Now that football season is upon us, tailgating is on the minds of many sports enthusiasts. The food involved is usually a major enticement. What to take and what to eat are questions in the minds of those who want to have fun, but are also looking to stay healthy.
So I want to share some ideas that can help you think beyond burgers and hot dogs. Most of the following ideas are foods that tailgaters will enjoy and welcome, even if being healthy isn't their top priority. This is a way for you to provide healthy options without being called out for bringing the “rabbit food.”
Rather than bringing burgers, how about providing turkey or lean beef meatballs? These can be eaten without a bun or cheese, making them a better alternative. Use the recipe, listed at the end of this blog, to improve the nutrient density of your meatballs without compromising taste! Take these in a cooler and grill them, using foil to prevent them from falling into the grill.
Use fruits that can be grilled, such as pineapple and chunks of peaches. Or, eat them cold using your favorite fruits stacked on a kabob stick.
Provide leaves of substantial lettuces such as Boston Bibb or Living Lettuce for wrapping burgers, if that is what is being served. Wash them ahead of time and layer them in a large Ziploc bag with a small paper towel between each leaf.
Grilled corn on the cob
Do it in the husk, or husk it before and grill the corn wrapped in foil. Provide spray butter and various seasonings to spice it up when done. Try chili powder, cumin, lemon pepper or dill to add flavor.
Shrimp cocktail tray
This is a simple addition to a tailgate, and most people welcome this refreshing treat. Don't forget the cocktail sauce!
Use a few sticks of low-fat string cheese. Slice the string cheese in 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch slices. On long toothpicks, alternate cheese slices, cherry tomato halves, and small basil leaves, or pieces of basil. Drizzle with a little balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar.
Arnold Palmer drinks
Mix up a pitcher of all natural low-calorie lemonade. Then, add ice tea in an equal amount. For a low-calorie cocktail, use this close-to-zero-calorie mixer with a shot of vodka. Add ice for a refreshing treat!
Tailgating meatballs recipe:
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey (90 to 95 percent lean)
2/3 cup grated carrot
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup reduced fat Parmesan cheese (Kraft has a variety of this)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
a few tablespoons of skim milk
Mix all ingredients and add skim milk, one tablespoon at a time, until meatballs are of desired wetness. Grilling will dry them out a bit, so make sure they are well formed, shaping the meatballs into about 2-inch balls. This recipe makes about 18.