Healthy eating at a football tailgate can be quite a challenge. Getting together pre-game typically involves overindulging in rich food and downing quite a few beers.

Is healthy eating possible at a tailgate? It is possible, but don’t try anything too radical. Take a tasty indulgent dish and lighten it up a bit to make it a healthier preparation. Trust me, your tailgating friends won’t even notice.

Is Healthy Eating Possible at a Tailgate?

Is healthy eating a realistic possibility at a pre-game get-together? During football season, tailgate parties are a great way to socialize with friends and pump yourself up for the game.

As soon as football season starts, fans across the country start gearing up for one of the best things about going to a game, tailgating. A tradition that has been going on for generations, tailgating is a fun and unique experience that turns going to a football game into an all-day event.

Every tailgate party is unique and special in its own way but the foundation to any good tailgate starts with the food and it’s usually not healthy food. There are countless options of food possibilities for people to enjoy before a game but there are certain favorites that can be found at almost every tailgate party.


Here are the typical Top 10 Tailgating Foods:


• Hamburgers
• Hot Dogs
• Sausage
• Nachos
• Chicken Wings
• Steak
• Pulled Pork
• Chili
• Ribs
• Potato Salad/Coleslaw


Here’s How to Do Healthy Eating at a Tailgate Party


Here’s one idea for healthy eating that fits in with traditional tailgating fare. It’s a lightened up version of a Southern classic.

This recipe is a favorite of the ESPN College GameDay crew. It is a tribute to James Beard award-winning chef John Currence, owner of the iconic Oxford Mississippi restaurant City Grocery Restaurant.


Healthy Tailgating: Shrimp and Grits Recipe



• 3 cups water
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 3/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
• 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)
• 5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
• 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
• 2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
• 1 cup chopped white onion
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 (8-ounce) package pre-sliced mushrooms
• 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1/4 cup half-and-half
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
• 1/3 cup chopped green onions


1. Bring 3 cups water and butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Whisk in grits; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; cover. Keep warm.
3. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.
4. Add white onion, garlic, and mushrooms to pan; cook 8 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown and give off liquid, stirring frequently.
5. Add shrimp and red pepper; cook 3 minutes. Combine half-and-half and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
6. Add broth, flour mixture, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper to pan; bring to a boil.
7. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
8. Top with green onions. Serve shrimp mixture with grits.

Click here for full this recipe to trying for healthy eating at your next tailgate party.