What’s Cooking — Score With Healthy Tailgating Favorites

Share:
Photo: Wingwire.com

Photo: Wingwire.com

Football season, for a big chunk of the country this is serious business. Whether you’re tailgating for hours in the parking lot or casually hanging out with friends at home, everyone can agree that snacks are just as critical as the game itself. We’ve found the following recipes to bring a healthier twist to your game-day favorites, meaning you can fuel up…without over-inflating.

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Photo: Twopeasandtheirpod.com

Photo: Twopeasandtheirpod.com

First off, chili. A hot bowl of chili is the perfectly delicious solution when you need to feed a crowd . This turkey chili offers a leaner approach to its traditional beef counterpart, along with a nice nutritional boost of beans and veggies. The best part? While some healthier recipes can water it down or dramatically alter the flavor, this is a healthy alternative that tastes as great as the original.

Lightened-Up Seven-Layer Dip

Photo: Popsugar.com

Photo: Popsugar.com

This is the gift that keeps on giving: flavorful, creamy and always welcome at a party. This lighter version of seven-layer dip swaps out refried beans and sour cream for healthier options, such as greek yogurt and mashed avocado. And while I’m sure you could dig in with only determination and a spoon, whip up some easy baked tortilla chips to act as the perfect, non-fried vessel.

Oven Roasted Chicken Wings

Photo: Thekitchn.com

Photo: Thekitchn.com

As a former Buffalonian I know my way around a wing. What I also know, as you do, is that gorging on buttery fried meat isn’t the best activity to practice weekly. When you’re ready to ditch the deep fryer, try these easy oven-roasted chicken wings. Rest assured that still they’ll have all of the crispiness and flavor of the original recipe, just in a more snack-able form.

Vegan Chipotle Sliders

Photo: Simpleseasonal.com

Photo: Simpleseasonal.com

Why should meat hog all the best seasonings? These burgers may be the healthier option, but the smoky chipotle flavor will have you coming back for seconds (and maybe thirds). Soy beans and flax seeds are the magicians responsible for making these vegan sliders look so great, especially when paired with a tasty chipotle avocado lime mayo. Fill up on something nutritiously tasty that the whole crowd can enjoy!

Chicken and Veggie Skewers

Photo: Jennysteffens.blogspot.com

Photo: Jennysteffens.blogspot.com

The beauty of skewers is that they can be made ahead, quickly grilled for a crowd, and easily eaten without utensils. The bonus dose of goodness comes from the protein and nutrient-packed elements of a chicken and veggie kebab.  And if you’re a diehard for smoky flavor, try marinating the chicken in your favorite barbecue sauce beforehand. You can snack with one hand and make angry gestures at the game with the other!

Spicy Roasted Nut Mix

Photo: Yummyhealthyeasy.com

Photo: Yummyhealthyeasy.com

Sometimes you just want something to absentmindedly nibble on, and spicy mix delivers. Trail mixes can be loaded with chocolate or other excessive sweets; this alternative lets you save room for dessert and get a protein boost of tastiness. Just toss raw mixed nuts in a spice mix (including sweet elements like cinnamon) and egg whites, and bake until crispy perfection is achieved.

Almond Butter Oat Cookie Bars

Photo: Kristineskitchenblog.com

Photo: Kristineskitchenblog.com

And finally, my favorite part of any gathering: dessert! Cookie bars are portable and easily divided, and not to mention probably a universal crowd-pleaser. And while they’ll never be at the top of the healthy list, the almond butter and oats in these cookie bars curb the guilt found in other recipes. So yes, you can celebrate with one per touchdown.

Hope you’re ready to enjoy the lighter side of tailgating! Have any other healthy alternatives to popular game-day foods? Share them in the comments!

 
  • Lauren – thanks so much for featuring my vegan sliders. This is such a great post idea!

  • Vanessa Londono

    I’m not really into football but I’ll show up anywhere for some 7-layer dip!