Tips for Healthier Tailgating

The following Family & Consumer Science article printed in the Fall 2017 edition of the quarterly Oldham County Extension newsletter.

oldham county fall news

Healthier Tailgating

Football season is here! Across the state, many Kentuckians will mark the season by getting out their tastiest tailgating recipes and firing up the grill. Unfortunately, some tailgating favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and potato chips can cause you to pack on the pounds while cheering for your team. Consider the tips below to help you make healthier choices this season.

  • Include vegetables in the game plan. Cut them up and serve them with a low-fat dip or hummus. You can also grill them and serve as a side to your main course.
  • Grill leaner meats like ground turkey, pork or chicken breasts for main courses.
  • Choose water whenever possible. Alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages contain a lot of calories and won’t quench your thirst on those hot weekends that are typical of late summer and early fall.
  • Substitute fresh salsa and either pita bread or baked chips for nachos and cheese. Below is a Plate It Up recipe for a healthier salsa option.
  • Use lean beef or ground turkey to make chili.
  • Serve a fruit-based dessert like fruit kabobs or fruit salad.

More healthy recipes and ideas that use local ingredients are available through Plate It Up! Kentucky Proud, a partnership of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service and Kentucky Department of Agriculture. They are available online or by contacting the Oldham County Extension office.

healthy recipes

Cucumber, Corn and Bean Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large cucumbers
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh whole kernel corn, cooked
  • 1 ounce package dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, optional

Yield: Makes 20, ½-cup servings

Directions: Wash all vegetables. Finely chop cucumbers, tomatoes, pepper, and onion. Combine in a large mixing bowl with chopped cilantro. Drain and rinse beans and add to chopped vegetables. Add corn. If using canned corn instead of fresh, drain off liquid prior to adding to vegetables. In a small bowl, mix together ranch dressing packet, vinegar, and sugar. Pour dressing over vegetables and mix well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until chilled.

Nutritional Analysis: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 130 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 70% Daily Value of Vitamin C, 6% Daily Value of Vitamin A

Written by Janet Mullins, University of Kentucky Extension Professor. Edited by Lauren State Fernandez, Oldham County Extension Staff Assistant.

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