Healthy Tailgating Recipes

Score big points for your waistline with these lightened versions of  classic tailgating recipes and hearty football fare.

  • Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites
    Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro, Laura Zapalowski

    Tailgating Gone Light

    There's no need to sacrifice your favorite tailgating recipes just because you're trying to eat healthy. Enjoy the bold flavors of chicken wings, deviled eggs, potato salad, chili, and cupcakes without any guilt. These recipes have the same great flavor as their traditional counterparts but with a fraction of the fat and calories.


    First up, we have Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites. These bite-sized appetizers are steeped in a mixture of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, citrus, and honey for the perfect punch of protein on game day!


    Recipe: Honey-Ginger Chicken Bites

  • <p>Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites</p>

    Lemon-Caper Parmesan Potato Salad Bites

    Turn "jacket potatoes" into irresistible potato salad bites. Capers offer a twist on traditional relish; they're actually pickled flower buds and add bright, briny flavor to this appetizer.
  • Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs
    Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Robyn Valarik

    Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs

    When Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard are exchanged for mayo, this party favorite becomes instantly healthier.
  • Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips
    Oxmoor House

    Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips

    By making your own potato chips, you can greatly reduce the amount of calories, fat content and sodium. Use Russet or Idaho baking potatoes for these chips.
  • Five-Layer Dip
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Five-Layer Dip

    This popular party dip gets a face-lift with a few simple changes. Keep fat and calories to a minimum by swapping whole-kernel corn for the customary layer of ground beef.
  • Deviled Eggs
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Deviled Eggs

    To keep these portable snacks from turning on their sides when serving, use a deviled egg tray.
  • Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries
    Oxmoor House

    Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries

    These savory Parmesan-Crusted Zucchini Fries are less than 100 calories, so go ahead and splurge on their cheesy, garlicky goodness.
  • Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip
    Oxmoor House

    Tex-Mex Beef and Bean Dip

    You can make this party dip ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Chipotle chile powder is spicy, so adjust the amount to suit your taste.
  • Creamy Ranch-Style Dip
    Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross

    Creamy Ranch-Style Dip

    What’s a tailgate without ranch dressing? Make your own and save on calories, fat, and sodium. Serve this dip with baby carrots, broccoli florets, or other fresh vegetables.
  • Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños
    Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver

    Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños

    The rich and creamy combination of bacon, cream cheese, and cheddar nicely contrasts the muted spice of grilled jalapeño peppers. This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried version.
  • Microwave Sweet Potato Chips
    Photo: Romulo Yanes; Styling: Paige Hicks

    Microwave Sweet Potato Chips

    Simple, easy, and at less than 50 calories per serving, what’s not to love about these Microwave Sweet Potato Chips? You’ll want to go ahead and make two or three batches because they’ll disappear before you even know it.
  • Peanut Butter Hummus with Cucumber Dippers
    Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

    Peanut Butter Hummus with Cucumber Dippers

    Packed with protein and full of flavor, this Peanut Butter Hummus is the perfect alternative to unhealthy store-bought dips this tailgating season.
  • Caramel-Toffee Dip
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Caramel-Toffee Dip

    Store bought goodies are often laden with sugar and fat. For a healthy option, serve this slightly sweet Caramel-Toffee Dip with apples slices or graham crackers.
  • Sour Cream and Onion Dip
    Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Sour Cream and Onion Dip

    Looking for a healthier chip dip? Give this Sour Cream and Onion Dip a try and swap out greasy chips for oven-baked pita Looking for a healthier chip dip? Give this Sour Cream and Onion Dip a try and swap out greasy chips for oven-baked pita chips or crunchy veggies, like celery, bell peppers, and carrots. chips or crunchy veggies, like celery, bell peppers, and carrots.
  • Double-Chocolate Cupcakes
    Randy Mayor; Cindy Barr

    Double-Chocolate Cupcakes

    For a fourth quarter treat, give these rich, chocolatey cupcakes a try. Not only are they packed with antioxidants, they are lower in fat and calories than their store–bought counterparts.
  • Zesty Green Goddess Dip
    Photo: John Autry

