Party play 

Petra Lusche with her special recipe
BY: Shannon Cornman

It’s understandable since the splurge can wreak havoc on the waistline for game-day revelers.

The time-honored tradition of the tailgate party bursts with school spirit, but if not careful, it can pack a hefty calorie count, too.

According to, a trip around the tailgate table could add up quicker than one might think.

Typical treats like cookies are around 140 calories each. Potato chips average 152 calories per ounce, and hamburgers rank at about 750 calories depending on condiments. Hot dogs in a bun ring in at 320, and those lick-your-fingers hot wings? A not-so-delicious 94 calories each.

The green team
According to local nutritionist and blogger Petra Lusche at Happi Lives, gameday eaters indulge in foods higher in fat, and caloric intake goes up by 10 percent. Saturated fat consumption may go up by 16 percent or more.

“These eating behaviors won’t just affect you on Sunday,” said Lusche. “They tend to follow you through the rest of the week.”

Do an end-run around fat with the help of a few healthy-yet-still-yummy substitutions.

Lusche suggested tailgaters “enjoy the dip, skip the chips.”

“The real harm in the dip combos isn’t so much the dip itself, contrary to popular belief,” she said. “Yes, dips tend to be higher in fat, but they also typically have some protein, dairy and beneficial nutrients. What clients tend to overdo it on is the chips.”

Chips are filled with “unnecessary and non-nutritious carbs,” Lusche said. She recommended giving fresh vegetables, whole grains and fruits some play instead. For dips, substitute a Greek yogurt base instead of sour cream.

Play ball
Local tailgater Leslie Blair recommends stocking only light beer to save fans valuable calories by volume.

Lusche also stressed the importance of alternating between beer and water throughout the day.

“I tell my male clients to drink two or three darker beers. They have less calories than regular beer and barely more than a light beer (compare a Bud Light at 115 calories to a Guinness at 125 calories). Men tend to drink less since they aren’t so watered-down,” Lusche said.

She warned women to watch
out for alcoholic mixers due to the added sugars, which “really wreak
havoc on your metabolism.” Tackle that problem with tonic, diet drinks
or water with lime.

To keep the calories and the guilt at bay, Lusche suggested one cheat item — whether it’s pizza or brownies

— to keep from feeling deprived.

also suggested easy substitutions — use turkey or chicken instead of
beef in a white chicken chili or turkey chili with beans.

For dessert, even the pickiest sweet tooth can enjoy pre-made fruit cups with a dollop of light whipped topping.

Try this at home!

Fit honey wings with dill-blue cheese dip by Petra lusche

For wings:

3 pounds drumettes and wings (remove fat)

1 tablespoon honey

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/8 teaspoon chili powder

10 garlic cloves, crushed

For dill-blue cheese dip:

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/2-1 teaspoon dried dill salt and pepper to taste scallions to garnish

Food preparation:

1. Marinate wings in soy sauce, honey, salt, turmeric powder, lime, chili and garlic for at least an hour.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and lightly grease an oven-proof pan.

3. Meanwhile, combine blue cheese, dill and Greek yogurt in a small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate.

Transfer chicken to oven-proof baking dish and place in oven. Bake for
30 minutes. With tongs or a fork, flip and baste wings.

5. Bake for 25 minutes more, occasionally basting wings while they’re in the oven.

6. Remove pan from oven and allow wings to slightly cool in pan. Baste with juices, and serve with blue cheese dip.

7. Serve with carrot and celery sticks and some green apple (chips or slices), if desired.

Pin It

Speaking of...

About The Author

Malena Lott

Latest in Food Features

Tacos y Tequila @ Library of Distilled Spirits

View all of today's events »

© 2023 Oklahoma Gazette / Tierra Media Inc. All rights reserved.

Powered by Foundation