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Healthy Tailgating Treats

Are you ready for some football? If you are like me, you are certainly ready for Game Day FOOD!

I often enjoy foods that are conducive to mindless eating. To avoid calorie overload, I simply cook with the right ingredients, so I can indulge, guilt-free.

Here are a few highlights from my repertoire of healthy tailgating treats. Each fits the bill for being delicious and nutritious!

Remember: use the proper equipment to keep foods at safe temperatures when tailgating (140°F or warmer for hot foods and 40°F or below for cold foods).

Beer Chicken Drumsticks (Hold the Sauce)

Makes: 12 servings

Prep Time: <5 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 4.75 pounds of chicken drumsticks, with bone and skin
  • 12 ounces lager (preferably a dark lager)
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all spices. Add chicken drumsticks and coat thoroughly with the rub.
  3. Assemble all in a deep baking dish and pour in lager.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes, or until cooked through, turning over once.
  5. When ready to eat, reheat drumsticks on the grill!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 134 Calories, 6 g Fat (1.5 g Sat), 260 mg Sodium, 59 mg Cholesterol, 1 g Carbohydrate, <1 g Fiber, 14 g Protein

Spicy Bean & Butternut Squash Chili (Minus the Beef)


Makes: 10 Servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, low-sodium, rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, low-sodium, rinsed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, chopped into ½-inch thick pieces
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 fluid ounce red wine
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped
  • 1 small Spanish onion
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • ½ tablespoon garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • ½ tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper


  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil, garlic, onion and chopped peppers over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 4 cups of water, red wine, and rice. Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover.
  3. Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Return to a rolling boil and cover incompletely to let some steam escape from the pot.
  4. Continue to cook for about 25 minutes or until squash softens.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and basil towards and serve!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 270 Calories, 3.5 g Fat (<1 g Fat), 0 mg Cholesterol, 347 mg Sodium, 50 g Carbohydrate, 10 g Fiber, 10 g Protein

Nacho Dip (Sans Sour Cream)

Makes: 6 Servings

Prep Time: <5 minutes

Total Time: 17 minutes


  • 1 (16-ounce) can of spicy refried beans, fat-free
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese, Mexican blend
  • 4.5 ounces green chiles, chopped
  • 1 (12-ounce) tub of Greek yogurt, plain, nonfat

Optional: 1 teaspoon of hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a 7 x 11-inch (2-quart) baking dish, layer ingredients in the following order from bottom to top: Greek yogurt, refried beans, and shredded cheese.
  3. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble.
  4. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and serve with tortilla chips!

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 137 Calories, 4 g Fat (2 g Sat), 510 mg Sodium, 10 mg Cholesterol, 13 g Carbohydrate, 3.5 g Fiber, 13 g Protein

Article originally published on the Pathmark Wellness Blog



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