Say Goodbye to Summer, and Hello to Fall

Labor Day is upon us. The last Summer holiday. For many of us, this sparks the end of holiday vacations until Thanksgiving in November. Though we’re sad to see summer go, we’re happy to usher in the fall months. In the South, Fall means football and tailgating.

No matter which team you’re cheering on this season, we’ve got you covered with some healthy tips for your tailgate.

1. Bake it; don’t fry it. The number one go-to snack at any tailgating party is chicken wings. Swap out those fried buffalo wings for a tasty buffalo chicken bite, and your guests will be none the wiser that they’re eating a healthy snack. Simply combine shredded chicken with buffalo sauce, low-fat or nonfat cream cheese, and green onions; roll the mixture into a ball, coat with panko breadcrumbs, and bake until crispy. Serve with celery sticks and blue-cheese yogurt dip. If you really want to shock your guests, try buffalo cauliflower bites.

2. Not-cho regular nachos. Instead of nachos loaded with beef, cheese, and sour cream, try veggie-loaded nachos. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef; add diced zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and spices. Line reduced-fat tortilla chips on a baking sheet, add your veggie and meat mixture, and sprinkle on 2% Mexican-blended cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Instead of sour cream, top with Greek yogurt. If you’re like me and you have to have sour cream, try reduced-fat sour cream for a more-healthy option. If you want to go really healthy, instead of tortilla chips with your nachos, use pita chips or sweet potato chips.

3. Game-day chili. When it starts to get colder outside, chili is a great football snack. To make chili more healthy, simply use lean ground beef (97% lean meat) or ground turkey. Swap out canned tomatoes and beans with fresh ones, or use low-sodium canned versions, and top with reduced-fat cheese.

4. Flatbread pizza. If wings are the number one go-to game-day snack, then pizza is a close second. Pizza is a great game-day snack and easy to make healthy. Simply swap out that regular crust for flatbread, and use lean meats or only veggies for a more-healthy pizza option. If flatbread is not an option, whole-wheat crust can also be used. Top your pizza with part-skim mozzarella and fresh herbs like basil and parsley for a flavorful but lower-fat slice.

By making simple changes, you can make your tailgate a healthy one. Any recipe can be made into a healthy option by using leaner meats and reduced-fat cheeses and adding veggies and fresh herbs and spices. This season, make your tailgate a guilt-free one.