(NAPSI)—Tailgates typically mean enjoying lots of fun foods and big flavors. The good news is that you can enjoy tasty treats and activities that bring a little healthful balance to the festivities.
Smarter tailgating can be as simple as adding some nutritious treats to the menu—and staying on your feet a little longer throughout the day.
“Everyone loves a good tailgate with family and friends, but it’s important to remember that the main activities are usually sitting and eating. Bring a little healthy living back into the mix with foods like blueberries,” says Jenna Braddock, RDN and spokesperson for the Blueberry Council. “Everyone loves the delicious flavor of blueberries—and they love your body back with nutritious benefits. Try a recipe like my gluten-free Boozy Blueberry Bacon Bites, a finger food that’s easy to eat and easy to savor.”
Boozy Blueberry Bacon Bites
-style:normal'>Makes 46−48 bites
1 stick (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup honey
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 large egg
1 cup fine-ground gluten-free cornmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup all-purpose, gluten-free 1:1 baking mix
½ cup crumbled crispy bacon (from about 8 thin bacon slices)
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup triple sec
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a minimuffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. With an electric mixer in a large mixing bowl, cream butter until pale in color and smooth. Add the sugar and mix until well incorporated. Add the honey and mix until well incorporated. Add the ricotta and egg. Mix until fully blended. Add the cornmeal, baking soda and baking powder. Mix just until combined. Add the gluten-free baking mix and mix just until combined. Fold the crumbled bacon into the batter with a spatula.
Spoon 1 tablespoon of dough into each minimuffin opening. Bake for 10−11 minutes, until muffin tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. As soon as muffins come out of the oven, press the bottom of a thick-handled wooden spoon into the top of each muffin to make a depression about half the distance down. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
While muffins are baking, combine blueberries, cornstarch and triple sec in a saucepan over medium low heat and stir to dissolve cornstarch. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens and some blueberries have “popped,” about 10 minutes. Spoon 1 teaspoon of blueberry compote into the top of each muffin. Enjoy warm or allow to cool and enjoy.
Smart and Delicious Choices
Here’s another tip to encourage healthier tailgate habits: Rather than have all food out all day, set a “meal time” for the main dishes. Before and after that time, set out healthy snack options like blueberries. That way, guests can still graze while being mindful about what they’re eating.
It may also help to bring your own food into the stadium, where easy-to-eat finger foods like blueberries make a natural choice. They taste deliciously refreshing on a warm day, and they’re a good source of fiber, helping you stay full and satisfied—and away from the concession stands. Many stadiums allow outside food if it’s in a clear container, but it’s important to check the policy ahead of time.
Blueberries contain just 80 calories per cup, are low in sodium and contain virtually no fat, making them a go-to food for experts like Jenna Braddock. They’re also a good source of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system-great for tailgates and events as the weather gets cooler.
A little bit of planned activity goes a long way at a tailgate. Even 10-minute bouts of movement will help meet your daily exercise needs. Try:
• Walking around to visit other tailgaters
• Playing games like cornhole, horseshoes or Jenga
• Throwing a Frisbee or football
• Organizing a relay race
• Parking farther away to get a good walk in (and get out faster).
For more ways to enjoy blueberries at all your favorite events, visit www.PositivelyBluetiful.com.