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Enjoy game-day fare without blowing your diet with these healthier options.

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Traditional game-day 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 and 2,000 milligrams of sodium or more. That’s nothing to cheer about.

Here are some healthier alternatives for some of your game-day favorites:

  • 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 frying 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.
  • 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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Date Last Reviewed: August 7, 2019

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RD

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