Healthy Tailgating Options - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on March 24, 2014

Healthy Tailgating Options

The baseball season is here, which to many means gathering with family and friends to tailgate at Miller Park. Whether you’re a baseball fan or not, tailgating festivities can be a lot of fun. But before you fire up the grill you might want to consider ways to enjoy a tasty, leaner cookout.

Registered Dietitian Julie Haase, MS, RD, CD, offers some nutrition tips that can help you select wiser choices for your next tailgate:

  • Replace high-fat hamburgers. Hamburgers are generally made with high fat beef. Instead, replace with a turkey burger, bison burger, chicken breast or veggie burger. If you’re married to hamburgers go with ground sirloin. It doesn’t get any leaner in the beef world than tenderloin.
  • Ditch high-fat hot dogs, brats and sausages. Instead, choose lean sausages and brats made with chicken and or turkey for full flavor with up to 70% less fat than “regular” beef/pork products.
  • Watch your portions. A handful of most potato chips are on average about 150 calories. Better selections are baked chips instead of fried chips. Veggie crisps or Kale chips are a healthful option.
  • Lose calorie-laden side dishes such as full fat macaroni and potato salad. Instead, choose a grilled vegetable (zucchini, red pepper, portabella mushrooms). Load up on the veggies to fill up without filling out. Make foil packets of your favorite veggies and place on the grill for 15-20 minutes. Asian slaw or vinegar and olive oil based coleslaw are also good choices as they are prepared without the calorie and fat load of mayo. These also offer the additional benefit of nutrient-dense cancer fighting cabbage. If you really desire pasta, choose pasta salads that are made with a little bit of oil and vinegar and veggies.

Don’t Forget About the Fruits and Veggies!

A fresh fruit bowl is always a hit. The colors really pop on the plate and balance out the meal. 

One cup of fresh fruit is 40-80 calories, depending on what you make it with. All berries are fabulous, as they are loaded with fiber, vitamins A, C and E, and folic acid and selenium.

For endless nibbling, a fresh vegetable is always welcome. Just keep the dips to a minimum. Hummus is a good choice instead ranch dip. Hummus is a popular chickpea dip consumed in just about all Middle Eastern countries. It is high in fiber because of the chickpeas, and has no cholesterol.

While you’re inside the park, bring some shelled peanuts to munch on and don’t forget to take a walk around the park to burn off all of the calories!

Check out our healthy recipes library for great heart-healthy, diabetic, vegetarian and other options you'll love!

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Healthy Tailgating Options