Carolinas HealthCare System
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Tailgating Tips and Tasty Recipes for Weekend Football

One of the best parts about football season is enjoying the pre-game parties and delicious foods. But if you’re worried about scoring too many calories, try some of these healthier updates to game day favorites. With a little planning, there's no reason a tailgate picnic has to sideline your weight loss efforts. Whether you’re taking your game day party on the road or hosting your own game day fest, these healthier recipes are certain to have you cheering!

Don’t forget these food safety tips when tailgating:

  • Don't use a cooler that's too large. A full cooler will keep foods cold longer.
  • Seal properly and place raw meat at the bottom of the cooler to avoid drips and cross-contamination
  • Pack coolers just before you leave for the game, and use ice packs to maintain temperatures
  • Use a thermometer in your cooler to be sure foods stay at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Keep coolers out of the sun
  • Bring waterless hand sanitizer or moistened towelettes to keep hands clean
  • Bring a meat thermometer to ensure that burgers and brats are cooked to 160 degrees and chicken breasts to 170 degrees
  • Throw away perishable foods that are left from your pre-game picnic so no one will be tempted to eat them after the game
  • Do not leave food unrefrigerated for more than two hours. In hot weather (90 degrees or above), the time limit is one hour

3 Awesome Game-day Dips

Zesty Guacomole Dip

Ingredients: (servings 4)
3 avocados - mashed
1 lime, juiced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 Plum tomatoes, diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 pinch ground cayenne pepper, optional

Instructions: In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper and cumin powder. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor

Black Bean Hummus

Ingredients: (serves 8)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can black beans; drain and reserve liquid
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

Instructions: Add to the food processor; 2 tablespoons reserved liquid, minced garlic, black beans, lemon juice, tahini, cumin, salt, and cayenne pepper; process until smooth. Add additional seasoning and liquid to taste. Garnish with cilantro and paprika.

Mango, Corn and Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients: (servings 6)
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 (15oz) cans black beans, rinsed, drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 avocado, mashed
1 small mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, optional

Instructions: Mix lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper in a small bowl. In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro. Whisk lime dressing, and pour it over the salad, toss well.