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Score Big At Your Football Party With Healthier Spins On Classics

Diabetes-friendlier recipes for the big game

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

To say this Sunday’s football game is a big deal would be putting it mildly. Whether you’re a sports fan or not, the Sunday that crowns a football champ has essentially become a national holiday. Even if you don’t know a screen pass from a chop block, football parties can be fun for everyone.

So today, I wanted to share a couple of tasty recipes that provide a healthier alternative to some football party classics. But before we jump into them, let’s take a quick look at some fun gameday food facts from Yummly:

Did you know…

  • Super Sunday is the second biggest food consumption day in the U.S., behind only Thanksgiving
  • Football fans are estimated to eat around 69.6 million pounds of avocados
  • 15,400 tons of chips and 4,000 tons of popcorn are eaten
  • An estimated 90 million pounds of chicken wings, or 450 million individual wings, will also be consumed

Last year the game averaged 111 million viewers on television, so it’s safe to assume that plenty of you will be watching the big game this year. So whether you’re living with diabetes or just trying to eat a bit healthier during the game, I thought it might be nice to have some friendlier options to choose from.

Gameday Recipe Showdown

In an effort to choose recipes that might appeal to both genders, I invited my friend and colleague, Gipper Monson, to give me a hand. As you’ll see below, we each chose a recipe that plays off of a crowd favorite that should appeal to the masses. The kicker here (pun intended) is that these dishes are healthier than their traditional counterparts!

My Pick: Touchdown Taco Salad


1 1/2 lb extra lean (95%) ground beef
1 1/2 cup (6 oz) shredded nonfat Cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 cup salsa, divided into two parts
8 cups salad greens
1 cup chopped tomato
1 1/2 cup black beans (if canned, rinse and drain)
40 baked tortilla chips (optional)


1. Brown beef in large non-stick skillet; remove from heat.
2. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese and 1/4 cup salsa; mix until blended. Spoon onto serving platter.
3. In a large bowl, toss together salad greens, tomatoes, black beans, and remaining cheese & salsa.
4. Spoon salad over meat mixture, top with tortilla chips and serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving, serves 8):

Calories 178
Fat 2.8 g
Carbohydrates 21.2 g
Cholesterol 22 mg
Sodium 487 mg
Protein 17.6 g

Gipper’s Pick: Hot Buffalo Chicken Tenders


3 tbsp Tabasco sauce
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 lb chicken tenders
½ cup fat free mayonnaise
¼ cup fat free sour cream
2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
1 medium bell pepper, cut into ½-inch spears


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine hot sauce, paprika and ground red pepper. Brush on all surfaces of chicken. Place chicken on greased baking pan, cover and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.
4. In a small serving bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and blue cheese. Mix well. Garnish as desired. Serve with chicken and bell pepper for dipping.

Nutrition Information (Per serving, serves 10):

Calories  62
Carbohydrates 3.4 g
Fat .7 g
Sodium 151.5 mg
Protein 11 g

While these yummy recipes have Gip and me excited, they may not be appropriate for all people. It’s important to speak with your certified diabetes educator and/or nutrition educator to help design a meal plan that’s right for you.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators also shared a very helpful eating plan for the big game. They’re offering tips like reviewing the food selection before filling your plate, staying hydrated and not eating on an empty stomach. They also have additional recipes for you to choose from.

Be sure to share your healthy spins on gameday favorites; or, come back to let us know if you tried either or both of these recipes. Good luck to both teams- we will be watching!

Hut, hut, hike,

Laura K.

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