5 Healthier Alternatives for Favorite Tailgating Foods

Couple showing off tickets while enjoying healthier tailgating foods
Impress your game-day friends with healthier tailgating foods with less fat and calorie options.

Traditional tailgating foods taste great, but they can wreak havoc on your health. A single afternoon of tailgating can add up to:

  • 1,200 calories
  • 60 grams of fat
  • 2,000 milligrams of sodium

That’s nothing to cheer about. Enjoy game-day fare without blowing your diet with these healthier options.

Diet-Friendly on Game Day

Here are some healthier tailgating foods to try with family and friends:

Dips/Snacks: Serve a rainbow of crunchy veggies and whole-grain crackers paired with nutrient-packed dips such as guacamole, black bean dip or hummus. For a lower-calorie option, make some fresh pico de gallo for dipping. Olives and nuts are also heart-healthy snacks.

Chicken Wings: Use skinless wings to reduce fat and calories and bake them rather than fry them – or use an air-fryer if you have one. Instead of slathering on bottled Buffalo wing or BBQ sauce filled with sugar, brush wings with a mixture of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and just a pinch of sugar.

Chili: Get all the taste without all the fat by using less meat, more beans and extra veggies, such as sautéed mushrooms, onions and carrots. Other options include nixing the ground beef and instead using chunks of skinless chicken or lean ground turkey as the base. Or make vegetarian chili and up the spice so you won’t miss the meat.

Post-Tailgating Food Options

Want to continue eating healthy after the game? Peer support at an affordable cost is available with our nutrition classes.

Sausages/Hot Dogs: There are plenty of options on shelves these days that don’t contain nitrates, hormones or antibiotics but still taste great. Many are chicken-based, which also cuts down on fat, with flavors ranging from spinach feta and garlic basil to Cajun and spicy jalapeño.

Kebabs: Skewer up chunks of boneless chicken, lean beef or shrimp along with veggies such as bell peppers, mushrooms, pearl onions and zucchini. A simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano adds flavor.

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