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Baseball and apple pie are integral pieces of traditional Americana, but when it comes to sports, you won't find a more rabble-rousing group (excluding, perhaps, Red Sox devotees) than football fans. And why not? Whether it's college or pro season, everyone's got their allegiances. The proof is on their DVR or in the 20 bucks they sunk into the office Super Bowl pool.
But the best part? Tailgating.
You don't need to know a snap from a lateral, the difference between a running back and a tight end, or how a two-point conversion works. All you need to do is show up in the parking lot with a side dish or a six-pack and get ready for some hatch-backed grilling. Thankfully, FITNESS has got you covered with lighter grill fare and snacking options, so you won't feel the need to turn down a helping of nachos. And as for the beer? Surprise -- it's actually (sort of) good for you.
Consider this tailgate party your official fitness kickoff. We'll be rooting for you!
Whatever meat you're craving, it's here -- complete with handy print-out shopping list!
Bacon melts deserve their own touchdown dance. Seriously.
Forget fried chicken fingers. With this baked homemade version, you'll get the same crunch with less fat and more fiber.
These Greek-inspired burgers have bulgur to bump up the fiber from your usual beef fare, and the cooling yogurt-dill sauce and cucumber ribbons balance out the black-pepper zip.
A mustard and thyme marinade keeps the meat juicy on the grill.
Mix and match your flavors with these three dips.
Hickory or apple wood chips and ground New Mexico red chili pepper give your typical barbecued chicken a kick.
From barbecue chicken chop salad to arugula-fennel salad with pear vinaigrette, bring a little class to the party. (Or at least balance out the fact that you're drinking Natty Light.)
Skip mayo-heavy pasta salads with this lighter side dish.
Loaded with vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes give the classic side dish a healthy spin.
Pump up your new potatoes with snipped tarragon, chopped radishes, and Canadian bacon (no, really).
Loaded with veggies and cheese, this quesadilla will fill you up without the calories or post-meal coma of a steak.
Sangria, margaritas, and mojitos -- oh my!
Antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice may lower your cholesterol and prevent certain types of cancer -- and in this drink, it'll only pack 136 calories.
A twist on the classic margarita, whole fruit bumps up the vitamin count without pumping up the calories.
The alcohol-free alternative when you're done with the beer bong.
Boost your immune system and lower your cholesterol with this green tea (and alcohol-free) mocktail.
Bad case of the munchies? 9 travel-friendly picks to tame it.
Cheesy, gooey nachos -- but low-cal and low-fat. You're welcome.
Chips and dip are the yin and yang of tailgating, and we're suckers for a cheesy, meaty dip to complement crisp veggies and baked chips.
Maple syrup gives it a sweet edge, while minced jalapeno gives it the traditional kick.
It's not just for vegans and the health-conscious set anymore. Tofu provides plenty of protein and gives a silky consistency to the hummus. Plus, you won't even taste the soy -- promise!
As much as we love salsa and guac, this yogurt-mint sauce is especially refreshing on a hot day.
A throwback to the classic Chex mix, this homemade version makes 6 cups -- enough for everyone to get their own salt fix.
For 125 calories, each cookie -- made with natural peanut butter -- is enough of a sweet fix to bring even the manliest of football fanatics to his knees.
Chocolate and fruit in a cookie -- what more could you ask for?
A portable, easy-to-make, and everybody-likes-them kind of treat.
For the non-chocolate lovers.
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, August 2008.