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    Enjoy the Big Game without Blowing Your Diet

    Carolyn Burns, RD Deaconess Weight Loss Solutions 01/09/2020
    Football-watching parties are not known for light and healthy food options. Most of these gatherings feature salt, beer, and grease as the main food groups. So, how do you celebrate the Big Game without completely blowing your diet?   
    • Bring a fruit or vegetable platter with low fat dip to the party. By doing this, you know there will be food at the party you can eat without guilt.
    • Bring your own beverages, whether that’s a light beer or other alcoholic drink, diet soda, sparkling water or sugar free flavoring to add to water. *
    • If there are foods at the party you really want, make a sampler plate. Eating a small portion allows you to enjoy your favorite foods without going overboard and sabotaging your weight loss goals.
    What if you are the host? In this case, hosting the party makes it easier for you to make good choices related to food. Instead of calorie heavy traditional options, consider some of these alternatives:
    • Replace chicken wings covered in buffalo sauce with grilled chicken and a low sugar barbecue sauce.  Or try something else “buffalo”—a coworker raved over these Sriracha Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
    • Make a healthier version of all dips by using reduced-fat dairy products.
    • Serve a veggie tray with low-fat bleu cheese dip and low fat ranch dip.
    • Instead of greasy nachos, make healthy chili cheese nachos. (recipe below).
    • For a fun vegetarian-inspired dish, try spicy mushroom quesadillas served with sour cream, salsa and guacamole on the side (recipe below).
    • Offer light beer to help you and your guests save calories *
    • Make a skinny pineapple margarita for your mixed drink option. Using natural pineapple juice will save you a lot of calories as well as cut down on the sweetness (Recipe below). *
    • For non-alcoholic beverages, stick with no-sugar added beverages like flavored sparkling water, iced tea with sugar substitute, water with sugar-free flavoring or a light lemonade. 
    Lastly, remember that overeating is not the end of world. If you overindulge, get back on track by being active before or after the game. (I would usually suggest “during commercials” or “at half time” but I know those times are part of the fun of the Big Game!)
    We hope these tips help you enjoy the party and feel good about making healthy choices. Now, go cheer on your team and know you are setting yourself up for success!
    *For bariatric surgery patients, remember that it is not recommended to drink alcoholic beverages after surgery. For those who are not part of the bariatric surgery track, the serving recommendation for men is 2 drinks per day and 1 drink per day for women (1 drink = 12oz of beer, 5oz of wine, 1.5oz of liquor)
    Healthier Chili Cheese Nachos
    Recipe from
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • ¾ cup finely chopped white onion
    • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    • ¼ cup water
    • 8 ounces tortilla chips
    • 2 cups shredded cheese, such as Cheddar or pepper Jack
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Cook beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, crumbling the beef with a spatula, until the meat is browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and coriander; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes (with their juice) and water and simmer for 5 minutes.
    3. Top chips with the chili and cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted, about 7 minutes.
    To make ahead: Refrigerate chili (Step 2) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    Spicy Mushroom Quesadilla
    Recipe from
    • ½ cup prepared barbecue sauce
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (see Note), minced, or ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
    • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
    • 1 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 5 medium), gills removed, diced
    • 1 medium onion, finely diced
    • 4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat tortillas
    • ¾ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    1. Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.
    3. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons cheese on half of each tortilla and top with one-fourth (about ½ cup) of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
    4. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.
    Ingredient note: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. Ground chipotle, made from dried smoked jalapeños, can be found in the specialty-spice section of most supermarkets or online at

    Skinny Pineapple Margarita
    Recipe from
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon lime zest
    • 1 cup cold white tequila
    • 1 cup cold pineapple juice
    • ½ cup lime juice, plus 1 lime wedge
    • ¼ cup orange juice
    • Ice cubes
    • Pineapple slices for garnish
    • Lime slices for garnish
    1. Combine salt and lime zest on a small plate.
    2. Combine tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice and orange juice in a pitcher.
    3. Rub the rims of 6 glasses with the lime wedge and dip in the salt mixture. Fill the glasses with ice and top with about ½ cup margarita mixture each.
    4. Garnish with pineapple and lime, if desired.

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