10 Healthy Tailgating Recipes

Football is back! Keep your diet in check with these healthy tailgating recipes.

Tailgating outside Gillette. Go Pats! Tailgating photo via Shutterstock.

Tailgating outside Gillette. Go Pats! Tailgating photo via Shutterstock.

Football is back! For some, it’s time for free-flowing beer, greasy hotdogs, and artery-clogging, neon orange nacho cheese sauce. Step away from those calorie-fests and try these healthy and energy-packed dishes that will keep your spirits up for the whole game no matter how poorly your team performs. The recipes below work for both parking lot tailgating and at-home watch parties. And with recipes like these, no one will be asking for a plain old burger or wings.

1. Turkey Chili
via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Around midseason, a hearty chili is a must have for those wintry night games. This turkey chili is loaded with veggies and slow-cooked, plus it’s super convenient because it can be made a day or two in advance and then reheated for the game. If you like some heat in your game day chili, try topping your bowl with freshly sliced jalapeños.

2. Kansas City Barbecued Chicken
via Cooking Light

Smoking chicken is a lean way to cook chicken. This recipes uses skin on chicken leg quarters, but removing the skin before applying the dry rub will yield chicken that’s healthier, but just a delicious. This link also includes a recipe for a dry rub and a barbecue sauce.

3. Turkey Bratwurst Patties
via Cooking Light

Regular beef brats are too fatty, but by swapping in lean ground turkey or chicken, you’ll cut calories and fat. This recipe cooks the brat-burgers in a skillet but you can also cook them on the grill.

4. Bean, Corn, and Avocado Salad
via Fashion Edible

Leave the bottle of salsa at home and use this bright fresh salad for dip. This would also be a good topper for the turkey chili or use as a side salad on its own. If you like a little extra juice with your salsa, try adding a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar and toss to coat.

5. Orzo Salad with Marinated Mushrooms and Edamame
via Cooking Light

Orzo is pasta the size of rice. It’s a great ingredient for pasta salads because it can beef up a dish without being the main component. In this recipe, the homemade marinated mushrooms and edamame (steamed soy beans) make up most of the salad. Try adding cucumbers, radishes, or even spinach for added texture and flavor.

6. No Bake Peanut Butter Popcorn
via Hungry Gems

Here’s a healthy snack to munch on while the meat is on the grill. The peanut butter is mixed with a little agave syrup for a hint of sweetness and then tossed in air-popped popcorn. There’s no butter or oil in this recipe, so don’t feel guilty digging in.

7. Smoked Spicy Chicken
via Fitness magazine

This recipe calls for a bottle of dark beer and while that might not seem like a healthy dish ingredient, have no fear, 12 ounces of dark beer is only about 170 calories. Try roasting the chicken with the skin on and then removing it after cooking. That way, the chicken will be moist and flavorful.

8. Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips
via Yum Sugar

If you haven’t tried kale chips, prepare to have your mind blown. These chips are made by baking the kale with a little oil and vinegar and then finished off with a dash of salt. Make these chips the morning of the game to ensure they stay crisp.

9. Lemon-Herb Hummus
via Passports and Pancakes

Hummus is a great addition to any tailgating party, and the delicious chickpea spread goes with everything. You can use it on pita chips, on a burger, or as a dip for vegetables. The best part is that because hummus is dairy-free, it’ll last on a hot a day.

10. Slaw with Fresh Herbs
via Pixels + Crumbs

To finish off our tailgating spread, we like a tangy and bright coleslaw. This recipe uses lime juice for freshness and pine nuts for a meaty crunch. This is another dairy free recipe that can survive the heat without going bad.

If this is your idea of tailgating, you need the above recipes. Burger image via shutterstock

If this is your idea of tailgating, you need the above recipes. Burger image via shutterstock