Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Nuts About Tailgating (And Healthy Snacking)!

Photos by OHventures

It's officially football season, and there's not many places more football crazed than Ohio! Being an Ohio State grad, I get my fair share of tailgating in before games. And, also being that we are the Buckeyes, we also get our fair share of being called "nuts" for rooting for our team so hardcore!

Each fall, Saturday after Saturday, year after year, we all gather together to imbibe in some celebratory food and drink. And it's pretty wild to think about just how many calories we have consumed over the years - those hot dogs and lagers sure add up! 

And just because we do a couple 5K races each month, and go on scenic hikes from time to time, there's no better way to be healthy than by changing up the way we snack - including on football Saturdays! 


The Healthy Tailgate is possible, thanks to Nuts.com! You don't have to fumble when it comes to your food choices on game day. Healthy snacks are one of the keys to diet success. Snacking can help to keep you full, balance blood sugar levels, provide energy between meals, and even boost overall nutrient intake. However, what you choose to snack on and how much you are snacking can really make a difference.

The infographic above shows some of the healthiest - and tastiest - snack choices you can make that are a "touchdown" when it comes to your health. These include popcorn, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, jerky, trail mix, and fruit & veggie chips. You can get all of these healthy snacks on Nuts.com!




Another awesome and nutritious tailgating snack is my very own homemade salsa! I have been making this fresh and delicious salsa for about 5 years, usually in late summer and early fall, once all of the tomatoes, onions, and peppers are harvested from my garden. The secret to my dish? Add lots of lime juice, a ton of cilantro, and a liberal heaping of minced garlic! See below for my personal salsa recipe you can wow your friends with at the next football tailgate:

MIKE'S FAMOUS SALSA 

  • ~ 5 tomatoes 
  • 2 white onions 
  • 1 green bell pepper 
  • 3-4 jalapenos (or more if you want it hotter) 
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper 
  • 1 bunch cilantro - chopped 
  • 1 jar of minced garlic (4.5 oz) 
  • lime juice 
  • salt 

De-core the tomatoes and peppers, peel the onions, and chop everything up real finely (I use my food processor from time to time). The ratio of each veggie varies by how much want to make. Add the entire jar of garlic, and add a great deal of salt to make sure it has a bold taste (but not so much so that it is still healthy, of course)!

Chili is also a great favorite throughout fall and football season. Everyone has their version of chili that they claim is the best - and I am no different. I have an award-winning chili recipe that I use year after year, which I will disclose below, as long as you tell them who gave you the recipe! The secret ingredients to make this one unique and (mostly) healthy? Sweet potatoes, jalapenos, and sriracha sauce!

MIKE'S AWARD WINNING CHILI
 
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef (or ground turkey to be extra healthy) 
  • 1 qt. crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can low sodium beef broth 
  • 2 white onions, diced 
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 sweet potato (yam), peeled & diced 
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (keep seeds for extra spice) 
  • 3 cans red kidney beans, drained 
  • 2 6 oz. cans of tomato paste

  • sriracha sauce (liberal) 
  • ground cayenne pepper (liberal) 
  • brown sugar (a dash) 
  • salt & pepper 
  • chili powder/chili seasoning 
  • 1 jar of minced garlic (4.5 oz)

  • 1 can Yuengling beer (or a similar beer) 
  • 5 strips of cooked and crumbled bacon (or turkey bacon to be healthier)

Brown the meat and add spices while cooking to your liking. Drain and add to crock pot. Add all of the items the top portion of the ingredients list. Stir, and then add all of the spices and seasonings on the middle portion of the ingredients list to your liking. Optional ingredients are in the bottom portion of the list. Cook in crock pot on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream.


And there you have it! Some simple ways to make your next tailgate a little bit healthier, thanks to Nuts.com and my very own kitchen! You (a very healthy you, by the way) can thank me later!

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