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September 18, 2013

FREEHILL: Win big with a healthy tailgate

Are you ready for some football? Many fans are more than ready this time of year, and what is a football game without the proper tailgate? This season, take your staple dishes and change the lineup to score some healthy points with your fans.

The Switcheroo

• Soup — Instead of creamy soups, how about chili made with beans and lean ground beef or turkey? Also, load up on vegetables. You will be surprised how much flavor carrots, zucchini and potatoes can add to your chili dish.

• Pizza — Don’t order out; grill your own pizza. This gives you control of the ingredients and adds some fun. In advance, chop up tomatoes, onions and green and red bell peppers. Personalize the pizza with your favorites like mushrooms or olives. Have shredded cheese and a whole-wheat crust ready to go. Try Canadian bacon for a leaner protein option.

• Salsa — Whether you make your own or head to the store, salsa has less fat content and fewer calories than cheese dip. Choose a baked corn chip to complement.

MyPlate at your tailgate

Use the USDA’s MyPlate tool as your playbook when planning to keep half your tailgate full of fruits and vegetables. Grab produce that matches your team colors for a more spirited twist.

• Kabobs — Get creative and let the kids design their perfect lunch on a stick. Try pineapple chunks with chicken and peppers for a Hawaiian twist.

• Griller Trays — Throw together a perfect medley of vegetables or pick one up at your local grocery store to throw on the grill.

MVP — Greek Yogurt

Stay ahead of the game and make Greek yogurt the most valuable player at your tailgate. Try mixing plain nonfat Greek yogurt and taco seasoning ahead of time, to score a lower-calorie and protein-packed dip.

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