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Healthiest Foods to Bring to a Tailgate

Healthiest Foods to Bring to a Tailgate

Nothing brings more happiness than spending time with friends and family on the day of a big game. With all of the excitement, it is easy to forget about eating healthy and limiting alcohol intake. Healthy food preparation is key.

Click here for the Healthiest Foods to Bring to a Taligate slideshow.

I spoke with Lori Zanini, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and certified diabetes educator, about ways to stay healthy and still have fun at a tailgate. Before indulging, it is helpful to fill up on nutrient-dense foods. Zanini suggests fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains as part of a health-inspired tailgate.

“Fruits and veggies are refreshing, low calorie, low fat, and full of fiber and antioxidants,” Zanini says. “Lean proteins are great options to bring because they keep you full throughout the game and will stop you from running to the concession stand.”

The good news is that tailgates are a perfect opportunity to stay active, so don’t just hover around the snack table. Take advantage of the outdoor setting by playing games, tossing a football, and walking around.

It’s not necessary to deprive yourself of certain treats, but there are ways to avoid overindulging. “Choose to munch on the fruits and vegetables first, then enjoy a little bit of the other stuff,” Zanini says. “This will help fill you up and make it less tempting to overindulge on the snacks that are high in fat or sugar.”

Cold Salads


Create something you actually want to eat so that you are not tempted by everything else. Make your salad different and flavorful. “Get creative with different veggies, grains, and legumes,” Zanini says. “Whole grains provide essential nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, protein, and fiber.”

Crock-Pot Pulled Chicken Sandwiches on Whole-Wheat Buns


“Lean proteins are great options to bring because they keep you full throughout the game and prevent you from running to the concession stand,” Zanini says. The combination of lean protein from the chicken and whole grains from the bun will keep you satisfied.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.


11 Healthier Football Snacks to Bring to Your Game-Day Shindig

If there's one thing I love about football season, it's all of the game-day festivities that go along with it—truth be told, the game itself just might be my least favorite part of the whole to-do. Even for us non-sports people, Sundays are a great excuse to socialize, partake in some good old-fashioned team spirit, and most importantly, eat some really, really good food.

Trouble is, the vast majority of classic football apps are pretty high in fat and calories, and nutritious choices are often few and far between. Of course, there's a time and a place to indulge, but when I'm trying to stick to my healthy eating goals, I find that I'm usually S.O.L. when it comes to game-day spreads.

FWIW, neither fat nor foods high in calories are inherently bad for you, it’s just that I like having lower-fat and lower-calorie options available to keep me from going overboard on both. Your preferences and goals might be different I’ve included a few low-carb and lower-sugar recipes if that’s more your style. Regardless, the recipes I picked here are tasty and nutritious, so hopefully you'll find something you—and your tailgating crew—will enjoy.

In order to make sure there's something somewhat healthy on hand, I always contribute a healthier version of a crowd-pleasing dish to whatever gathering I'm going to. Often, nobody even catches on to the changes. Whether your team wins or loses, these 11 recipes always come out on top. They're lighter on high-calorie ingredients like cheese, cream, and bacon, and there are plenty of veggies and lean proteins in the mix.