4 Mouthwatering (but Guilt-Free!) Tailgate Treats

As football season commences, I’m planning game day watch-a-thons with my dad, who’s a diehard fan of all things sports. Like many other families, we can’t have a social event without being surrounded by awesome food, and being a football fan often means tailgating four days per week. You can see how this can be a setup for a diet disaster, but delicious tailgating food doesn’t have to weigh you down. Here are four recipes for the new football season that are sure to keep you healthy and energized while you cheer on your favorite team!

  1. Spicy Sweet Potato Dip

    Warning: this stuff is addicting! I cooked my sweet potato in the microwave to reduce cooking and clean up time. I like to serve it with pretzel thins or some veggie sticks. In 10 minutes, you’ll have the perfect zesty dip for your tailgate.

  2. Touchdown Taco Salad

    I skipped the beef, but instead heated up the black beans, pepper Jack cheese and salsa in a sauce pan over low heat. I also added corn, shredded carrots and some diced avocado for extra color.

    Touchdown Taco Salas

  3. Slow Cooker Chili

    To me, chili is the quintessential football food. This protein-packed chili is sure to satisfy with beans (I chose tri-beans which include black, pinto and kidney) and lean ground beef. I topped each bowl with some fat free sour cream and cheddar cheese, which will add creaminess to complement the bold flavors. You can make this a day in advance to make your game day a little less stressful.

    Slow Cooker Chili

  4. French Onion Beef Sandwiches

    My slow cooker was already occupied by the chili above, so I nixed the brisket. Instead, I chose deli roast beef and did everything in one skillet. I made this recipe in 15 minutes, which allowed me to keep focus on my team. I also opted for whole wheat slider buns so my guests can enjoy all the day’s yummy menu items guilt-free.

    French Onion Beef Sandwiches

    Here are my steps:

    • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onions and a dash of salt. Cook for a few minutes until translucent.
    • Add about a quarter cup of reduced sodium beef broth to the pan, then add a package of deli roast beef. Heat the beef through, tossing often. Top with dried thyme as the original recipe suggests.
    • Cut Swiss cheese slices into quarters. Add a piece of cheese, one slice of roast beef, and some onions to a slider bun, and in no time, you’ve got delicious sandwiches to pass around!
By Sarah Ryan, MS, RDN, LD

Sarah is a registered dietitian nutritionist and foodie. She has a special interest in sports nutrition and is certified in food allergy training. When she isn't working, you can find her in the kitchen baking delicious cakes and beautiful pies. Learn more about Sarah

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