Grilled Chicken "Wings" & Homemade Dipping Sauces1 of 10
Chicken wings may be a tailgate staple, but they aren't doing your body any favors. Mostly made up of skin and fat, wings are deep fried and covered in sauce, packing crazy-high levels of cholesterol, sodium and fat. It's easy to blow your diet right out of the water with this one "appetizer," so swap the wings for some grilled chicken bites on a skewer or as a tender. They're delicious and can easily be dipped into healthier homemade sauces like honey mustard, buffalo dip or blue cheese to save on fat, sodium and calories.
Lettuce "Buns" for Burgers2 of 10
There are a number of reasons you may want to opt out of the traditional burger bun: You might be gluten free, following a keto diet or just watching your carb intake. But ditching that processed white-bread burger bun doesn't mean you have to miss out on a juicy burger. Try a lettuce bun to hold your meat and fixings together instead. Romaine works well, and if you can find a piece large enough to act like a pocket, it'll catch any stray condiments.
Pulled Pork vs. Pulled Chicken3 of 10
While both delicious when marinated and shredded, the nutrition levels of pulled pork and chicken vary when it comes to fat, calories and sodium. You don't have to deny yourself this slow-cooker specialty, but opting for pulled chicken over pulled pork is an easy swap that can save your waistline in the long run. A three-ounce portion of homemade pulled chicken clocks in at around 184 calories and eight grams of fat while the same portion of pulled pork delivers 283 calories and 11 grams of fat.
Loaded Chicken & Veggie Nachos4 of 10
Toss that day-glo yellow nacho "cheese" sauce in the trash and get ready to give that plate of chips a healthy makeover. Instead of loading your plate with ground beef, bacon and that aforementioned sauce, top the chips with pulled chicken, black beans, avocado and chunky salsa. Spice things up with the addition of fresh onion and jalapeno, and you've swapped a total gut bomb for a lighter Tex-Mex treat.
Veggie Chips & Hummus5 of 10
It's super easy to pop open a bag of chips and open a jar of queso, but it's also super easy to chomp your way through thousands of calories in chips and dip without realizing it. Swap those chips for fresh veggies with a side of hummus. Make it easy on yourself by grabbing pre-chopped and washed bags of carrot chips, celery sticks and broccoli florets at your local grocery store, and throw them in the cooler for a much healthier game-day appetizer.
Mediterranean Bean Salad6 of 10
Potato salad has long been a tailgate staple. But when a one-cup serving contains upwards of 357 calories and a whopping 20 grams of fat, this dish can derail your diet quickly. Try a protein-focused option like this Mediterranean bean salad instead.
Chicken or Turkey Dog7 of 10
Hot dogs are a tailgate classic, but these highly processed meats don't offer much nutrition value. Swap that unhealthy dog for a more nutritious alternative that you can still grill, throw in a bun and enjoy at the tailgate with a chicken or turkey dog. If you're beef or bust when it comes to hot dogs, make sure to check the ingredients carefully.
Light Beer & Sparkling Water8 of 10
We know, we know--we aren't going to ask you to give up beer entirely at your tailgate. But you should be choosy about what type of beer (and how many!) you are drinking. Craft beers are indeed delicious, but they often pack a huge caloric punch. Choosing a light beer can save on both carbs and calories. One beverage you should cut out, though? Soda. Stock the cooler instead with sparkling water to get your carbonated fix, sans sugars and chemicals. With its recent popularity, there are endless flavor varieties to tantalize your tastebuds.
Grilled Fruit9 of 10
There's nothing like a sweet treat to round out a delicious tailgate feast, but it's all too easy for one cookie to turn into several. Instead, throw sliced pineapples or peaches on the grill for a caramelized treat that'll satisfy your sweet tooth without derailing your low-sugar goals.