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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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A Healthy Game Day Menu

A group of people tailgating.Avoid putting on those extra pounds this football season (without even tasting the difference)! 

Here are some ideas to put a light spin to some classic tailgating foods.


  • Bowl of mixed nuts – Easy to eat and most everyone loves to snack on them. Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Try the lightly salted nuts and you can even make a trail mix out of it by adding some whole grain chex cereal and dark chocolate M&M’s for a sweet twist of antioxidants!
  • Salsa – fresh salsa is a favorite for tailgate parties and it’s loaded with lots of vegetables and herbs. Change it up by trying a pineapple or mango salsa!
  • Hummus – This is a great dip for any party. It’s usually made from ground up garbanzo beans with added spices and flavors. Hummus is a great source of protein and is yummy with veggies or whole wheat pita. There are so many different kinds, find one that you like!
  • Meatballs – This will be a winner at your next football party. Use lean ground beef or ground white meat turkey to make them lean. 
  • 7 Layered Bean Dip – This is always a hit on game day! Going from bottom to top, layer refried beans, cooked black beans, guacamole, light sour cream, salsa, lettuce and sprinkle with tomatoes and olives. This is dip sure to go fast!

Main Course:

  • Veggie Kabobs – Mix up a variety of veggies on skewers, top them with a light glaze and cook these on the grill. Try veggies like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, peppers, squash and zucchini.
  • Grilled Chicken (skinless) or Grilled Shrimp – a tailgating must! Topped with a light glaze, your guests are sure to be your biggest fans.  
  • Chili – Chili is actually healthy if you use lean beef and lots of beans.  With the right amount of spice, this is sure to be a fan favorite!
  • Low Country Boil – This southern classic is an easy one to try.  In a large pot boil red potatoes, corn on the cob, and shrimp. And for the kicker, don’t forget the Cajun spices.

Side Dishes:

  • Roasted Asparagus – Wrap up a small bunch of them in foil with some olive oil and spices. Let them grill for a few minutes until slightly soft.  You can do the same with corn on the cob or your other favorite veggies. 
  • Lightened up Pasta Salad – This is something easy you can make the night before and refrigerate.  Cook some whole grain pasta and chop some of your favorite veggies. Mix both together with your favorite light vinaigrette dressing. Delish!!

Enjoy the crisp fall air as you cheer on your favorite teams this fall!

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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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