Football season is in full swing. Tailgating is as much an event as the game itself – whether you are there in person or having people over to your house to watch. Children can take part in the festivities and with a little bit of planning, can add to the game-day fun while still keeping with your family’s health goals. Here are three tips to tailgate the child-friendly way:
Get moving! Tailgating is the perfect time to encourage family physical activity and it can keep both children and adults busy so they don’t spend the whole time at the buffet table. Playing your own game of football toss is a natural choice. Cornhole is another popular game that is fun for both children and adults. The whole point is to get everyone moving and having fun at the same time.
Think Child-Friendly Finger Foods. Of course food is usually the star of a tailgate. Keep it simple with finger foods that are easy for children to grab-and-go, yet healthy at the same time. Here are some ideas:
a) Apples with peanut butter pumpkin dip – Take advantage of apples being at the peak of their season right now. And while Halloween may be over, pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that boasts good vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber and is low in calories. Paired with peanut butter, this is a great protein-packed snack and one tasty treat. * If your family has a nut allergy, use sunflower butter or soy butter instead of peanut butter.
b) Zucchini Pizza Bites – Vegetables are one of the more difficult food groups to add to a tailgate buffet, but with these fun pizza bites where zucchini rounds sub in for pizza crust, your children will forget they are healthy too! Get your children involved in helping make their own with their favorite toppings. These are great on the grill or in the oven.
c) Buffalo Chicken Kabobs – Hot wings are a favorite tailgating food for many but because they are typically fried they aren’t the best choice. You can marinate chicken breasts with some mild hot sauce and a touch of blue cheese dressing, then throw them on the grill. Go ahead and add the celery too, which has a great smoky flavor when it is grilled. If spicy isn’t your child’s thing then use barbecue sauce instead.
d) White Bean Blondies – Pureed garbanzo beans and a little bit of oats substitute for flour in these surprising treats. It is the perfect solution for those who have a gluten sensitivity or are looking for a fiber boost to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Ditch the sugary sodas and shiny juice-like pouches. Have your children help make their own sparkling drinks such as mixing an all-natural flavored seltzer water with a favorite 100% fruit juice. Garnish with frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.
Happy tailgating! What are your family’s favorite tailgating traditions?