Finally it’s football season. Looking for tasty dishes that won’t make you feel like a lineman yourself? Touchdown! Here are our favorite snacks, beverages and grill fare for the pregame festivities and beyond.
Gear: A portable grill, condiments, utensils, chairs, sunscreen and trash bags are a few must-have tailgating items. You also don’t want to break your back carrying a heavy cooler—opt for one on wheels with a handle like Igloo’s Marine UltraGlide 110. The Party Bar ice chest even lights up.
Stanley Adventure Vacuum Crock is a 3-quart, next-level thermos that can keep your World’s Best Chili hot or World’s Best Potato Salad cold; the large Master Series Vacuum Bottles will let you and your team revel in hot toddies, cocoa or spiced cider.
Food and Drinks: When it comes to healthy food and drinks, a few trades make for a winning play: swap out fried, salty snacks for baked ones or choose dishes with more nutritional value (such as baked sweet potato fries instead of regular ones); grill your meats (marinate the night before for an extra oomph of flavor) and substitute ground turkey and chicken for burgers and steak; add ample veggies to your kabobs; opt for salsa over mayo-based dips; and drop the sugary drinks and don’t forget to hydrate with plenty of water.
Beer of course is a favorite (if not the most popular drink) at a tailgate. California-based, award-winning Sufferfest Beer brews beer for those with an active lifestyle. For spirits, the new zero-sugar, carb-free Ketel One Botanicals are made without artificial flavors and come in essences of grapefruit and rose, and cucumber and mint. Add soda water, garnish and go.
Here are a few other game-day ideas:
Olive oil, 99% fat-free ground turkey, butternut squash, black beans and apple cider vinegar? Yes please. Find all of the ingredients and directions at the Food Network.
- Harissa Chicken Wings with Herbed Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- A marinade that includes Harissa chile paste, honey and rose water provides sublime spiciness, and a dipping sauce made with plain nonfat Greek yogurt makes this a healthy, high-scoring combination. Find all of the ingredients and directions at Confessions of a Foodie.
Bring the heat. Sriracha chile sauce and shishito peppers put this recipe in the big leagues of flavor. The added shiitake mushrooms and brown rice reach the goal line of keeping us satiated, at a lean 308 calories per serving. Ingredients and directions at Cooking Light.
Sometimes you want a side dish that’s a little tangier, crunchier and lighter than potato salad. The base of this simple recipe calls for one 16-ounce package of cabbage-and-carrot coleslaw. Ingredients and directions at myrecipes.com.
- A few other halftime-worthy, healthy options include Buffalo Chicken Flat Bread via Nutrition Starring You, Esquites Mexican Street Corn Saladvia Nutritioulicious, Mini Bell Pepper Nachos via Closet Cooking and Quinoa Vegetarian Chili Recipe at Daily Burn.
And if you’re craving a regular, full-on heart-attack-on-a-plate kind of splurge, dress up your ground beef (or lamb!) with aromatic bitters in Angostura Sliders.
Want to skip right to the good stuff without all the prep? Companies such as Drizly deliver alcohol and extras—including ice and barware. And remember, rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft eliminate the hassle of driving home post-game and get you there safely.