Break out your tents, cornhole games and koozies, UCF's first home game of the year is this Saturday.

While it's easy to pack on the pounds after day-drinking and downing empty calories during a tailgating session, in an effort to battle the bulge, some fans also like to bring some healthier options.

"I usually use lean ground-turkey meat for my burgers and make my own dips so I can put my own tomatoes, cheeses and peppers in to make it more organic," Ashley Orth, a junior sports and exercise science major, said.

Smith added that he, too, likes to incorporate some healthier alternatives.

"I have a really good recipe for a ranch dip made with Greek yogurt that is great for tailgating," said Aaron Smith, a senior sports and exercise science major.

But for novice tailgaters, experienced veterans have some advice.

"One of the most important things to bring to a tailgate would have to be paper towels, along with plates, condiments and spices, to make everyone happy and clean. And don't forget the ice," Orth said. "It's nice to have cold drinks, but you don't want your potato salad or meat to spoil before it gets to the grill."

Smith reiterated the necessity of bringing a grill to a tailgating session.

"The grill is the center of any tailgate, but don't forget a generator if you have an electric grill. Also remember to bring the food, drinks, games like corn hole, trash bags and music," Smith said. "In the excitement of tailgating, it's easy to forget some of the obvious things."

Burger sliders

From Kristy Rattanavong

4 slices of bacon

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 pounds of lean ground beef

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

24 small dinner rolls

Leaf lettuce

2 tomatoes

Slices of your favorite cheese

Cook bacon on a grill or skillet until crisp. In a large bowl combine onion, garlic, ground beef, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Form into 24 small patties and chill. Preheat grill to medium. Cook burgers for about seven minutes until medium rare, turning only once halfway while cooking. Toast rolls on grill and top burgers with bacon pieces, cheese, lettuce and tomato then serve.

Greek yogurt ranch dip

From Aaron Smith

1 cup of plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup of skim milk

1 packet of ranch seasoning

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate before serving. Serve with veggies, chips or use as a dip for wings.


From Kristy Rattanavong

2 1/2 pound of chicken wings

1 tablespoon of salt

1 cup of Frank's buffalo wing sauce

1/2 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of Wishbone Italian salad dressing

If not already done, cut wings apart into drums and wings. Add salt, wings and drums to boiling pot of water for about nine minutes. After that's done, add wings to a cooking sheet. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and once preheated, bake for 25 minutes. Turn each piece of chicken and bake for 15 more minutes. Combine the butter, buffalo wing sauce and Italian dressing in a large bowl. Take wings from oven and toss in sauce to coat them. Serve with celery and favorite dip.

Turkey burger

From Ashley Orth

1 pound of lean ground turkey

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce

2 cloves of mince garlic

1 small onion or 2 shallots

Burger buns

Leaf lettuce

2 tomatoes

Slices of American cheese

Mini pickles

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl then divide into patties. Preheat the grill to medium heat. Cook for six to seven minutes or until no longer pink in the middle. Once turkey burgers are grilled, feel free to add cheese, bacon or your other favorite topping. Serve on burger buns and top with a mini pickle.

Things to bring to tailgate

Table (if desired)

Table cloth

Napkins/paper towels

Paper plates



Ice for food and drinks




Trash bags


Generator for an electric grill (if needed)

Games (football, cornhole)






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