Somehow, August is already coming to a close, and the College Football Season is here again! Can’t say I’m sad to be back in the world of tailgates and rooting for our alma maters, but I can say I haven’t missed traditional tailgating food. Store-bought buffalo wings, frozen hamburger patties, and bags of chips really aren’t my jam for feeling good and enjoying a day. With that in mind, as the season kicks off this weekend, consider bringing one (or all!) of these healthy tailgating recipes to your next football game – whether it is college, high school, or the NFL.
There are three things these healthy tailgating recipes have in common: they are high in protein, don’t have simple carbohydrates, and include a healthy fat source. This is in contrast to the normal array of fried, quickly digesting, and low protein options you’ll often see on the fold out tables at tailgates. They’re also all easy to make, travel well, and don’t have to be extremely hot to enjoy. So, if you don’t have a grill, don’t sweat it. Prepare these before you go, and enjoy on game day, hassle free.
Healthy Tailgating Recipes:
1. Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce:
I know what you’re thinking, “how are chicken skewers easy?” But give it a chance, and you’ll see. The issue with skewering most food is that it is cut into too many pieces, and you have to thread it on tons of sticks. With this style of skewer, it is easier than that. Here’s what you need:
- 1 lb. Chicken Breast, cut long ways into strips
- Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, and Cumin Powder (to taste on each)
- 2 T Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 C Natural Peanut Butter
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 T Neutral Oil, such as avocado
- Heat your grill or pan to medium high heat. First, skewer each chicken slice onto one stick. Then, season the chicken with the spices, and cook for 4-6 minutes per side, until cooked through. Set into the dish you’ll bring to the game.
- For the peanut sauce, in a small pan, melt the peanut butter with the coconut aminos, garlic powder, and oil. Whisk to combine and allow to heat until everything is nicely melted together. Taste for salt/seasoning, and remove to heat safe bowl.
- When serving, dunk the chicken into the peanut sauce, and try and say a chicken wing is better. You won’t.
2. Protein Oatmeal Bake:
If you’ve been to a southern football tailgate, you know that the noon kickoff means you’ll be at the stadium before 8:00 am. For some people, I’m guessing the chips and dip taste good at that time. For me, I’m a fan of “breakfast food,” so I’m looking for some eggs or oatmeal. Eggs don’t travel well, but oatmeal does. Thanks to this recipe from the Macro Chef, you can get your protein and oatmeal at the same time.
- 2½ Cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal
- 2 servings Vanilla Whey Protein (or vegan protein)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk (I used almond, but whatever you prefer is fine)
- 2 Whole Eggs
- 6 T Agave Nectar (or Honey)
- ¼ C Coconut Oil, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 C Frozen Berries (any berries are fine, I like to use the mixed berries)
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the protein powder of your choosing with the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In another bowl, mix the milk, agave or honey, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir to just combine. Don’t over mix.
- Slowly pour in the coconut oil and mix to combine with other ingredients. Then, add the mixed berries and lightly stir to combine with other ingredients.
- Pour batter into a greased 9×13 pan, and bake for approximately 35 minutes. You can also bake in muffin tins, but start to check for doneness around 25-30 minutes!
You can make these well ahead of time, store, and bring to the tailgate with you to enjoy in the morning!
3. Protein Ice Cream
In September, and in many places into October, football season still feels a lot like summer. It is hot. You are outside. You see the concession stands with the lemon ice’s and ice cream sandwiches…your nutrition takes a major back seat. We’re big fans of enjoying life, but don’t let it be an every-time-you’re-tempted thing. This extremely simple “ice cream” with only 5 ingredients (if you count the ice) is absolutely delicious, and after freezing can be stored in a cooler for up to 3 hours. Sounds like the perfect treat before walking into the game.
- 1 Large, Frozen Banana (put it in the freezer after it has a lot of brown dots. Peel first.)
- 1 Scoops favorite Protein Powder
- 2 T Natural Nut Butter
- 1/3-1/2 C Milk of choice
- 1 Handful Ice
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or Nutribullet.
- Blend until all the ice is completely combined, and the banana has fully blended.
- Freeze until solid, and then pack into the coldest part of your cooler. Devour like you’re 5 at the swimming pool again.
There you have it. 3 completely different, healthy tailgating recipes for your next big tailgate event. And don’t feel confined to using these just AT the tailgate. If you are having a cookout at home, these work just as well for that event, too.