Top Three Tailgating Recipes

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September means a few things to people.  First, school and fall activities have started and our summer schedules are no more.  Second, the beginning of fall and, for many, this means football!  High school, pop warner, middle school, college, and the NFL all start to hit full swing in early September.

With football comes tailgating, often a dieter’s worst nightmare!  Fried food, chips, brats, brownies, cookies, dips, and booze!  You can’t forget the booze.   Many a fitness enthusiast has had their goals sabotaged by an old fashioned tailgate with friends and family.

Tailgating doesn’t have to ruin your progress.  It is up to you to make the choices that support your goals and if you are able you can bring some healthy options to make sure you are able to stay on track.

Eating well doesn’t have to be miserable!

Here are the top three recipes to keep you on track when tailgating this fall:

1)      Uses Hot Sauce (Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is our preferred choice) to create a buffalo chicken recipe that is killer!   Marinate some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in as much sauce as you wish. Leave them in the fridge in a bowl to soak for about 3 hours before grilling.  You can cook the whole breast or cut into strips or pieces for a boneless wing feel.   Grill the chicken until cooked completely and enjoy.    There is nothing remotely unhealthy about this snack.

If you want to turn them into wraps, feel free to grab some low carb tortilla wraps or whole wheat wraps and roll up the strips and cut the wraps in half.  You can add spinach and some blue cheese crumbles to really make it fancy!

2)      If you need something crispy, crunchy, and healthy the following guacamole and pita chip recipe is great tasting and easy on the waistline.


2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

2 Tbsp. Limejuice

1/8 tsp. Salt

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup onions

1 cup cored chopped tomatoes

¼ tsp. Minced garlic

¼ tsp. Hot pepper sauce (optional)


In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with the lime juice and salt. Stir in the cilantro, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and hot-pepper sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Pita chips: Cut a whole wheat pita open and cut into triangular wedges.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes or until crisp.

3)      When it gets a little cold nothing beats a warm bowl of chili before an afternoon or evening football game.  Here is a great healthy chili recipe that everyone will love!


5 Tbsp EVOO

1 white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 turkey breasts, cubed

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp chipotle powder

2 Tbsp paprika

1 ¾ cups crushed tomatoes

½ lb sun-dried tomatoes rehydrated and sliced

4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cups rinsed, uncooked brown rice

4 cups chicken stock

2lb pumpkin peeled, seeded and cubed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup chopped cilantro


Coat the bottom of a large stockpot with 3 Tbsp oil and heat it on medium?high.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.  Add the turkey, oregano, cumin, chipotle powder, and paprika. Cook until the turkey browns. Add the tomatoes, sun?dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, rice and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Then simmer for 40 minutes.

In a separate bowl, toss the pumpkin cubes with 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper, cocoa powder, and half of the chopped cilantro. Spread the cubes on a baking pan and bake them at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes. Add the cooked pumpkin mixture to the chili pot with some salt and pepper and the remaining cilantro.

Those are 3 recipes that you can use at your upcoming tailgates to ensure that it is a hit with your friends, but not a hit on your waistline!

One thing to remember is that you are at the game and tailgate to have fun, so you don’t have to be perfect.  It is fine to let loose, eat some tasty food, and even have a few beers if you wish.

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  • Angie Albertson

    I made the buffalo chicken wrap tonight and it is FANTASTIC!! I used chicken breast tenderloin strips (these are so tender), spinach, blue cheese crumbles, about 1 teaspoon of light ranch dressing, and added roma tomato to the recipe. Gotta try it!

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