    Zesty Green Goddess Dip

    Good news! Because fresh herbs are increasingly available, you can make this tangy, peppery dip year-round.
  • <p>Tzatziki</p>


    This is a traditional Greek dish that combines cucumber and yogurt. The ingredient piment d'Espelette is a French variety of mild ground chile.
  • Ham and Cheddar Potato Skins

    Ham and Cheddar Potato Skins

    This traditionally high-fat nibble got a lighter makeover to make it much healthier and using smaller potatoes keeps these bites portion-controlled.
  • Sausage Mushroom Caps
    Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: Dan Becker

    Sausage Mushroom Caps

    These sausage-stuffed mushrooms are the perfect 1-bite party food and are always a crowd pleaser. Use spicy sausage for more kick
  • Pico de Gallo
    Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Katherine Eckert

    Pico de Gallo

    Pico de Gallo is best when made the day you plan to serve it. Prepare it early the morning of the tailgate enjoy with chips that day.
  • Creamy Pesto Pinwheels
    Photo: Ryan Benyi; Styling: Stephana Bottom

    Creamy Pesto Pinwheels

    Make quick and easy appetizer pinwheels with sandwich bread, cream cheese and prepared pesto.
  • White Bean and Turkey Chili
    Randy Mayor

    White Bean and Turkey Chili

    When the temperature starts to drop, a warm bowl of this hearty chili does just the trick to put you in the football mood. Transfer the chili to your tailgate in a slow–cooker and keep it warm in there throughout the day. Substituted chopped cooked chicken for the turkey, if desired.
  • Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing

    Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing

    With flavors from salty bacon, caramelized onions, oven-roasted potatoes, and tangy Dijon mustard, no one will ever guess that this recipe is light. Make the potato salad before the game, store it in an airtight container and then pack it in your cooler until it's time to eat. The recipe makes 8 cups, so double it if you're serving a big crowd.
  • Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Cajun Oven-Fried Chicken

    Ditch the bucket of cold, greasy chicken and load up on these extra–crispy chicken breasts, drumsticks, and thighs. If you want a spicier kick, add a few drops of hot sauce to the buttermilk coating. If you prefer chicken fingers, you can use this same coating mixture on boneless chicken tenders.
  • Barbecue Pork-and-Coleslaw Hoagies

    Barbecue Pork-and-Coleslaw Hoagies

    Transport the slaw, pork, and rolls separately and allow fellow fans to assemble their sandwiches at the tailgate. Making your own creamy slaw results in less fat and calories than a store–bought counterpart.
  • Potato-Sour Cream Biscuits

    Potato-Sour Cream Biscuits

    For those early morning games, stuff these biscuits with ham and pair with a Bloody Mary to kick off the game-day festivities.
  • Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs

    Potato flakes add bulk to the filling so you can use less yolk and decrease the overall fat, calories, and cholesterol. The shrimp, bacon, and parsley add extra color and flavor, resulting in an impressive finish.
  • Spicy Black Bean Hummus
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Spicy Black Bean Hummus

    Black beans are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, and iron, so you don't have to worry about empty calories when you dip into this spicy hummus. Serve with baked pita chips or carrot and celery sticks.
  • Guacamole with Chipotle Tortilla Chips
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Guacamole with Chipotle Tortilla Chips

    Making your own chips gives you the same crunchy flavor without all of the fat of regular tortilla chips. These chipotle–flavored chips highlight the fresh ingredients in the guacamole. Serve guacamole for a creamy dip that is rich in heart-healthy fats.
  • White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Oatmeal Cookies
    Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

    White Chocolate, Strawberry, and Oatmeal Cookies

    Stud these cookies with white chocolate morsels and dried strawberries for a flavorful twist on the traditional oatmeal cookie. Pack the cookies tins to keep them fresh and prevent them from crumbling on the drive to the game.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
    Photo: Mark Thomas; Styling: Gerri Williams

    Stuffed Mushrooms

    These tasty pop-em-in-your-mouth Stuffed Mushrooms are the perfect way to kick off any party

Next Gallery

  1. Enter at least one ingredient