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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Healthier tailgating this football season

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Ask the Nutritionist: Healthier tailgating this football season

We have invited the National Restaurant Association’s Director of Food & Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., to regularly contribute news, tips and information on how American families can live a healthy lifestyle full of enjoyable food and beverage experiences. In this first installment, Joy helps adults and kids alike navigate healthfully through this season’s football tailgating events with easy-to-follow tips for cutting back calories and unhealthy fat, and increasing nutrient-rich foods in your diet. Also watch a video of Joy dishing up tips for restaurant operators on creating healthful kids’ menus, as part of the Association’s new Kids LiveWell program.

turkey sliders2.jpgBalance and moderation is key when it comes to enjoying your favorite foods, especially during football season with its tailgating parties and other sports-centered social events. Typically, if you follow a healthy diet 90 percent of the time, you can allow for 10 percent of “wiggle” room for more indulgent items.

Many food items commonly served at tailgate parties fall into that more indulgent category. But, there are ways you can make your tailgating healthier, by tweaking recipes or choosing different items. For example, adding choices of fruits and vegetables can be creative, fun, tasty and healthy.

Here are some tips to consider for your next tailgating event:

• Hot dogs – try uncured 100% beef hot dogs (no nitrites or nitrates). Veggie dogs are also good options.

• Choose thin, whole grain rolls, whole grain white or 100% wheat rolls versus plain, white rolls. Look for the word “whole” on the ingredient statement line to ensure you are getting a whole grain.

• Remove skin or trim fat from chicken. Try boneless buffalo wings or use chicken tenders as an option versus traditional wings.
      o BBQ chicken breasts
      o Make chicken breast kabobs – pair with your favorite vegetables (peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini)

• Choose lean ground beef (at least 93% lean) for hamburgers or chili. You may want to try making vegetarian chili as an option.

• Try bison or buffalo burgers which are leaner – sliders are a fun option too.

• For beef – choose lean cuts such as sirloin, eye round. Look for the word “loin” or “round” to indicate leaner cuts.

• Pasta salad could be made with whole grain wheat pasta with vegetables and a low fat vinagerette. For other salads olive oil reduced fat mayo could be used as a healthier alternative to regular mayo.

• Choose reduced fat cheese such as swiss for hamburger toppings.

• Make up a fruit and vegetable platter and serve with low fat dressing or dip.

• Grill fruits and vegetables – red, yellow, green peppers, onions, sweet potato chunks, zucchini, mushrooms, corn, tomatoes, peaches, pineapples.

• Serve hummus with pita chips (baked chips work too) and/or cut up vegetables.

• Serve bean dip (black beans, salsa, chopped veggies, and low fat sour cream) with guacamole and salsa. Edamame dip is another option.

• Serve munchies such as air popped popcorn, various nuts, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, trail mix.

• Dessert –
      o Colored low sugar jello with fruit (choose the colors of your favorite team)
      o Angel food cake with fruit
      o Low fat yogurt parfaits (fruit, yogurt, low fat granola)
      o Grilled fruit kabobs with low fat yogurt dip
      o Apple or peach cobbler

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