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Tasty Tailgating

Tasty Tailgating

by Health & Wellness Team - September 08, 2015

Tailgating is synonymous with fans, fun and food—lots and lots of food.

Much of the time, those tailgate feasts don’t feature the most healthful fare. But even in the midst of all the fun, good nutrition doesn’t have to go out the window.

Here are some tips for making those tailgate parties just a little more nutritious (but just as delicious).

Send in some substitutes. Try using lean ground turkey instead of beef in your chili. Use low-fat varieties of cheese, mayo and other condiments. Go for whole-wheat rolls and burger buns.

Revamp the lineup. Throw vegetable kebabs on the grill alongside the meat. Serve up skewers with chunks of pineapple, melon and strawberries for dessert. Add extra veggies or beans to salads, chili and other main dishes.

Keep calories on the sidelines. Offer up low or no-calorie drink options, such as sparkling water, lightly sweetened iced tea or (for cold days) hot chai tea.

Once you have your starting lineup for a healthy menu, plan for food safety too. Remember the “clean, separate, cook and chill” principle:

• Clean hands and surfaces often. Bring water with you if none is available where you plan to tailgate. Moist towelettes are great for cleaning hands and messes too.

• Separate raw meat from other foods. Keep it securely wrapped when transporting it. And keep cooked and ready-to-eat foods away from surfaces touched by raw meats.

• Cook foods to the proper temperature. Use a meat thermometer to be sure. Keep hot foods hot while transporting them, or chill them and reheat at your event.

• Chill food on ice in a cooler right after people have eaten, rather than letting it sit out during the whole game.

Try this refreshing salsa for your next tailgating party!

Orange and Black Bean Salsa – Makes 8 servings

1 navel orange
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
½ cup cilantro leaves (stems removed), finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon canola oil

• Grate 1 teaspoon of zest from the orange.
• Peel and section the orange, holding it over a medium bowl to reserve the juice. Chop the sections and place them, with all the juice collected, into the bowl.
• Add the beans, yellow pepper, jalapeño, cilantro and scallions.
• Whisk together the lime juice and oil in a small bowl. Mix it into the salsa, tossing with a fork to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Mix in the orange zest.
• Let the salsa stand 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to develop and meld.

This salsa keeps for 24 hours, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information
Amount per serving: 65 calories, 1g total fat (0g saturated fat), 11g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 4g dietary fiber, 166mg sodium.

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