Diet-Friendly Football Food

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With football season kicking into high gear, pre-game tailgating and football parties at home often mean the emphasis put on food and drink comes second only to the game itself.

But for people with food allergies or those following special diets, navigating the array of game-day options can feel anything but fan-friendly. It's just not worth it if every bite is accompanied by a sense of fear or uncertainty -- or worse, if you don't indulge at all because you don't want to take the chance.

To help alleviate some of the angst, I’ve put together a guide to popular tailgate fare that can fit within the parameters of six common dietary restrictions:.

  • Dairy free = DF
  • Gluten free (though keep in mind there's risk of cross-contamination at events like tailgate parties) = GF
  • Vegan = V
  • Low in saturated fat; not more than two grams per serving = Low Sat Fat
  • Not more than 10 grams of carbs per serving = Low Carb
  • Less than 140 mg sodium per serving = Low Sodium

Appetizers and Finger foods:

  • Beanitos Bean Chips with Wholly Guacamole or homemade guacamole – DF, GF, V, Low Sat Fat
  • Baked Tostitos with salsa (Newman's Own Salsa or Kraft's Taco Bell Salsa) – DF, GF, V, Low Sat Fat
  • Greek Yogurt Spinach & Artichoke dip – GF, Low Sat Fat, Low Carb
    • Served with Triscuit Thin Crisps – Low Sat Fat
    • Served with Mary's Gone Crackers crackers – GF, Low Sat Fat
  • Almonds, dry-roasted, lightly salted – DF, GF, V, Low Sat Fat, Low Carb, Low Sodium
  • Boiled shrimp – DF, GF, Low Sat Fat, Low Carb
  • Grilled vegetable platter (such as asparagus, eggplant, red and yellow peppers, portobello mushrooms), seasoned with one of Chef Paul Prudhomme's No Salt, No Sugar Magic Seasoning Blends – DF, GF, V, Low Sat Fat, Low Carb, Low Sodium

Heartier Tailgate Fare:

  • BBQ pork loin with Annie's Natural's or Stubb's BBQ sauce – DF, GF, Low Sat Fat
  • Grilled or blackened chicken with Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends Poultry Magic – DF, GF, Low Sat Fat, Low Carb, Low Sodium
  • Chicken sausage (such as Al Fresco and The Original Brat Hans), available in flavors like Chipotle Chorizo and Smoked Andouille – GF, Low Carb, Low Sat Fat
  • Fried chicken breast or drumstick, skin and breading removed – Low Sat Fat, Low Carb
  • Red beans – homemade with salt-free seasonings or Blue Runner Creole Cream-Style Red Beans with No Salt Added, seasoned with Tabasco – DF, GF, V, Low Sat Fat, Low Sodium
  • Chipotle Cocoa Chile – DF, Low Sat Fat

Three easy game-day recipes:

  • Spicy Guacamole - This guacamole is delicious over grilled chicken or salmon.
  • Greek Yogurt Spinach & Artichoke Dip - This spinach and artichoke dip is so rich and creamy that you'd never guess that it's actually good for you, as well.
  • Chipotle Cocoa Chili - Registered dietitian and James Beard Award winner Matthew Kadey combines beef, chipotle, beer and cocoa to create a deeply rich chili that he refers to as "a great bowl of fire."

For more details on this topic, read Molly’s full article on

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