Healthy Tailgating Recipes
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
Cheesy Potato Casserole
Rather than using sodium-loaded canned soup, we made our own creamy sauce to update this dish.
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.
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.
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.
Glazed Cocktail Meatballs
These mini meatballs are perfect for holiday parties and tailgating. We made them healthier by forgoing sodium-heavy ingredients like the usual ketchup and chili sauce and including whole-grain bulgur in place of breadcrumbs. You can also serve a larger portion of these meatballs for weeknight dinner. To up the kid-friendly factor, omit the ground red pepper in the glaze and serve with mashed potatoes (à la Swedish meatballs).
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.
Salt-and-Vinegar Boneless "Wings"
The popular potato chip flavor translates fantastically to boneless "wings." OK, admittedly, they're basically chicken fingers, but for game day, we're calling them boneless wings. Be sure to line the baking sheet with parchment paper, as the chicken tends to stick to aluminum foil, even if it's coated with cooking spray.
Smoky Carrot Dogs with Nacho Sauce
We've embellished the humble carrot to mimic the smoky taste and snappy texture of a hot dog. To lend a dairy-free cheesy flavor to plant-based nacho sauce, we use nutritional yeast; look for it in health food stores or well-stocked specialty grocers. Our recipe saves 8g saturated fat over standard cheese dogs without losing any of the flavor.
Loaded Chorizo Nachos
When we say loaded, we mean it. These nachos require a fork for scooping up all the tasty fillings. Building on a foil-lined pan means instant cleanup: Bring the pan right to the table after broiling, and discard the foil after dinner.
Jalapeño Popper Bean Dip
Think beyond tortilla chips for this crowd-pleasing dip. You don't want to deny guests the deliciousness of chips, but those can get a little heavy; supplement with veggie dippers to keep things lighter overall. We suggest mini sweet peppers because their sweetness helps offset the heat of the jalapeños.
Build a healthy "snack dinner" platter with this flavor-packed dip at the center--surround it with crunchy vegetables and whole-wheat flatbread for dipping, and add a tin of oil-packed sardines, olives, nuts, feta cheese, marinated artichokes, and some dried and fresh fruit for a colorful, well-rounded meal.
Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers
Sometimes we want our grilled beef patties to have just a little more oomph. These burgers deliver exactly that and more. Caramelized onions and garlic go into the ground sirloin mixture to keep the burgers moist, followed by a bold hit of ground cumin and smoked paprika for a jolt of flavor.
Creamy Artichoke Dip
This is a creamy, rich, yet healthier riff on the classic—and is great for entertaining. We process half of the artichokes to sneak more veggies into the dip, plus a little tofu to help cut back on cheese and boost protein. Using frozen artichokes instead of canned helps keep sodium in check. Serve each ramekin with different sides—we like a medley of vegetables, crackers, or bread. Or keep it super simple and bake in one larger baking dish.
Open-Faced Meatball Subs
Grab a knife and fork for these mile-high Italian subs.
Goat Cheese Queso Dip with Vegetable Chips
This warm, tangy twist on fundido is perfect with sparkling wine; the bubbles help cut through the richness. We pair with veggie chips, but you can also serve with crudités for a fresher take.
Sheet Pan Beef and Black Bean Nachos
Load up the nachos on a baking sheet, then bring straight to the table for easy serving and a great presentation. While we love melted shredded cheese, we found that it makes the nachos a bit unwieldy. Instead, a creamy cheese sauce coats each chip and makes it easier to separate from the pack. Topping potential is endless, but we like sliced avocado and jalapeño.
Family-Style Meatball "Fondue"
We're using the term "fondue" loosely; the idea is that everyone scoops into a skillet of cheesy meatballs with hearty bread slices. The meatballs are more tender than traditional versions because they don't include breadcrumbs; we like the softer texture for this type of dish, where you want them to give way easily on the bread.
Smashed Double Cheeseburger Sliders
Shredded Chicken and Avocado Nacho Salad
Dinner doesn't get any easier than this five-ingredient salad. And it's bursting with Super Bowl Sunday potential.
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.
Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs
When Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard are exchanged for mayo, this party favorite becomes instantly healthier.
To keep these portable snacks from turning on their sides when serving, use a deviled egg tray.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Good news! Because fresh herbs are increasingly available, you can make this tangy, peppery dip year-round.
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
This traditionally high-fat nibble got a lighter makeover to make it much healthier and using smaller potatoes keeps these bites portion-controlled.
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
Make quick and easy appetizer pinwheels with sandwich bread, cream cheese and prepared pesto.
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.