How to Have a Healthy Tailgate

healthy tailgate recipes | almost getting it together

This weekend, I made the trek down to Morgantown to go to the WVU-Oklahoma football game. I totally forgot what that culture was like. Every time I go back to school, I kind of regret it. It’s just this whole big drunken, dumb mess I’m not into anymore.  Truth be told, I wasn’t into it when I was there (okay, maybe some of the time I was into it). I am so happy I had four years at WVU, met the people I did, had the experiences I had… but I also really like being an educated, civilized adult. And that is not what WVU students tend to be at football games (or anytime alcohol is involved).

Anyway… back to the subject. Tailgates are a huge part of WVU football culture. We are typically pretty high – if not on top – of the Biggest Party Schools list. West Virginia doesn’t have any professional sports teams so the Mountaineers are all the state has to root on, sports wise (sorry anyone that went to Marshall, your football team is full of people with criminal records just short of murder). When I was a junior and senior, things were so bad (i.e. so out of control) that most games were at noon to help curb the drunkenness. (Kegs n’ Eggs, anyone?)

Tailgates can be messy for your health and if you’re not careful, your dignity (not speaking out of experience here or anything). BUT you can still tailgate and have fun (booze included) if you balance it out with healthier food and not fried chicken and buffalo chicken dip (the obesity rate is real in WV for a reason). With a little prep and some simple swaps, you can make your tailgate as classy as the Kentucky Derby while still being healthy – and fun.

healthy tailgate recipes | almost getting it together

Drinks
Instead of cheap beer, drink mimosas or healthy cocktails made with real ingredients (i.e. not junk in a plastic bottle).

Food
Don’t eat the gross store bought cupcakes, macaroni salad and chips. Instead, check out these recipes for a healthy tailgate feast.

Chat with me:
Do you tailgate before football games? What are your favorite tailgating drinks/dishes?

48 comments on “How to Have a Healthy Tailgate

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Em Todd @ CFGF on September 24, 2014 7:46 am

That sunburnt greyhound looks AMAZING! Greyhounds are one of my favorite brunch drinks. Definitely love them more than mimosas. A super spicy, well-made bloody mary is also excellent. And beer. ;)

I love that you put a soft pretzel recipe on your list! I did homemade soft pretzels for every Pitt tailgate in college. So good.
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:52 am

How did I not know you loved greyhounds?? ME TOO!!! I remember you telling me about your soft pretzels for Pitt tailgates… maybe we should put that on our PGH bucket list.

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Heather @fitncookies on September 24, 2014 7:54 am

The first paragraph sounds like I wrote it, honestly. I am glad I went to Slippery Rock, but I wasn’t always into the crazy parties and now I am just fine without them. I went to Luke Bryan tailgate this summer and it was just horrifically a mess and I realized I prefer not to have that in my life anymore.
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:53 am

I remember seeing what a mess that was on the news… so shameful!

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. on September 24, 2014 8:15 am

Is it weird that I’ve never actually been to a football game before? I kinda feel like they’re not AS big of a thing up here in Canada… Hockey, on the other hand — yes. But I can definitely relate to growing out of a certain lifestyle. I’m definitely not interested in a lot of the things I was super into in high school and university…
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:53 am

Okay so honestly, not missing that much not going to a football game… hockey is WAY better. People tailgate Pens games here, actually!!

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Tina Muir on September 24, 2014 8:16 am

I am afraid I am definitely not a tailgater….actually, I am sure you already guessed that one :p and I am also not a football fan yet…..maybe when I get my green card, there will be a switch that goes off :P I would just like these foods for deliciousness.

Funny you say about WVU being top of the party list, I swear every school hears that they are…..they should make a list to settle this once and for all :)
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:51 am

Haha, no every school says that but it’s DEFINITELY WVU.

I’m kind of ashamed of this (filmed in 2012, year after I graduated) but this is a good representation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP0Xod-L1Yw

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Janelle @ Run With No Regrets on September 24, 2014 9:30 am

I have never done an official tailgate, but my boyfriend LOVES football and likes to have lots of beer and snacks all day long on the weekend. Thanks for the recipes, hopefully this will inspire me to make something healthy for the big game!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:49 am

Yes, you can definitely have some yummy, lighter eats today!

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Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean on September 24, 2014 9:33 am

thanks for including my puppychow!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:49 am

Of course, thanks for healthifying one of my fave treats! :)

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Susie @ SuzLyfe on September 24, 2014 10:13 am

I totally want to go to a tailgate with you. That would be the most delicious meal EVER. Except for the fact that when I tailgate/go to bbq’s etc, I overeat to the extreme because I NEVER FREAKING STOP.
But at least it’s delicious :D
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Cassie on September 24, 2014 1:21 pm

At least with this it would all be nutritious!

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Ang @ Nutty for Life on September 24, 2014 10:45 am

I secretly love store-bought cupcakes… it kills me a little every time you bash them lol. The icing is better than what I can make at home.
I never tailgated in college- not my thing. Basically on fest days I didn’t eat at all? Which is bad. Or I had like, popcorn that I made when I came home. I’m into sports parties like Steelers parties or Pens parties, not really for the game when it comes to football but for the spirit of it. So I would apply these recipes to that :)
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Cassie on September 24, 2014 1:15 pm

I wish we had made it down in time to tailgate so you got the full experience.

