A Tailgating Menu That's Sneakily Healthy

Tailgating season is upon us. And while beer and chips are bound to be part of that roundup, it’s totally possible to add some healthy items to the mix with this menu.

Five Layer Mexican Dip: Ellie Krieger

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Open your car trunks, dig out your slow cookers and pack your coolers — tailgating season is upon us. And while beer and chips are bound to be part of that roundup, it’s totally possible to add some healthy items to the mix. The key is to sneak in plenty of vegetables, substitute lean meats and beans for higher-calorie proteins, and get in a variety of whole foods. With this tailgating menu, that’s easy to do.

Start off with a solid snacking base. In addition to tortilla chips, bring plenty of carrot and celery sticks and bell pepper spears to dip into this flavorful yet virtuous Five-Layer Mexican Dip.

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Then take the chill off with Rachael Ray’s Indian Summer Turkey Chili. Smoky barbecue sauce, grill seasoning blend and chili powder help pack this dish with flavor.

Food Network Kitchen's Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce for Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes as seen on Food Network

Photo by: Stephen Johnson ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Stephen Johnson, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Haven’t you heard? Cauliflower is the new chicken wings. Crunchy roasted cauliflower gets the Frank’s hot sauce treatment in Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce.

You’d never guess that these decadent-tasting No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars are lighter than similar cookies.

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

Next Up

Football Sunday? Try These Healthy Tailgating Snacks

Football Sunday Healthy Snacks for Game Day

Super Snack Mixes for the Big Game

Whether you're hosting a rowdy football-watching crowd or headed to a game day party, a snack mix is a great make-ahead option for guests.

Best 5 Chicken Enchilada Recipes

Check out Food Network's top five chicken enchilada recipes, each a flavor-packed recipe that will wow the crowd at your weekend tailgate or big game bash.

On the Road Eats: Best Game Day Wings

Make a play at these top chicken wing spots for the best game-day grub around.

Football Fan Fare: What's Your Favorite Game-Day Dish?

FN Dish wants to know: When it comes to indulging in classic tailgate eats, what's your all-time favorite dish?

Best 5 Family-Friendly Tailgate Recipes

Check out Food Network's top-five family-friendly tailgate recipes to find a mix of sweet and savory picks that are sure to win cheers from your guests.

Chefs’ Picks: Favorite Big-Game Snacks

Five chefs from across the country share their must-have Super Bowl snacks.

Super Bowl Food Face-Off

Put the football aside for one moment and decide – which team's hometown has the better food?