Score Brownie Points with Healthy Tailgating Options

Sports fan or not, football season is the perfect excuse for a little pre-game soiree. On the more troubling side, it can also signal the transition from a summer of healthy eating into a fall of high-calorie chips, dips and other guilty pleasures.

If that concerns you, here are some ways to keep the flavor but add a healthy twist to your tailgating favorites.

  • Got a craving for sausage on the grill? Try any of the newest lines of chicken and turkey sausage—less fat, fewer calories, but lots of options for flavors and varieties.
  • Try guacamole instead of nacho cheese. Unlike processed cheese, which is loaded with fat, sodium and artificial ingredients, guacamole is good for you. Part of the green fruit category, one-fifth of a Hass avocado has 50 calories and 20 different vitamins and minerals. Make your own fresh guacamole with ripe avocados, tomatoes, minced onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper.
  • Nosh on in-shell pistachios instead of pretzels. They’re a top pick for taste, and they’re packed with protein and fiber to keep you full longer.
  • Dip your veggies and pita chips in flavored hummus instead of ranch. Made with low-fat, protein-packed chickpeas, hummus is a healthy dip alternative.
  • Drink light beer over mixed drinks. Beer is the fifth food group for football parties, and there are some super-light options that you can enjoy with no guilt. Some ultra-light beers contain fewer than 70 calories a bottle. Regular beer has 150, and mixed drinks can pack in hundreds of calories per drink. However you choose to toast your team, alternate it with water to stay hydrated.
  • When it comes to sweets, try healthy desserts like fruit kabobs with a fat-free frozen topping. If you stick with brownies and cookies, replace the butter or margarine with no-sugar-added applesauce.

And, of course, always check out before you plan your menu to make sure you have the latest coupons for your all your tailgating needs.