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Geaux get you some healthy tailgate food this football season

Geaux get you some healthy tailgate food this football season

Here in Louisiana, we love our football! Whether you’re a diehard LSU fan spending Saturdays in Tiger Stadium, a member of the Who Dat nation or both, you likely do your fair share of tailgating. Give your body the energy it needs to cheer on your team with some healthy tailgate food.

When you think of tailgating, certain foods probably come to mind—burgers, hot dogs, jambalaya, chips and dip, maybe finger foods like pigs in a blanket. It is possible, though, to add more health and nutrition to your tailgate party. Keep reading to find out what our LCMC Health team recommends.

Extreme makeover, tailgating edition

Put a healthy spin on your favorite tailgate foods and make them more nutrient-dense by choosing your ingredients wisely.

To give your burgers a healthy makeover, choose a less fatty version of grass-fed ground beef or use ground turkey. You can even replace the meat with a black bean or veggie patty. Then, put your burger on whole-grain buns for an extra dose of protein and fiber.

Want to serve up chips and dip? Blend up a dip using nonfat Greek yogurt as the base instead of sour cream. Some tailgating recipes for healthy dips include foods like Parmesan cheese for an extra zing of flavor. Serve fruits and veggies, such as bell pepper slices or cherry tomatoes, as the dippers. You’ll get all the flavor, plus extra vitamins. Homemade guacamole or hummus are two more healthy dip options.

Looking for something quick and easy? Peanut butter crackers might do the trick as a tailgating snack. Peanut butter contains healthy fats that can help keep you full longer.

Your game day menu probably also includes something sweet. Most desserts are loaded with unhealthy fat and added sugar. Watermelon travels well and is a sweet, hydrating treat. You can also toss your favorite summer fruit on the grill for an easy dessert.

Other tips to keep your tailgate safe and healthy

To keep yourself and other tailgaters safe and healthy, it’s important to take precautions when preparing, handling and storing food. Any time that food is eaten outdoors, an element of danger is thrown into the mix—and following food safety guidelines becomes even more important.

The LSU AgCenter offers some reminders about food safety basics when tailgating:

  • Wash, wash, wash your hands before handling or eating food.
  • Do prep work like washing and cutting fruits and vegetables or shaping burger patties at home, where it can be done easily and safely.
  • Keep raw food separate from cooked food as you transport food from home to the tailgate.
  • If grilling at your tailgate, use a food thermometer to ensure meat is cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature.
  • Prepared foods should be stored in an iced-down cooler (or a fridge) within two hours of serving when the temp is under 90 degrees or one hour when it’s hotter outside.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cool foods cool until eaten.
  • Store cold drinks in a separate cooler away from food so that the food cooler isn’t opened repeatedly, exposing meat and other foods to warm air.

The last thing anyone wants to get from a tailgate party is to be put on the bench with food poisoning! Take care when preparing and serving foods—and have fun at the game.

Wondering whether you’re healthy enough to handle the ups and downs of another football season? Schedule a primary care appointment with LCMC Health today to get in a checkup before the games begin!