Friday, September 5, 2014

Who's ready for some football?

By Jeanette Andrade MS,RDN,LDN

Fall is upon us as the leaves change colors, the nights become shorter, and more importantly, people are yelling at their TV screens on Saturdays and Sundays as football is back on the air. You may also be one of the many fortunate people to attend one or more games during the season. This may mean participating in a tailgate or two prior to kick off. Now when you think of tailgating you likely are not thinking low caloric/fat foods such as water, plain fruit, and fresh salad, but instead high caloric/fat foods such as beer, hot dogs, brats, and mayonnaise based salads. However, pulling off a healthy tailgate can be done with a little bit of creativity. Initially, I will discuss a healthy breakfast tailgate (many college games start early on Saturday) and then an afternoon/dinner tailgate.

When there is an early tailgate, most people would expect eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, and some cold orange juice. Well, I like to form my own twist to a traditional morning tailgate by making:
-A “fresh egg delight scramble” which includes egg whites and about 1-2 egg yolks, cooked spinach, quartered cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers (green, red, and yellow make it pretty), and mushrooms. You can sprinkle some low-fat cheese on there for some extra flavor

-A fruit salad that incorporates fall fruits- apples, pears, oranges, and bananas with a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice to keep the fruit from browning

-Homemade biscuits made with skim milk and half of the butter the recipe calls for. Believe me hardly any one notices the lack of butter as the biscuits are fluffy and moist

-My husband loves using the grill, so we grill up some turkey sausages. Yes, there are turkey sausages that are low in fat and sodium such as Yorkshire Farms Morning Maple Turkey or Healthy Choice Turkey Sausages

-For beverages we serve ice cold water with fresh fruit slices (be creative as you don’t have to limit yourselves to limes or lemons, but use peaches, apples, pears, cucumbers) and lite Sangria (for those who like to have an adult beverage before or during a game)

For the later games, I like the “build your own” concept.  We have tried a taco bar where we provided 6” flour and corn tortillas and provided shrimp, chicken, and/or vegetables for our guests. The fixings were low-fat refried beans, brown rice, tomatoes, onions, fresh guacamole, and low-fat cheese. People loved these as they were fun to make and little as you could only pack so much on a 6” tortilla. You can try the same with a sandwich bar or even a salad bar (seriously people love different types of salads)

We also tried a pot-luck in which we told our guests that had to bring a homemade dish and if it was not already had to make it “light”. Many of our guests were from different countries, so we had healthy food from around the world- Indian, Asian, Mediterranean, African, and Central/ South American. This was fun as we learned about each other’s cultures and they learned how to make a heavy dish light in calories and fat.

In the end it would be quite easy to slap some burgers and hot dogs on the grill before a game, but why not make it fun and healthy?  GO TEAM!!!


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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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