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Win big with a healthy tailgate

September 14, 2011
By Cheri Mathiowetz , Marshall Independent

Are you ready for some football? Many fans are more than ready this time of year, and what is a football game without the proper tailgate? This season, take your staple dishes and change the lineup to score some healthy points with your fans!

The switcheroo

Chili - Try substituting ground turkey breast for hamburger, and load up on vegetables and beans. You will be surprised how much flavor carrots, zucchini, onions, and potatoes can add to your chili dish.

Pizza - Don't order out; grill your own pizza! This gives you control of the ingredients and adds some fun! In advance, chop up tomatoes, onions, green and red bell peppers. Personalize the pizza with your favorites like mushrooms or olives. Have shredded cheese and a whole-wheat crust ready to go. Try turkey pepperoni to save some fat and calories!

Salsa - Whether you make your own or head to the store, salsa has less fat content and lower calories than cheese dip. Pair salsa with a baked corn chip.

MyPlate at Your tailgate

Utilize the USDA's MyPlate tool as your playbook when planning to keep half your tailgate full of fruits and vegetables. Grab produce that matches your team colors for a more spirited twist!

Finger foods - Many fruits and vegetables can be prepared to be easy grabs and perfect for tailgating. Prewash and chop produce before heading to the big game.

Kabobs - Get creative and let the kids design their perfect lunch on a stick! Keep the kabobs vegetarian or add some meat before throwing them on the grill. Try pineapple chunks with chicken and peppers for a Hawaiian twist.

Griller trays - Throw together a perfect medley of vegetables or pick one up at your local grocery store to throw on the grill.

MVP - Greek yogurt

Stay ahead of the game and make Greek yogurt the most valuable player at your tailgate. Instead of throwing old-fashioned sour cream chip dips into the cooler, mix up plain Greek yogurt and taco seasoning ahead of time to score a lower-calorie and protein-packed dip. Also try stuffing your twice-baked potatoes with Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Remember, many of your basic recipes have ingredients in them that can be traded for healthier options, making the overall dish a little more nutritious. Stay alert and keep your eyes open for possible recipe changes to win the game!

Southwestern Layered Bean Dip

12 servings, about 1/2 cup each

Time: 20 minutes

All you need:

1 16-ounce can nonfat refried beans, preferably "spicy"

1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed

4 scallions, sliced

1/2 cup prepared salsa

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 cup pickled jalapeo slices, chopped

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack, or Cheddar cheese

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 medium avocado, chopped

All you do:

1. Combine refried beans, black beans, scallions, salsa, cumin, chili powder and jalapeos in a medium bowl. Transfer to a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish; sprinkle with cheese.

2. Microwave on high until the cheese is melted and the beans are hot, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Spread sour cream evenly over the hot bean mixture, then scatter with lettuce, tomato and avocado.

Make ahead tip: Prepare through Step 1, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. To serve, continue with Steps 2 and 3.

Nutrition Per serving: 146 calories; 7g fat (3g sat, 3g mono ); 12mg cholesterol; 15g carbohydrates; 7g protein; 5g fiber; 288mg sodium; 164mg potassium. Vitamin A and Vitamin C (15% DV).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 very lean meat, 1 fat



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