Have a winning tailgate with these healthy recipes

4 recipes for a winning—and healthy—game day tailgate

October 21, 2016

It’s football season, and nothing beats a winning tailgate! While many tailgates may be stacked with high-fat wings or salty snacks, there are ways to be more health conscious at your next event. Here are some game-changing recipes from Texas A&M University Health Science Center registered dietitians to keep your tailgate a winning tradition.

Swap the dough with some more veggies for this pizza treat

Zucchini pizza bites


  • 2 large zucchinis (or 1 medium zucchini cut on diagonal)
  • olive oil spray
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup marinara sauce
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
  • Italian seasoning


Slice zucchini into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Spray both sides lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil or grill the zucchini for about two minutes on each side. Top with sauce, cheese and Italian seasoning and broil for an additional minute or two. (Careful not to the burn cheese!)

Servings: 1 • Serving Size: 4 pieces • Calories: 124.8 • Fat: 5.7 g • Protein: 8.2 g • Carb: 10.4 g • Fiber: 3.0 g

Grill your kabobs with veggies for added flavor with less calories

Grilled chicken kabobs


  • 8 (6-inch) bamboo skewers
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 package (1 pound) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in (1-inch) pieces
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into (1-inch) pieces


Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes. In shallow glass or plastic dish or re-sealable food-storage plastic bag, mix onion, garlic, parsley, paprika, pepper flakes, cumin, salt, two tablespoons of the olive oil and lemon juice. Add chicken; turning to coat with marinade. Cover dish or seal bag; refrigerate, turning chicken occasionally, at least one hour to marinate.

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Thread chicken and bell pepper pieces on skewers.

Place kabobs on grill over medium heat. Cook nine to 11 minutes, turning occasionally; brushing with remaining two tablespoons oil, until chicken is no longer pink in center.

Servings: 1 kabob • Calories: 140 • Fat: 9g • Protein: 13g • Carbs: 2 g • Fiber: 0 g

Grilled asparagus is a great side for your main dish

Grilled asparagus with lemongrass garlic rub


  • 1pounds or 24 medium asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


In a small bowl, combine olive oil and spices. Toss asparagus in sealed zippered bag with spice mixture.

Place on an oiled grill rack; cook six minutes or until tender, turning once.

Servings: 1 Calories: 110 • Fat: 7 g • Protein: 4 g: Carbs: 8 g • Fiber: 4 g

What's a tailgate without a burger?

Better Burger


  • 1-pound lean ground turkey or beef (at least 90 percent lean)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pitted green olives (2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Whole-wheat buns
  • ½ tomato sliced (optional)
  • lettuce (optional)


Combine the turkey or beef, olives, parsley, cumin and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix until well incorporated. Shape into four burgers.

Prepare grill. Cook for about five minutes on each side, until cooked through.

Serving suggestion: Serve on whole-wheat buns, garnished with slices of tomato and lettuce, with ketchup and mustard on the side.

Serving: 1 burger


Per Serving:

Calories 145 • Total Fat 4 g • Protein 28 g • Carbs 1.5 g • Fiber 0 g


Per Serving:

Calories 155 • Total Fat 7 g • Protein 22 g • Carbs 1 g • Fiber 0 g

— Dominic Hernandez

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