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8 Healthier Versions of Classic Tailgate Recipes

Sure, we all love to party on game day — but you don't destroy all the progress you've made in the gym. Opt for these lightened-up recipes instead.

Sports are synonymous with salty snacks and fattening fare.

Of course, we're not going to tell you to forgo the tailgate or sit idly while everyone loads their plates with wings and nachos at your buddy's apartment to watch the game.

But we are going to tell you to try these eight lower-calorie options that pack just as much flavor as their fattier alternatives. Bring one or two the next time you head over to a viewing party; or, bring the party to your place. You can whip up all these satisfying eats and no one will be the wiser.

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Instead of Dressing-Drenched Chicken Wings: Make your own coconut chicken tenders with apricot dipping sauce. Dip the raw chicken into a beaten egg, coat with a combination of equal parts breadcrumbs and shredded coconut. Place the chicken on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray, and bake at 400˚F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. For the sauce, mix 1 cup apricot jam and 2 tbsp Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper.

Instead of Regular Chili: Prepare yours with half the beef and twice the beans. Or you can keep the meat-to-bean ratio—just use 100% ground turkey breast.

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Instead of Stuffed Potato Skins Go for homemade sweet potato wedges. Peel 4 medium sweet potatoes. Cut lengthwise into chunks about ½-inch thick. Place on a nonstick baking sheet. Lightly coat with olive oil. Bake at 400˚F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt, if desired, and top with lowfat sour cream.

Instead of Fatty Dips Make “salsamole”—it’s idiot proof. Just mix together 1 cup salsa, 4 smashed avocados, and 2 tbsp each of lime juice and chopped cilantro. Done.

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Instead of Greasy Chips Throw together your own salty, savory alternative. (Fair warning: There are chickpeas involved, but what you’re making ends up spicy, crunchy, and damn delicious. Trust us.) To make them, sauté a 15-oz can of drained chickpeas with 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp cumin for about 2 minutes. Season with salt, then place on nonstick baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes at 400˚F.

Instead of Fatty Burgers Make your patty leaner by mixing together ½ cup canned, drained black beans, 2 tbsp each olive oil and Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp garlic powder into 1lb lean ground beef. Grill and serve on whole-wheat buns. 

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Instead of Overstuffed Hoagies Grab a turkey meatball sub: For the meatballs, combine 1lb ground 100% turkey breast, 1 egg, and ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs. Bake at 375˚F until meatballs are golden brown. Serve in sandwiches with sautéed green pepper, onions, and red sauce.

Instead of Overloaded Nachos Bake your own lower-calorie, higher-protein version. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Spread a layer of baked chips over the sheet, then add 1 cup cooked shredded white meat chicken, ½ cup canned, drained black beans, 1/4 cup chopped onion, crushed red pepper flakes, and ½ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375˚F or until the cheese is melted. Top with salsa.

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