Healthy Tailgating

With the fall season comes tailgating season; a time for family, friends, food, and sports. Tailgating has become a major part of our culture and certain foods are associated with the tradition. Classic tailgate foods include burgers and hot dogs, fried food, soda, chips, alcoholic beverages, and salty snacks. While these foods are enjoyable in moderation, there are many healthy swaps that can be made for a more mindful, healthy tailgate that will promote longevity.  
Small changes make a big difference when it comes to nutrition. These changes eventually become a habit and may even influence other tailgaters to try new, nutrient-dense recipes. For those who follow the Longevity Diet, tailgating may be intimidating. The N4L team is here to help make tailgating exciting and healthy with some tips and ideas to promote longevity at your next tailgate.


Tailgate Tips: Entrees and Apps

Let's talk about healthy swaps. At N4L, we promote plant-based, pescatarian, and flexitarian dietary patterns. Many tailgate entrees include processed meat and dairy, but these ingredients can be simply swapped with some of our favorite N4L  ingredients. Proteins such as beef burgers or hot dogs can be swapped for grilled chicken breast or a fresh salmon burger. Opting for less processed meats will help decrease saturated fat and sodium, a key focus of the Longevity Diet. Appetizers no longer have to be the simple chip and dip duo; mixing in a fresh bean salad is a great, fiber-filled appetizer option to spice up your next tailgate. A roasted veggie platter or roasted veggie skewers featuring some of N4L’s favorites such as peppers, eggplant, and beets would also be a perfect appetizer swap that will likely decrease sodium intake compared to salty snack appetizers. 

Tailgate Tips: Healthier Drinks

Higher sodium tailgate snacks often lead to increased thirst, and many traditional tailgate beverages contain added sugar. According to the CDC, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is the leading source of added sugar in the American diet. Rather than reaching for a soda or sweetened beverage, grab some fruit-infused water, flavored seltzer, or low sodium bloody mary mix to quench your thirst. N4L’s Citrus Peach Brunch Punch is also a delicious drink option that can be easily adjusted to your preference and added to your tailgate menu.

Tailgate Tips: Sweet Treats

Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Fresh fruit salad is a nutritious swap for processed cookies or baked goods. Some of our fall favorites that are perfect for a nutritious dessert include apples, cranberries, and pears. To-go apple overnight oats are a simple recipe that can be added to your sweets list for your next tailgate. If you are looking for a healthier baked item, N4L is famous for its Double Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread. This recipe can be easily recreated and is a delicious sweet treat to add to your tailgate. 

Wrap Up

As you can see, swapping your traditional tailgate ingredients for more nutrient-dense items is fairly simple. Some main points to focus on are opting for less processed protein sources, having roasted or grilled vegetables to fill up on, and staying mindful about eating less nutrient-dense foods in moderation. 

The main goal of a tailgate is ultimately to have fun and enjoy the experience. So make swaps that work for you and your friends and don’t feel pressured to swap out every tailgate staple for something new. Choosing to embrace the Longevity Diet for your next tailgate will not only bring delicious flavor options to your menu, but also leave you and your guests feeling great about the antioxidants and brain and body benefits of longevity-inspired ingredients. So, why not make healthy tailgating a new tradition?