Keep it simple. Go for foods with quick and easy preparation and simple clean up.
When planning your meal, keep the time and location of the game in mind. For example, breakfast burritos would be great for an early game. If the game is several hours away, you may want to bring prepared foods.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, trail mix, dried foods, cookies, peanuts, crackers, and canned products (meat spreads, for example) are great for tailgating because they don’t need refrigeration.
Finger foods are great because they’re quick and easy.
Use plastic bags and disposable, plastic containers whenever possible. Use two coolers — one for drinks and ready-to-eat foods, and one for raw meats.
Wrap very securely any meats, poultry or fish that may leak or drip before putting them in the cooler.
Pack foods in coolers in reverse order so that the last items packed will be the first ones used.
Pack any remaining space in the cooler with ice or nonperishable foods. A full cooler will maintain its low temperature longer than one that is partially full.
Instead of loose ice, consider freezing water in lightweight plastic containers. Placing containers of frozen water in your cooler won’t flood the cooler, and will leave you with a clean supply of cool drinking water post-game.
Chill beer and wine in the fridge the night before, then transfer them into a cooler filled with ice right before leaving for the game. Don’t forget cups (with your team’s logo on them) and ice for soft drinks.