Fall is football season, and what does football season mean?! It means it is time to bring out the tailgating gear. Tailgating is meant to be a fun event shared with family and friends, but there are steps we can take to make sure we are adequately prepared the day of the big event to alleviate stress, over-indulging, and food safety concerns.
Let’s Prepare Ahead
- Prepare your food the night before and place in Tupperware containers
- Marinade kebabs/chicken overnight
- Shape or pack up burger patties between sheets of wax paper
- Cup up veggies/fruit
- Make the dip and gather dipping items
- Freeze water bottles the night before, they can be used in place of ice until they melt
- Bring a pre-packed set of drawers so everything is handy and organized while you’re cooking
- Designate and label drawers: One for napkins, plates and utensils; one for koozies and bottle openers and cups; one for SPF and insect repellant, etc.
Food Safety Tidbits
- Use an empty laundry detergent dispenser as a hand-washing station.
- Hang a paper towel roll using a bungee cord from the tent struts.
- Keep coolers out of the sun, perhaps under a tree
- Do not leave food unrefrigerated for more than two hours. In hot weather (90 degrees or above), the time limit is 1 hour
- Bring a thermometer to ensure your cold food is staying below 40F and your grilled food is cooked to an appropriate internal temperature
Navigating the Tailgate Table
- Before the festivities begin, have a small snack that contains protein and fiber so you’ll be less tempted to overeat
- Don’t SKIP meals before to save room!
- Eat from a plate instead of continually grazing from the buffet. This will help you keep track of how much you’re eating
- Offer to bring fresh fruits or veggies. This way you know there will be something healthy offered
- For every alcoholic beverage you have, match it with the same amount of water. This will slow down your intake and help you keep track of how much you are drinking
Remember moderation is key. Go ahead and indulge a bit, but make sure it is not an every weekend occurrence