Healthy Tailgating Tips

Share this:

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the start of FOOTBALL SEASON! Yes, it’s time to put on your school colors or favorite player jerseys and head to locations near and far to show your love and support for your favorite team. With all this excitement, don’t let the culinary temptations of tailgate parties derail all the progress you made this summer. Just because you will start adding layers of clothing, doesn’t mean you have to add inches to your waistline. Here are some tips and healthy recipes to keep you on track this football season.


  • If you don’t have time to prepare a dish and you are stopping by the store on the way, pick up a fruit and veggie tray instead of chicken wings or potato chips. It’s doubtful you will be the only one that will appreciate a healthy option.
  • Most dips at parties are loaded with cream cheese or sour cream. When dipping, stick to salsa whenever possible. If making a dip, substitute sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.
  • For a burger and hot dog alternative, bring your own chicken or lean steak to throw on the grill.
  • For a healthier alternative to the salty crunch of potato chips, try lightly buttered and salted popcorn.
  • Be prepared for the sweet tooth craving; put together a fruit tray (apples, berries, melon, & grapes). You can also slice up some pineapple or peaches and throw them on the grill. The natural sugars caramelize, making them delicious.
  • Stay active! Throw a football or take walks around campus. If you have time and space, organize a touch football game. If you don’t want to work up a sweat, simply spend more time standing than seated.
  • If drinking alcoholic beverages, try a 1:1 rotation. Follow every alcoholic drink with 8 – 12oz. of water. It will help you stay hydrated and keep you from drinking as many alcoholic drinks throughout the course of the day.


Buffalo Hummus Dip – Adjust the heat level to your liking!


  • 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1/3 cup of tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 cup of buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup of water


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Serve with pita chips or veggies.

Fresh Homemade Salsa – Quick and Delicious


  • 2 – 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of Rotel tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1-2 fresh jalapenos (1 for medium hot, 2 for hot – remove all seeds)
  • 1-2 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Serve as a condiment or with tortilla chips.

Mexican 3 Bean Salad – Protein Packed!


  • 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 15 oz. can of black eyed peas
  • 1 ½ cups of frozen & peeled edamame, thawed
  • 1 ½ cups of Fresh Homemade Salsa (see above)


  1. In a colander, rinse and drain black beans and black-eyed peas.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl. Add thawed edamame and salsa. Stir until blended.

Bell Pepper Chicken Nachos – A Healthy Alternative to a Tailgate Favorite!


  • 4 bell peppers, any color
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup of pre-made salsa or Quick Homemade Salsa
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add green onion & garlic and saute for 2 minutes.
  3. Add shredded chicken and chili powder. Toss until all ingredients are covered with chili powder and the chicken is warm.
  4. Remove from heat. Add salsa, sliced olives, salt & pepper to taste. Stir well and set aside.
  5. Cut the bell peppers into 2 inch pieces and remove the seeds. Press each piece open so the peppers are as flat as possible. Arrange close together in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
  6. Spoon the chicken mixture evenly into the pepper pieces. Top with cheddar cheese.
  7. Bake for 15 minute or until the cheese has melted.
  8. Remove from oven and top with chopped fresh cilantro.
Share this:

About Elisabeth Fouts

Elisabeth is the Education & Content Manager for Power Systems. She has served the fitness industry for over 15 years has a wide variety of experience from personal training and group fitness instruction to health club membership sales and fitness management. She joined Team Power Systems as Education Coordinator in 2015 and has since produced and co-authored educational content for live and virtual training sessions both internally for staff training and externally for industry educational organizations across the United States. Elisabeth holds a B.S. in Education & Exercise Science and is a certified fitness instructor with ACE and Les Mills.