5 Tips for Smarter Tailgating

Sports events are synonymous with greasy food and alcohol, but tailgating doesn’t have to be a calorie disaster.
BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Rachel Ray's Shredded Saucy BBQ Chicken Sammies

Photo by: Teri Lyn Fisher

Teri Lyn Fisher

Between post-season baseball, high school and college sports, pro football and the beginning of hockey season, you've got plenty of chances to root for your favorite teams. Sports events are synonymous with greasy food and alcohol, but tailgating doesn’t have to be a calorie disaster.

Top 5 Tips

1. Hydrate: Calories from alcohol can add up fast; alternate drinks with water to cut those liquid calories in half.

2. Pre-Game: Eat a light meal before the festivities. “Saving calories” for later leads to overeating.

3. Avoid Penalties: Don’t be too hard on yourself –- take a look at the spread and choose the not-so-healthy foods that you REALLY want.

4. Play Clean: Bring along hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes if you won’t have easy access to a sink. If you're going to be handling raw meat for the parking lot BBQ, check out our cookout food safety tips.

5. Game Strategy: Even if you aren’t hosting the tailgate party, bring along a healthy option –- so at least one's available to you.

Can’t Miss Tailgating Treats

For any sports celebration, I opt for food that is easy to make and, most of all, easy to eat! Pass on the piles of fried foods and beer. Here are some classic tailgating recipes that are all Healthy Eats approved –- dessert included!

TELL US: What's your favorite tailgate treat?

Next Up

Best 5 Chicken Enchilada Recipes

Check out Food Network's top five chicken enchilada recipes, each a flavor-packed recipe that will wow the crowd at your weekend tailgate or big game bash.

Best 5 Baked Bean Recipes

We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five baked bean recipes — perfect on their own or on top of game-day classics.

Best 5 Family-Friendly Tailgate Recipes

Check out Food Network's top-five family-friendly tailgate recipes to find a mix of sweet and savory picks that are sure to win cheers from your guests.

5 Better Ways to Drink Beer on Game Day

Turn your favorite ale or lager into a celebratory game-day cocktail.

5 Fun Ways to Eat Chili on Game Day

Keep the whole team happy with these creative eats.

Game Day Across America

We asked chefs across the country for their favorite game-day recipes.

POLL: Tell Us How You Tailgate!

Take the poll below to share your tailgating tips, then pick up Food Network Magazine to see how your spread stacks up against the rest of America.

Super-Easy Dishes for a Crowd — Football Fare

Serve Food Network's easy sandwiches and slow-cooked recipes like macaroni and cheese, barbecue pulled pork and Italian party subs at your big game bash.

Related Pages