Time to Tailgate! Tips for Planning Healthy Get-Togethers

As the fall rolls in, it’s time for tailgate events! Tailgates can be filled with high-calorie food and drinks that impact your health plan if left unchecked. Is it possible to have the perfect mix of fun and food without wrecking your plan? Yes it is! The key is balance and moderation.

Come in with a Plan

It’s a smart idea to have a plan to follow for a tailgate or any social event. A few key decisions can make your day a lot easier. It may be different for every person, but consider a few options to make your plan work.

  • Make an eating plan for the day. This can be as simple as choosing to avoid sweets during the event, allowing yourself a few special treats, limiting your portion sizes, or skipping the tailgate food and eating beforehand.
  • Plan to socialize away from the food. Mindlessly eating while socializing is very common, so it’s easy to overdo it.
  • Plan for fluids. For an all-day event, fluids are extra important. Stay hydrated and stay away from high-calorie, sugary drinks as much as possible.

Find Ways to Move More

This tailgate season, instead of sitting, plan on moving. Plan ahead by bringing a cornhole set or a football to throw. This is a great way to get the whole group active! Step it up a notch and even throw in a quick walk to move a little more. Try to decrease your sedentary time by increasing your active time.

It’s All About the Social

Instead of focusing on the food, focus on the people you’re spending time with. There are more to tailgates than just food. Engage in conversations, meet new people and change your focus. You’ll be surprised how much you will enjoy it!

Bring Something That Works for You

One of the best ways to stay on track is to ensure there are food choices with you. As you plan your day, focus on bringing foods that you feel comfortable and happy about eating and that fit into your plan. Offer to bring fresh fruit and dip, veggies and hummus, lean protein, or even a cooler of low-calorie hydrating drinks. Others will appreciate the variety of choices!

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings

Source: EatingWell.com


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds chicken wings, separated if necessary
  • 1/2 cup buffalo style hot sauce (such as Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 carrots, cut into sticks


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Preheat air fryer to 375 degrees F. Combine paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in a large bowl. Add wings and toss to coat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Add half of the wings to the air fryer basket; cook for 15 minutes. Turn the wings; continue to cook until they’re crispy and a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 165 degrees F, about 5 minutes. Arrange the wings in a single layer on a baking sheet; transfer to the oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining wings.

Cook hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking often, until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the wings to a large bowl. Add the butter sauce and toss to coat. Serve alongside ranch dressing, carrots and celery.

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