Tackle Your Tailgate: Eating healthy

Your next tailgate can be tasty and also healthy.

Fall means football and with football comes a great tailgate.

What if you could enjoy the ritual of tailgating without all the greasy foods? Marie Spano is a sports dietitian and she has ideas for tailgating that are tasty and nutritious. 

First up, chips and veggies with hummus. Add some color to your tailgate with a homemade hummus and bean chips.

Next, try some cheese and pistachios. No matter how you crack them, these nuts are tasty and there are even some new flavors, including sweet chili.  

Wings are a staple of every great tailgate, but they do not have to be fried to get the job done. Grab some refrigerated, not frozen, wings and pop them in the oven. Finish them off with your favorite sauce. 

Finally, you have to have a sweet treat. Gluten free pumpkin spice cupcakes need very little sugar to stratify your sweet tooth.

You can find Marie at mariespano.com


Greek Yogurt Hummus



1 cup sesame seeds (roasted or raw)

3 Tbsp. light olive oil or grapeseed oil


½ cup Greek yogurt

1 (15.5) ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

¼ cup chopped bell peppers


3 Tbsp. feta cheese

3 Tbsp. chopped red bell peppers



1.    Place sesame seeds and olive or grapeseed oil in a high powered blender or food processor and mix until creamy.

2.    Add garbanzo beans, lemon juice, garlic, salt and bell peppers to the blender or food processor. Mix thoroughly. Add ¼ cup Greek yogurt and mix throughout. Add remaining Greek yogurt a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

3.    Place comments in a serving dish and top with feta and chopped red bell peppers as desired.





Hot (or Mild) Wings


5 lbs. refrigerated chicken wings

3 Tbsp. of your favorite seasoning or rub

10-12 oz. of your favorite hot sauce



Turn one side of grill on medium heat. (If you want crispy wings, lightly brush your wings with a high heat oil, such as avocado or canola oil). Sprinkle seasoning on wings and place them on the side of the grill with the heat on. Constantly rotate the wings and bring them over to the non-heated side of the grill and close the grill lid so they are cooking but not in direct contact with heat. Continue to rotate until they are cooked throughout and golden brown, approximately 25-30 minutes. Heat your favorite hot sauce in a pan on the stovetop on low heat. Once hot move the wings directly from the grill to the saucepan with thongs and coat them thoroughly. Serve and enjoy!


If baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle seasoning on wings and place them in a 9” x 12” pan that has been lightly coated with cooking spray or oil. Bake until they are cooked throughout and golden brown, approximately 40 - 45 minutes. Heat your favorite hot sauce in a pan on the stovetop on low heat. Coat wings with hot sauce.




Pumpkin Muffins (gluten free)


1 cup gluten free all purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

2.5 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

4 Tbsp. oil

1 cup fresh pumpkin (or 1 cup canned)

½ cup evaporated milk

1 egg



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Cream together butter and brown sugar and add the egg and blend until smooth. Scoop 1 cup fresh pumpkin and puree in a food processor or Vitamix. Stir in evaporated milk until smooth and then mix with butter/brown sugar mixture. Add pumpkin pie spice, baking powder. Blend in flour. Pour batter into muffin cups or nonstick muffin pan sprayed with cooking spray until ½ full. Bake, in preheated oven for 18 – 30 minutes. Once completely cooled, pipe football lines on top with ready-made decorating icing.


Copyright 2016 WCNC


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