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It’s fall, and that means football. As if by magic NFL games, college teams, and even Fantasy leagues are filling up your Facebook timeline.

But let’s be honest, one of the highlights of football season is getting together with friends to tailgate with a huge spread of tasty dishes: wings, chips and creamy dips, fried chicken, biscuits and desserts. Tasty? Sure. But not exactly a recipe for health. We’re here to help you sideline some of the extra portions and stick with satisfying options that won’t make you feel like an offensive lineman.

Try any of these 6 recipes that are guaranteed to score you points with all your guests and keep you feeling light on your feet:

  • Oven “fried” chicken – Your guests will hardly know the difference between deep fried chicken and this lighter oven “fried” version. With all the crunch and flavor you expect, you may never have to stand over a hot fryer again.
  • Potato salad – Vinegar based potato salads can be a delicious substitute for mayo-based versions. Try this flavorful version anytime you want a side dish that everyone loves.
  • Deviled Eggs – Forget the old preconceived notions about eggs – they really are the perfect food. The combination of healthy fat, brain-boosting nutrients and filling protein, you’ll be less likely to overeat when you snack on a few of these early in the afternoon. This fun recipe includes thinly sliced chives placed on top to look like football laces.
  • Roasted garbanzo beans – This crunchy snack also comes with a little kick. A great finger food with lots of protein, fiber and nutrients, consider making these and keeping them on hand any time of the year.
  • Chips and Dip – For starters, you can’t beat the classic and healthy bowls of guacamole and salsa. Avocado is a known weight loss aid. For a more substantial dip, try this healthy 7 layer dip, which uses yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Instead of the classic tortilla chip, vary your chip selection with bean chips (they taste like corn chips but have more fiber and protein, look for Beanitos), plantain chips (these taste like potato chips) and vegetable chips, like Terra brand, found in most stores.
  • Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal and Dark Chocolate bars – A sweet finisher to your meal doesn’t have to be fat free. The hallmark of a healthy dessert is surprisingly a high fat:sugar ratio – low fat, high sugar desserts will send your blood sugar soaring and increase insulin levels (which make us store fat). Sugar also makes us crave more sugar while fat satisfies us quickly and can actually help us lose weight – as long as it’s natural, unprocessed fat like the kind found in nuts. Use almond butter instead of peanut butter for even more health benefits. Using oats instead of refined flour typically found in brownies and cookies is also a bonus. A small piece of this delicious dessert goes a long way and you can feel even better knowing you’re getting some extra antioxidants from the dark chocolate.

Enjoy the game and let us know which one of these recipes is your new tailgate favorite!

Veronica Verhoff

About Veronica Verhoff

Veronica is our BCBSNC's onsite nutritionist who helps people address many health concerns, such as allergies, high cholesterol, diabetes and weight management. Her passion for nutrition led her to teach biochemistry at the graduate level. She takes time to explain how different foods play a role in your ability to lose weight and prevent disease. She has worked alongside many physicians and with people of all sizes and walks of life. She is committed to helping people achieve their goals. MPH, RD, LDN – Registered Dietitian