From the food to the fields to the fanatics, we've got everything you need for a healthier tailgating bash.
Prep Your Body
The Day Before: Work in 30 minutes of extra cardio and cut back on needless snacks to make up for all the calories you're about to ingest.
That Morning:Kick off your day with two eggs, a whole-grain English muffin, and a cup of blueberries. The protein and fiber will help keep you fuller longer, so you'll eat and drink less at the TG.
During the Game: Make sure at least one person in your car stays sober for the drive home. The rest of you can avoid a hangover by alternating beer with nonalcoholic drinks, like water or diet soda. Chew gum to keep from overindulging.
3.) WHIP UP THE TASTIEST (AND HEALTHIEST) GRUB POSSIBLE
Chips and Dip: Munch on baked chips and bean dip or hummus. To make a quick guacamole, mash together 2 ripe, pitted avocados; 3 tablespoons each of lemon juice, chopped tomato, and minced fresh cilantro; and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
Grilled Salmon:Place 2 pounds of salmon fillet, skin-side down, on a sheet of aluminum foil. Season with rosemary, a tablespoon of olive oil, slices of fresh lemon, and black pepper. Fold the foil together over the salmon, leaving an open space between the foil and the fillet. Seal the ends of the pouch. Place the pouch on the grill at medium-high heat; cover and cook for about 12–15 minutes or until flesh is opaque.
Meat-and-Vegetable Kebabs:Cut one pound of meat or chicken into 1-inch cubes, and marinate in a mixture of olive oil, crushed garlic, and dried basil and parsley. Make kebabs by alternately threading meat pieces with 1-inch pieces of red or yellow bell peppers and yellow summer squash and 3⁄4-inch wedges of red onion on six 12-inch metal skewers. Place kebabs in a container or wrap for later grilling.
Pulled-BBQ-Beef Sandwiches: In a slow cooker, combine one pound of flank steak with a bottle of barbecue sauce, coating steak well. Cover and cook on a high-heat setting for 7 hours. Remove steak, leaving the sauce. Shred meat with two forks. Return meat to cooker, and coat with sauce. Spoon mixture onto whole-grain hamburger buns. Top with sliced red onion, wrap in foil, and place in insulated bag.
Chili:Make chili at home with half the lean ground beef and twice the beans, and reheat in a heavy-duty aluminum pan on the grill. Serve as a main dish, or use to top reduced-fat hot dogs in whole-grain buns.
4.) JUST HAVE FUN
Tailgating Dos and Dont's
DO arrive extra early. "Everyone seems to be at the gate three or four hours beforehand," says Mark Solway, a die-hard Redskins fan and editor of TheHogs.net.
DON'T park without asking first. "You don't want to take somebody's spot who's been parking there for years," says Joe Cahn, who has been dubbed the commissioner of tailgating after 10 years of visiting every NFL and major college stadium. "Ask if that space is normally taken."
DO eat as the locals do. In some cities, it's best to leave the hot dogs at home. "San Diego has incredible Mexican food. When I'm in Kansas City, I barbecue. In New England, I eat lobster," says Cahn, who dispenses more invaluable fan tips at tailgating.com.
DON'T blast your music. We know $10,000 was a lot of dough to drop on that booming sound system, but save it for a Saturday night on the strip.
DO mingle. "Tailgating is like walking through a thousand backyards. Say hello and introduce yourself," says Cahn. "That starts a friendship." It'll probably land you a couple of cold ones and a bite to eat, too.
DON'T over-booze it. Nothing ruins a game-day appetite like the stench of someone plastered out of his grease-painted mind heaving up guacamole, hot dogs, chili, and Miller Lite.