October 25, 2014

Trim Your Tailgate!

Think outside the box (literally) when planning your next game-day soiree. Don’t serve the same old boring potato chips, pretzels, and pizza.  Here’s some tips to trim the fat and calories in your football favorites without sacrificing taste at your next tailgate!

~Let’s start with dips.  Everyone loves hot crab, creamy artichoke, French onion, and garden vegetable dips.  Instead of full-fat sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese, substitute low-fat or non-fat versions to cut the calorie content by more than half.  Once you mix in the crab, artichoke, or dip seasonings, no one will be able to discern the difference.

~Salsa and chips. A party staple, salsa and chips can be a healthy and tasty alternative to higher-calorie and fat-laden snacks.  Jarred salsa is an okay choice, but making your own from scratch is healthier, more flavorful and super easy (not to mention much lower in sodium) – check out my favorite recipe site www.eatingwell.com for some healthy and delish versions.  And don’t forget to pair it with multi-grain chips or better yet, baked ones.

~Meatballs are also a classic. Try 99% lean ground turkey this year instead of ground beef and/or pork to significantly reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol content. Or for the vegans in the bunch try triangles of tempeh or squares of tofu (dry sautee either until heated through and serve with a low-cal sesame ginger dressing – I like Annie’s brand – organic and all natural).

~Mind the mayo.  Did you know that full-fat mayo has 90 calories per TBSP to fat-free mayo’s 11? Yeah , but it doesn’t taste that great on its own you say…but like the low and non-fat dairy above, once you blend it in with other foods it’s deceptively delicious, for example, in pasta and potato salads.

~Get creative with the crudite.  I know you’re thinking people want pigs in a blanket and chile con queso, but trust me, guests go for the veggie tray.  And think outside baby carrots and broccoli. Try snow peas, strips of jicama, squash and zucchini rounds, asparagus spears, grape tomatoes, and fennel.

~Don’t forego fruit.  Just like the veggies, people WILL go for the healthy stuff, especially if served with something a bit naughty, i.e. Nutella.  Nutella is a hazelnut spread made with skim milk and cocoa that is simply sinful in small amounts and perfect paired with fresh fruit.  Or, try a low-fat vanilla yogurt blended with a bit of honey and cinnamon for a more angelic pairing.

For more healthy, crowd-pleasing ideas, become a fan of my business page on Facebook, Ideal Nutrition and Fitness LLC, and whip up some waist-whittling munchies before kick-off. Now that’s what I call a nutritional touchdown!