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Lighten your load: Have a healthy tailgate with your favorite foods

Last week we told you how to pack for your tailgating party. Now it’s time to discuss creating a healthy tailgating menu.

Just because you’re tailgating doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy. With small changes, you can cut calories and fat without losing the flavor or sense of fun.

Most people love to load up on carb- and calorie-dense foods while tailgating, but protein- and fiber-rich foods will keep you full longer. Plan your meal around a protein: chicken, extra lean ground beef, chicken sausage and pork are all good, lower-fat options. For vegetarians, beans and tofu are an excellent source of protein.

Consider grilling the meat, which renders out fat and allows it to drip away. If you’re making sandwiches, use whole wheat buns and don’t forget to top it off with one of our delicious condiments, all of which are MSG and gluten-free with reduced fat and sugar.

Once you’ve chosen your protein, plan side items. For those who love chips and dip, skip the queso, which can pack a whopping 300 calories per half cup. Instead, use a Smokin’ Texas Gourmet salsa or make your own by combining a jar of salsa, black beans and corn. Guacamole, which is loaded with healthy fats, is also a great option. For the tortilla chips, we sell a gluten-free variety that is excellent for dips, nachos or snacking solo.

Other great side items include vegetable kabobs, a salad or vegetable tray with dip. For the vegetable kabobs, use zucchini, cherry tomatoes, onions and summer squash. Season the vegetables with our garlic, salt and pepper prior to grilling and the flavors will really pop. The salad or vegetable tray should include a nice variety of vegetables. Make sure you include broccoli for an extra dose of fiber!

For the vegetable tray, whip up a spicy ranch by combining one of our pepper sauces (we recommend Smokin’ Chipotle) with your favorite low-fat ranch dressing. Get your buffalo wing fix by combining our Texas Twister with low-fat blue cheese dressing. Serve it with celery sticks and you’ll save more than 1,000 calories-the amount in a small order of chicken wings.

Do you have some healthy tailgating recipes? Share them with us in the comments below. Make sure to include your name with the recipe and we’ll add it onto our STG products page!

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