Post contributed by Onikia Brown, Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension Program
“Hut 1, hut 2, hut 3…HIKE!” We play, we watch, we eat…..FOOTBALL! During football season, many of us spend 2-5 days watching football. Here is the football schedule for our favorite players and teams: Thursday, Jr. High; Friday, HS; Saturday, College; Sunday, NFL; Monday, NFL….again! While watching, we also eat….and we eat a lot!
Change the game by adding or increasing your fruit and vegetable dishes; serve them up ripened! Kebabs are a great way to mix food groups and tastes; try your favorite lean meat with grilled pineapple. Don’t skip on the chips, instead consider having a multigrain chip with a vegetable dip like tomato salsa or guacamole. You will gain points from your guests for infused water; it’s just a fancy way of saying water with fruits and/ vegetables, you’ve probably had it before, just not at a tailgate!
When sharing dishes at the tailgate, be sure to keep your food out of the temperature danger zone (40 °F – 140 °F). Keep cold foods on ice and hot foods on a burner or warmer. Never leave food out of the refrigerator over 2 hours, or over 1 hour when it is 90 °F or hotter. When your team has won and there is food leftover, store the food in a shallow dish in the refrigerator within 2 hours for quick and safe cooling. The best rule of thumb for keeping food is, “When in doubt, throw it out!” To prevent food waste, make enough servings for your anticipated guests and encourage guests to take only what they will eat. Another idea to keep food out of the garbage can is to label the dishes with a name and main ingredient to keep people from “guessing” if they will like something!
When the points have been scored, and the games have ended, use these tips for your holiday gatherings!