Trim Tailgate and Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

When its game time, it’s easy to rush the buffet table and let the energy of the moment wash over you!  Before you know it however, you’ll be needing to add in more than a few extra workouts of your own to burn off those extra calories!  With a few upgrades, you can still enjoy your favorites, and keep your own fitness, and that of your guests, in mind.

Simple Swaps

Nachos and wings, oh my!  These standard tailgating foods are just about everyone’s favorite, but they pack a punch when it comes to fat and calories.  Try serving your favorite flavors at your tailgate in a new form, like our Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, which provide more protein, and less fat, but all of the flavor of a chicken wing!  Or swap nachos for lean beef chili and an interactive toppings bar.  This combo is sure to be a hit, but without the calories chips and cheese add to a nacho tower!

Rock the Boat

Dips off all kinds are typical tailgate food, but portion size can wreak havoc on your diet without a little planning.  Consider enjoying dips in individually portioned vegetable boats made of cucumber, peppers, mushroom caps, or zucchini.  Vegetable boats not only keep portions in check, but they also boost your veggie intake and make for an attractive platter.


Instead of opting out, consider serving your favorite items in smaller sizes, such as mini sliders, pizza bites, or bite size sandwiches.  Smaller portions allow you to sample more items which is fun for everyone!

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese (softened)
  • 2  eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (you may substitute gluten free oats)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped carrot
  • 3 tbsps crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce; divided in half
  • Chopped chives (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground chicken through one half of buffalo sauce reserving 1/4 cup sauce.
  2. Form mixture into 2 ounce meatballs.
  3. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees (F) for 17-20 minutes or until cooked through.

*Tip: if you have a cooling rack, place it on the cookie sheet with the meatballs placed on the cooling sheet to allow the meatballs more even exposure to air in the oven.

  1. Remove meatballs and place in a serving bowl.  Drizzle remaining buffalo sauce over meatballs and top with chopped chives if desired.

Yields: 12 Meatballs
Serving Size: 1 Meatball

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 1g (0g Fiber)
  • Fat: 3g (1.5g Saturated)
  • Cholesterol: 50mg
  • Sodium: 398mg


Sarah Mattison Berndt, MS, RD, CD

Owner Fit Fresh Cuisine & Hybrid Athletic Club

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