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Fall, Food and Football Tailgating Fun

Sep 11, 2014

By Dean George

You know you are getting older when the first thought you have about holidays and special events is “the food factor.” Easter dinner, the Fourth of July cookout and Thanksgiving can serve as Exhibits A-C.

For example, when we say county fair what do you think of? We’re guessing elephant ears, fried turkey legs and grilled Italian sausage. When we say hayrides and campfires what comes to mind? We’ll bet its roasted hot dogs and s’mores.

And then there’s the movie blockbuster you’ve been waiting months to see. When’s the last time you saw a favorite movie without freshly popped popcorn smothered with salt, butter and enough calories to make you feel guilty three days later?

Another widely anticipated event this time of year is tailgating at football games. Just the thought of grilled brats, appetizers and hot wings can leave us salivating more than Pavlov’s dog when hearing the bell.  Unfortunately, much of the standard tailgating fare is high in fat, sodium and cholesterol, not to mention bad for our teeth.

But that’s okay, because we’ve drawn up some new tailgating food plays for this season. Below are three guilt-free foods that will satisfy your taste buds and your dentist while you enjoy the big pregame, post-game and football game played in between.

Tailgate Party Nut Mix (serves 12)

Nuts are high in protein, essential fats and calcium that help keep teeth strong. They also have a high pH, helping protect our teeth by maintaining a healthy pH balance in our mouth. It’s okay to go nuts over nuts!



1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 cup whole almonds
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup orange-flavored dried cranberries

Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Coat the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with coconut oil. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring several times. 
2. Mix the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and pecans in a medium bowl and stir in a light maple syrup coating. Mix the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a separate bowl before adding to the nuts. Stir well.
3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry. Check often to avoid burning. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
4. Place mix in bowl and stir in cranberries.

7-Layer Dip (serves 8)

Traditional 7-layer dips
are high in unhealthy dairy and fats and the refried beans can have us chewing anti-acids like chalk candy. The recipe below has much less fat, is high in healthy fiber and has the same look and texture as the 7-layer dip favorite. Cool beans!



2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 avocados, mashed well
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
2/3 cup black beans
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced black olives and scallions to garnish

Directions: 1. Spread chopped romaine lettuce at the bottom of a large bowl.
2. Top with an avocado layer and smooth out with a spoon to an even height.
3. Spoon Greek yogurt layer and smooth if necessary.
4. Layer next with black beans before topping with diced tomatoes.
5. Sprinkle dip with cheese and top with olives and scallions.

Baked Buffalo Wings (serves 6)

No bones about it, traditionally prepared Buffalo wings contain as many as 800 calories per serving. Butter and frying oil are both main culprits, but if you wing it by baking the chicken rather than frying it, you can greatly reduce the unhealthy fat. Put another way, why not call an audible by swapping the frying pan for the oven so you can go all… the…way to a healthier eating score.

  

3 pounds drumettes and wings
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
6 sprigs fresh thyme
10 garlic cloves, crushed

3/4 cup hot sauce

Blue Cheese Dip Option
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
Scallions to garnish

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease an oven-proof pan.
2. Season drumettes and wings in a bowl with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Melt butter in a sauté pan over low heat. Add thyme and garlic and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Add hot sauce when thyme and garlic become pungent.
4. Pour entire mixture over chicken and toss to coat before marinating in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Combine blue cheese and low-fat Greek yogurt in a small bowl while wings are marinating. Mix well and refrigerate.
6. Place chicken in oven-proof baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Flip and baste wings with a tong or fork.
7. Bake for an additional 25 minutes, occasionally basting wings.
8. Remove wings from oven, allowing them to slightly cool in pan. Baste with juices, and serve with blue cheese dip!

We hope you enjoy these “teeth approved” tailgating foods this football season. Upload your tailgating pictures on our Facebook page and show us your best smiles for your favorite team!   

Sources: recipes-prevention.com, fitsugar.com
Photo sources: recipes-prevention.com, fitsugar.com, seriouseats.com


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