Tailgate season is in full swing. If you have high blood pressure you may think that you can’t enjoy special events, or that you’ll “have to cheat on your diet” if you do. This is just not true if you take an active role in making healthy choices happen.

Since many parties or picnics I attend don’t have DASH Diet foods available I usually make sure that I bring them to the party myself. This doesn’t mean I’m bringing “the healthy dish” and everyone else eats all of the other stuff, this means that I’m adding a side dish that can either substitute as a main dish, or just be a great compliment to the spread. For instance, if the host isserving salty processed meats, you can just have one frankfurter, and then load up on the veggie sides.

Here’s what you can either bring to a tailgate party, or choose, but this is certainly not an endless list.

  • Chicken Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce (page 244 in DASH Diet For Dummies®)
  • Veggie tray – easy to put together, use baby carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, and cucumber slices. If you bring it, they will eat it!
  • Fruit tray – this can be as easy as watermelon slices or a big bowl of grapes.
  • A Seven Layer Dip is always a crowd-pleaser!
  • Salad on a stick. Cut tomatoes into cubes, 1/2-inch thick cucumber slices, spinach leaves, and chunks of iceberg lettuce. Skewer onto long wooden skewer sticks and pack into plastic storage container. Keep chilled, and serve with your favorite dressing.
  • Deviled eggs. A classic appetizer, and full of nutrition.
  • Fruit crisp. This is an easy make ahead dish to share. You can use apples or pears.
  • Black bean brownies. Nobody will know this dessert is full of fiber and extra nutrients!
  • Bean salad. Beans are loaded with fiber and B vitamins. You can basically toss a can (rinse first) into any salad recipe you like. Or try my easy garbanzo bean salad.
  • Sparkling water. It’s always a good idea to have some non-alcoholic beverages available.

Don’t miss out on the fun. Make smart choices at your next tailgate or picnic.