Tabernacle Baptist Church proved that healthy and delicious tailgating foods do exist by taking home the top prize at the Get Healthy, Live Well Tailgate Cook-Off at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.

The church’s “Mission Kebabs” earned the church the Hallelujah Cup along with the title of top chef at the cook-off, which was hosted by Tanner Health System’s Faith in Health committee and UWG on Nov. 11.

“As we at UWG work to encourage healthy diets on campus by providing students with diverse dining options, we also are grateful for the opportunity to join other local partners in sharing that message throughout our community,” said UWG President Kyle Marrero.

The idea to host a healthy tailgate cook-off was the brainchild of Tanner’s Faith in Health committee, which is part of the Get Healthy, Live Well Coalition, a multi-sector community coalition working to increase access to healthy food, increase physical activity, reduce chronic disease risks and eliminate tobacco use in Carroll, Haralson and Heard counties. The Faith in Health committee churches include A Place of Refuge, Agape of God Ministry, Inc., Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, Church Without Walls, Covenant Word Ministry, First Baptist Church of Bowdon, First Baptist Church of Carrollton, First Baptist Church of Villa Rica, Friendship Baptist Church, Overcomers Christian Center, Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Southern Hills Christian Church, Tabernacle Baptist Church and Word of Truth Christian Church.

“The churches in this community have been extraordinarily receptive to helping improve their congregation’s health and the community’s health,” said Phyllis Head, community outreach coordinator at Get Healthy, Live Well. “To help create healthier communities, we’re doing challenges like the healthy tailgate cook-off that encourage us to live healthy lives.”

Churches participating in the cook-off included Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Bowdon, First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Southern Hills Christian Church, Piney Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Tabernacle Baptist Church and Word of Truth Christian Church.

The cook-off gave the faith-based community an opportunity to improve the nutritional value of traditionally high-calorie, high-fat tailgate foods while engaging in some friendly competition.

During the event, participants offered up their healthiest — and tastiest — tailgate meals. All entries were judged by a panel of food and nutrition experts, which included local chef Rob Duvé, Get Healthy, Live Well’s registered dietitian Melissa Brillhart, MA, RD, LD, and UWG’s campus dining executive director John Lyons.

“Get Healthy, Live Well is always happy to partner with the university, which graciously donated the use of their entire tailgate and grill pit area,” Head said. “A special thanks also goes out to our judges, who had the most difficult task of selecting the best recipe.”

The event also included free samples of food, hot apple cider, free blood pressure checks and children’s activities. Tanny the Turtle also made an appearance.

The cook-off marked the fourth time these churches have worked together to help improve the community’s health. In July, Overcomers Christian Center hosted the Bible Quiz Bowl. In March, Tabernacle Baptist Church hosted the Hoops for Health Basketball Challenge. And in January, Southern Hills Christian Church hosted the Resolution Run 5K.


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