Food and football are two of my favorite things about fall. It’s a great time for getting together with friends to celebrate. But don’t let the tailgating festivities be hard on your tailside! There are many ways to graze on fun party foods and stay healthy at the same time. Make these great options for your next football party:
Top 5 Healthy Tailgating Foods
Chelsea Blackbird, Certified Nutritional Therapist
1. Grass-Fed Meatballs
Love meatballs. They’re cute and portable. But the best thing about them is that you can pack a ton of nutrition into this one little food. Start with a high quality meat – like grass-fed beef – and use a recipe that incorporates veggies like carrots, onions, or zucchini. The grass-fed meat offers a fantastic array of nutrients including important vitamins and Omega-3s. The veggies not only give the meatballs a delicious flavor, they will also give you a good dose of minerals. Let’s face it, football party foods are usually pretty carb- heavy and void of nutrients. But meatballs are like little power punches of protein which will help offset the onslaught of carbs. Another tip: if rolling up a bunch of little meatballs is too high-maintenance, then just bake them in mini-muffin cups. Still portable, still fun, and still tasty! Try this recipe.
2. Salad Skewers
Salad doesn’t sound very footbally, does it? You can easily make it more party-friendly by using skewers. When you thread your favorite salad ingredients onto a skewer, it becomes an entirely different story. All of sudden, salad becomes doable. And fun. My favorite is a caprese skewer: alternate baby tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls, and basil leaves. You could even offer a balsamic dressing for dipping, but it’s not necessary. The possibilities are endless. Basically, if you can skewer it, you can make it work. Spinach leaves, strawberries, and red onion. Cucumber, tomatoes, and hunks of feta cheese. Use your imagination and creativity!
3. Chip & Dip
C’mon, now. What would a party be without chip and dip? The important thing is to make better choices. Forget the queso, which is made of factory-processed frankencheese, and go for the fresh salsa or guacamole. Those are made of real ingredients and actually have nutrients your body can use! Although chips are never going to be considered a health food, some options are better than others. For instance, try to buy non-GMO tortilla chips. Also look for chips that are not fried in toxic oils like canola, vegetable, corn and cottonseed. And, in general, the fewer ingredients the better. Buy plain instead of flavored. The more stuff added in, the worse it is for you. Finally, don’t discount using other options for dipping, like sliced cucumber, instead of chips. Try my 5-minute recipe for fresh salsa. I get asked for the recipe every time I take it to a party. Every time.
4. Chocolate Bacon Bites
The party just wouldn't be complete without something sweet. Chocolate and bacon may sound like a strange combination but, OMG, chocolate and bacon!!! What’s not to love? It’s very simple but the pairing of flavors is out of this world. It’s a nice alternative to floury cookies and cupcakes. AND, when you use high quality, nitrate-free bacon and dark chocolate, it’s actually got a decent nutrient profile. So, you’re welcome.
Fizzy Kombucha Drinks
What’s a football game without a nice cold beverage? But downing beer and mixed alcoholic drinks all day can really take a toll on your body. For a delicious and festive alternative, try Kombucha! I love the Live Soda brand made right in Austin. They have all kinds of yummy flavors that taste like your favorite soda: Classic Cola, Pure Doctor, Living Limon and more. So what is Kombucha? It’s a fermented drink that has natural probiotics and lots of vitamins. So, yes, you are actually drinking something delicious and healthy. And I’ve been told these make pretty good mixers too! Find kombucha at your favorite grocery store in the refrigerated section. Cheers!