Sub In These Healthy Versions Of Your Classic Football Sunday Treats

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Written By: Taylor Rao

Before the holiday makes your healthy living lifestyle just a little more challenging, football season attempts to do the exact same thing (and for some people, it’s a holiday in itself). On average, 18.6 million Americans tune into Sunday Night Football, and whether you’re watching at home with your S.O. or socializing with a group, there’s always food involved.

The traditional tailgate treats aren’t exactly the healthiest options, either. From buffalo wings and nacho dip to the crowd favorites of pizza and beer, it can be difficult to make healthy choices during four quarters of fall football.

So, consider hosting your weekly get-together at your house or winning MVP out of all the guests by preparing healthy football Sunday snacks that’ll keep you on track, and maybe even convince some unhealthy snackers to join your team.

Sweet Potato Skins

Potato skins are a classic football food, but the “real” version is loaded with carbs and toppings like bacon and sour cream. Instead, you can save calories by substituting a white potato (170 calories) for a sweet potato (106 calories) and swapping sour cream for greek yogurt as a tasty topping.  

This healthy sweet potato skins recipe from Pinch of Yum gets creative with chickpeas, spinach and shallots for bursts of flavor, and it doesn’t skip out on the cheesy goodness by using mozzarella and cream cheese as a substitute for the heavy stuff.

Kale Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip doesn’t sound all that unhealthy, but the version you see at restaurants can amount to nearly 1,600 calories --which is a little much for a pregame. Kale artichoke dip takes the count down to 63 calories per ¼ cup and is a more cost-effective recipe to make at home when you use frozen kale and frozen artichokes to make it.

By replacing regular cheese with reduced fat cream cheese and Greek yogurt, you’ll be feeling super satisfied after snacking on this, and you might even be able to trick your fellow football watchers that this kale artichoke dip recipe is no different than the real thing.

Baked Chicken Wings

Skip the sauce and the fryer, and dive into this easy recipe for baked chicken wings. We all know fried foods simply aren’t that healthy for you, and who needs a fryer when you can get just as much flavor and crispiness from baking your wings instead?

This baked chicken wing recipe only needs a few ingredients: chicken wings, olive oil, garlic, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Once you shake the wings in the mixture of oils and spices, bake at 375 F for an hour (or as long as you need to for your crispiness preference).


Turkey Burger Sliders

If you’re creative in the kitchen and like to give your guests some options to customize their plate, sliders are a crowd-pleaser since they can be done any which way and still be amazing. Choosing a leaner meat like ground turkey instead of hamburger meat is the first step to a healthier slider option, and from there it’s all up to you on how you to choose to load them up.

Instead of cheese, bacon or globs of ketchup, try adding light mayo, like this olive oil mayo from Kraft, slices of avocado to add creaminess and color to your dish, and some red onions for a little extra crunch.

Whole-Grain Veggie Pizza

Cooking with whole-grain pizza dough is one way to feel a little less guilty when snacking on some slices during game time. And if that’s not for you, consider making your own cauliflower pizza crust at home which is even more healthy (just a little bit thinner).

By adding spices to your pizza sauce and loading up your pie with veggies like red peppers, brussel sprouts, onions, and zucchini, you won’t be missing the heavy, “I need a nap” toppings like what’d you get on a meat lover’s pizza or slice of chicken bacon ranch.

Homemade Salsa

If you put the word, “homemade” in front of any dish, chances are the people who are eating it are going to enjoy it even more. Though it’s often easier to buy store-bought items like salsa and chips on your way to a social gathering, spending a little extra time buying fresh ingredients and preparing something unique will score you major brownie points with your friends.

And when it comes to party staples like chips, salsa and guacamole, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be perfecting your own version at home before the big game. This salsa verde recipe is gluten free and vegan --and guaranteed to be a success with a 10-minute prep time and fresh ingredients like cilantro, avocado, tomatillos and jalapeños.

PS: If you want to take it a step further, put down the bag of pre-packed tortilla chips and make your own at home by slicing tortillas into tiny triangles and baking them until they puff and crisp.