It's almost that time of year; fall is approaching, and you'll soon be attending weekly football parties and indulging in tailgating foods on a regular basis. And whether you're a diehard fan at the stadium each week or watching from home, you want to enjoy the game without overdoing it. That's why we've rounded up everything you need to have a fun and healthy tailgating party. If you're hosting your own or simply looking for the best tailgating foods to bring along, we've got you covered.
If You're Hosting
To host the ultimate tailgating party, you've got to use the right stuff. The first step to a successful tailgating party is to have the proper gear. Check out this list of the top Must-Have Grilling Tools to get fired up about. You don't want to be fumbling with wayward hotdogs and burnt buns when you're trying to get into the game. After you've geared up, choose delicious recipes from our Guide to Building the Best Burger, recipes for Crazy-Good Veggie Burgers for Vegetarians, and healthy side dishes like these Twists on Grilled Vegetables.
And make sure you grill the right way! Before turning up the flame, brush up on your barbequing skills with our quick guide on How to Grill Anything Better. And, whether hot or cold, keep your food for the game safe to eat with these six rules to Avoid Food Poisoning at Your BBQ.
If You're a Guest
If you're a guest, whether it's a parking lot tailgate or a football party in someone's home, you'll need tasty tailgating foods that are easy to transport. These quick homemade dips are the perfect food for the game since they can be made ahead, and they're much healthier and cheaper than the store-bought versions: 13 Different Ways to Make Hummus, Homemade Salsa Recipes, Low-Calorie Spinach Dip, and Roasted Garlic and White Bean. Pair good-for-you spreads with the perfect crunch with 4 Healthy Chips and Dips, including a roasted red pepper cannelini, miso dip, and more. Keep the healthy dips light by serving them with vegetable crudite. If you simply must have the salty crunch of a chip, choose one with nutritional value or make your own with these 10 Healthy Chip Recipes.
If salty snacks and meaty foods are making you crave a sweet treat, opt for easy-to-eat (and make!) recipes such as Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Blondies, Gooey Rocky Road Bars, Triple Chocolate Brownies with Walnuts and Coconut Caramel, and Banana and Dark Chocolate S'mores. If that's not healthy enough for you, ditch added sugars altogether and go for one of these 10 Healthy Desserts Sweetened with Natural Sugar Substitutes. With these, no matter who wins, you win.
If You're Drinking
And lets not forget about the party drinks, because no party—football or otherwise—is complete without a cocktail. Whip up a pitcher of one of these Creative Tequilla Drinks or Refreshing Sangria Recipes. Of course, football and beer go hand in hand to some people, but try to opt for healthy brands, such as these Gluten-Free Beers That Taste Like the Real Thing or Bikini-Friendly Beer Brands. Just be sure you drink responsibly because those games can be long.