For most people the word tailgating brings to mind an overabundance of grilled or fatty foods; anything from ribs covered in barbecue sauce, to brats soaked in beer or your standard hot dogs and hamburgers. For those that are still trying to hold on to their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, here are some healthier choices for your tailgating party.
If you are having steak, marinate it the night before so that its tender and flavorful. You can cover the steak in salt, pepper, and olive oil overnight. A tailgating party is not complete without some BBQ chicken. When selecting the type of chicken, choose cuts that are skinless. The skin is where most of the fat is so select a leaner cut. Avoid sugary sauces and try instead smokey mesquite barbecue sauces with less sugar.
A lean lamb kabob with vegetables is also a tasty alternative to steak. You can add a mustard and thyme marinade to keep the meat juicy on the grill. We can’t forget the traditional hamburgers and hot dogs. Choose ground sirloin to make your burgers rather than regular ground beef. Sirloin has much less fat and tastes just as good. Always use whole grain buns to stay on the healthy side. Also, choose low fat hot dogs instead of regular hot dogs. For your vegetarian lover, try grilled Salmon Steaks with lemon juice.
Try Turkey Brats instead of Pork Bratwurts. The difference is 450 calories and 37 grams of fat for the pork, versus 160 calories and 9 grams of fat for turkey. You could also offer chicken sandwiches instead of burgers. A 6 oz angus beef patty yields 500 calories and 43 grams of fat, whereas a 6 oz grilled chicken breast is only 281 calories at 6 grams of fat. Every bit counts when your watching your weight or simply want to eat healthier.
Providing healthier choices for snacks and appetizers can be a little tricky. There are many brands of chips that offer a baked versions. Baked Lays, Corn Chips, or Baked Doritos are a healthier selection than the regular fried versions. Try a fresh or store bought salsa for the dip, instead of a ranch dip or onion dip. If you’re really brave, offer the traditional veggie tray filled with options such as carrots, celery, raw broccoli, tomatoes and cut green and red peppers. All are much better for dipping than chips.
Healthy Living Editor, MCCN