruit.
  2. If grilling, toss skewers of vegetables and fruit on the grill with the meat.
  3. If burgers are on your menu, leave off the bread and enjoy a gourmet burger piled high with grilled onions, mushrooms and peppers, topped with avocado slices.
  4. Opt for lean meats, seafood or chicken instead of a fried chicken bucket or wings.
  5. To keep alcohol calories in check, alternate each alcoholic beverage with a bottle of water.
    Beer ---> Water ---> Beer ---> Water
  6. Serve yourself small portions on a plate instead of grazing. Then step away from the serving table to eat.
  7. For dessert, dip your school colors in dark chocolate. See School Spirit Fruit Kabobs below.

School Spirit Fruit Kabobs
This Recipe Adapted from: Heart Healthy Tailgating, Brooke Baker, MS, RD, LDN

Use bamboo skewers to build fruit kabobs in your team’s colors. Following are some suggestions to help you create your color combinations:

  • Blue or navy: blueberries
  • Gold or yellow: pineapple
  • Green: grapes, kiwi
  • White: honeydew melon
  • Orange: cantaloupe, orange sections, mango
  • Red: watermelon, strawberries, cherries, raspberries
  • Purple: grapes
  • Black: blackberries
  • Carolina Blue: sorry Carolina fans, I’m struggling to find a fruit this color?!

Thread on skewers; keep cold to serve. Dip into melted dark chocolate, if desired.

New Product Alert: Beanitos


About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top