The Ultimate Healthy Tailgate Party Guide

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

You’ve got color-coordinated decorations and outfits to cheer on your team, and invites out to all your friends. But you’re thinking that maybe this weekend’s tailgate party should be a little different from usual – maybe it should be a little healthier. Instead of serving a big bag of chips, overstuffed sandwiches, and chicken wings slathered in sauce, what other party goodies are fun and healthy – and still taste good?

Tailgate Party Makeover

Double Coverage Chips and Salsa

Instead of serving nachos with high-calorie cheese and guacamole, switch to the popular duo – baked chips with salsa – and reap a healthy reward of tomato-based antioxidants.

  • Calories saved: 100 – 200
  • Nutrients added: Lycopene and Vitamin A

Hurry Up Teriyaki Chicken Skewer

Instead of serving traditional BBQ chicken wings – which are loaded with high-fat skin and not much healthy meat, try grilling skewers of skinless chicken breast meat with teriyaki sauce. These skewers are easy to grill and easy to eat.

  • Calories saved: 300 – 400

Touchdown Hearty Chili Bowl

Instead of cream-based clam chowder, score some points with your friends with a pot of warming chili made with hearty beans and extra-lean ground beef.

  • Calories saved: 150 – 250
  • Nutrients added: Fiber, folic acid, and various minerals

Shotgun Sandwich

Sandwiches can be very healthy, but not when you slather them with mayonnaise and load them up with layers of salami and cheese. Completely make over your party sandwiches by choosing whole grain bread and low-fat deli cuts like roast beef or turkey. And go easy on the mayonnaise and spreads – you’ll hardly even notice the difference but you’ll save a lot of calories and fat. Try low-fat mayo or spreads, or better yet, choose calorie-free mustard.

  • Calories saved: 150 – 250
  • Nutrients added: Fiber, B vitamins, and magnesium

Sideline Fruit Kabob

Instead of chocolate chip cookies, try serving cut-up fruits like melons, apples, and grapes on kabobs. To add some zest, serve fruit yogurt on the side as a dip.

  • Calories saved: 100 – 200
  • Nutrients added: Fiber, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and probiotics

Extra Tricks to Trim Your Tailgate Party’s Calories and Fat

  • Replace regular beer with light beer to save 30 – 50 calories per can
  • Replace butter-style microwave popcorn with light/low-fat popcorn and save ~ 50 calories per package


healthy snacks, party, tailgate


What type of ground sugar do you use in cooking most often?

Smart Carbohydrates for Athletes

How Much Caffeine Is Really In Your Soda?

Leave a Comment