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Football Season: What’s Your Secret for an Awesome Tailgate?

By Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES September 2, 2015Pearls of Wisdom Blog

It’s finally football time again! That means lots of outdoor cooking, including tailgating at the games. Being a cancer survivor doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. In fact, it’s even more reason to get out there and celebrate! Just make sure to take a few precautions to stay safe and healthy. What is your favorite tip for a great tailgate party?

Pick a theme: Themes or shows of team spirit idea can go a long way to pump up your tailgate party. Your party can and should include decorations, cups, plates, fun menus, and beverage selections. Wear your best team colors or favorite player’s jersey. Don’t forget the team mascot! Anyone willing to dress up?

Arrive early: The early birds get the best tailgating spots. Pick someone to arrive early to claim that prize location and then everyone else can arrive later with the goodies.

Over cook: Better to have too much food than too little. If you have any special dietary needs as a cancer survivor, let people bringing the food know. Or, if you feel up to, bring some of your own dishes and snacks as well.

Practice food safety: Keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold, especially while packing up and travelling to the game. High-risk meat dishes left out at room temperature for over 2 hours should be discarded. Beware of salads and sides made with mayonnaise and eggs unless kept cool.

Skip the alcohol and beer: Plan for a few choices of non-alcoholic drinks. Alcohol and cancer treatments often don’t go together. Make sure you have the non-alcoholic beverages marked clearly. Have ice water with sprigs of mint, dill, or sliced cucumber for everyone.

Have a source of power: A generator, grill, or gas burner can expand your menu and cooking festivities. Devices to play music and team songs can also help pump everyone up for the big game.

Don’t forget the ice: You can never have too much ice.

Get noticed: Have a banner, balloons, or flags so your friends can easily find your party.

Sit down: Have chairs or a bench for anyone who may need to rest or take a seat while eating. Create shade if the sun is out to prevent sunburns and dehydration.

Ask for help: If you need a rest, ask your caregiver, a loved one, or a friend to go through the buffet line for you. Ask someone to grab you a refill. Cover up hot dishes and food just in case food aroma may trigger a wave of nausea. Take a blanket with you in case the weather gets chilly.

Have an awesome football and tailgating season. Don’t worry about being a bother! Your friends and family want to spend time with you. Have fun that’s what tailgating is all about. And, of course, cheering your team to victory!

Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Author Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

Nutrition Educator Margaret Martin is a Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist in the State of Tennessee as well as a Certified Diabetes Educator. Margaret graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science & Public Health from the University of Tennessee. With more than 10 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition, Margaret has also worked in the insurance industry with WellPoint Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield providing telephonic nutrition consultations, service assistance, and web-based nutrition education. In her free time Margaret volunteers with the American Lung Association’s annual “Lung Force Walk" in Middle Tennessee. She belongs to the Oncology Nutrition & Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Groups of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

More posts by Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN, CDCES

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