[…] Healthy Tailgate Recipes (Almost Getting It Together) – Dan and I tailgate most weekends since we have season tickets to Rutgers football. I need to start making some healthier options, because so far it’s just been chips and dip, beer, and sandwiches […]

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Diana @sosmallsostrong on September 24, 2014 11:57 am

Awesome roundup!!
I adore football but you’re so right, the territory comes with so much food and drinking. A love hate relationship for sure!
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Cassie on September 24, 2014 1:09 pm

I think I adore more of the food/drink aspect of football haha… I’m much more a hockey fan.

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Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut on September 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Haha you crack me up with “not that I’m speaking from experience.”

Definitely tailgating season! I’m from Nebraska so by default I’m a Husker fan. It’s actually kind of fun watching the games now that I don’t live there because it reminds me of home. :)
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:52 am

Totally agree… like watching WVU games on TV for the same reason!

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Ree on September 24, 2014 3:49 pm

I’m with Amanda. It’s not a big thing in Canada, and as a result, I’ve never tailgated! Isn’t that crazy? I love the idea of doing a healthier version of it though. Great post!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:47 am

I need to bring tailgating to the Canadians!

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Carrie (This Fit Chick) on September 24, 2014 5:58 pm

YES! I LOVE this post!! I love tailgating, but I always want some healthier options on hand!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:47 am

So happy you liked!

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GiGi Eats on September 25, 2014 12:36 am

Aw man! I MISS THOSE SOFT PRETZELS with EXTRA SALT!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:44 am

Stop. Now I need them!!

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Lauren @ ihadabiglunch on September 25, 2014 12:55 am

GREAT post idea – unfortunately when I tailgate I’m usually not making the best eating decisions but I definitely love me a good mimosa :) and soft pretzels are my favorite so I’ll definitely be trying those out! I’ve also been a fan of buffalo chicken dip lately. Next time I’ll just bring a healthified spinach dip of some kind – greek yogurt to the rescue!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:43 am

I need to make those soft pretzels today, I’ve been dreaming about them!

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Jessie on September 25, 2014 3:00 am

Great list, girl! I enjoy a nice hot dog or burger when tailgating. I also usually try to bring a veggie/dip platter to eat along side my meals with pretzels.
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:39 am

I do enjoy a hot dog or a burger as well… good call on bringing veggies!

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Lesley @ the Breakfast Runner on September 25, 2014 10:12 am

Last weekend I was the girl eating an apple at the tailgate in one hand with my beer in the other. I need to get better at bringing more filling, healthy options to tailgates though so I can actually get a meal that leaves me satisfied.

PS your sweet potato hummus is on my list of things I need to make ASAP
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:40 am

Apple + beer… this is why I love you. xoxo

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lindsay on September 25, 2014 5:56 pm

think if pretend to watch the game, i can throw a tailgate party and make all this? or rather, you just come do it for me! YUM!

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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:36 am

We can just tailgate a triathlon, right?

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Jessica on September 25, 2014 8:54 pm

I went to Notre Dame, like a million years ago (ok, graduated in 2008), so I’m familiar with tailgating :) Great suggestions!
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:36 am

2008 is NOT a million years ago… I feel like Notre Dame tailgates would be so fun!

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GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth on September 25, 2014 9:45 pm

I came to read this post cuz I didn’t know what a tailgate was whoops. You can tell how not out of control my university experience is haha It’s also because it probably isn’t a huge deal in Canada.
p.s. I totally feel ya on liking being a civilized adult…I cannot wait to graduate so I don’t have to apologize for it lol
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:35 am

I like need to come to Canada and throw you guys a tailgate!

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Brynn on September 26, 2014 4:40 pm

I love tailgating! I think I spent more time at tailgates than the actual game during college. Bringing hummus and veggies is my go-to since there ares usually some not so great options.
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Arman @ thebigmansworld on September 27, 2014 12:15 am

Can I still have a tailgate even though I have no idea what it is>
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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:26 am

Yes! You just go eat/drink before a game, outside of the stadium… tailgate because you put the tail of your truck down I guess?? Come here and we’ll have one.

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Athletic Avocado on September 27, 2014 3:37 pm

All of these recipes are right up my alley! can’t wait for to try that healthier puppy chow! Ahmazing! Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes! They are so perfect for football season! :)

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Cassie on September 28, 2014 9:24 am

Yay, glad you enjoyed!

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Davida @ The Healthy Maven on October 1, 2014 8:59 am

Thanks for including me babes!!! I’ve never tailgated before but I suspect if I did I would end up loving all the drunken debauchery a little too much. It’s cool, I can like it for the both of us!
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Cassie on October 2, 2014 1:27 am

YOU HAVE TO COME TAILGATE!!

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Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon on October 9, 2014 2:53 pm

I haven’t tailgated – somehow I managed going to a high school AND college without football teams. Nowadays, I’m happy to find a food truck outside a stadium and skipping the booze. But I also love a delish bean dip!
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Cassie on October 9, 2014 10:22 pm

Oooh bean dip, something I love but never make!

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