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Basketball Game Watch Party Recipes

Our Centsable Health section is full of resources on health topics, from diet and nutrition tips, to affordable and healthy recipes your whole family will enjoy. You’ll also find tips for developing healthy eating habits now and into the future! Browse our health articles for inspiration in the kitchen and get tips for making healthy eating fun for the whole family!

March Madness parties are known for their finger-lickin' food items, and we've got some fantastic options below:

Men cheering towards a tv. 

We don't want anyone to feel like they are being deprived during this special event so we have put some tips together to lighten up your March Madness. These tips will leave your party attendees with memories of a great time instead of a few extra pounds!

To save calories on dips and spreads:

  • Replace sour cream or mayonnaise with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has the same tangy flavor and creamy texture and can be substituted for sour cream or mayo at a 1:1 ratio. It can be used in hot or cold dips!
  • Sub in Greek yogurt and one packet of Ranch seasoning anywhere you would use Ranch dressing.
  • Use low-fat or fat-free options in your dips such as fat-free cream cheese, low-fat salad dressings, etc.
  • Try portioning your dips out into individual plastic cups. Our Seven-layer dip cups are not only the perfect portion; they are portable and eye catching as well!
  • Salsa is very low in calories and is a classic tailgating item. Try sprucing up your favorite jar of salsa by adding one can of corn and one can of rinsed black beans. This will add protein, fiber, and more color.
  • Make sure you have crunchy sliced veggies out by all of your dips.bell peppers, carrots, celery, edamame, jicama and cauliflower are great options.
  • Using a hollowed out bell pepper or tomato can make a great dip dish that can be thrown away (or eaten) when empty.
  • Try our buffalo chicken dip recipe. It has 73% less fat than traditional with only 96 calories per ¼ cup (plus it's easy!) Sandwiches are always a crowd-pleaser and can be easily assembled prior to the big game.

Try these sandwich makeovers:

  • Use only one layer of low-fat or Swiss cheese.
  • To add more bulk to your sandwiches add lots of veggies (lettuce, tomato, bell peppers, cucumbers, banana peppers, onion, etc).
  • Place low-fat mayo in a small dish by the sandwiches. This not only is a prettier presentation, it will keep your guests from knowing it is low-fat!
  • Mustard is also a healthy condiment and has about 35 calories per serving.
  • Pickles can help suppress cravings and possibly prevent overeating so add a few to your sandwiches or have them on the table as well.

To avoid extra liquid calories, pour low-calorie drinks:

  • Believe it or not, beer does have some health benefits, see our article Benefits of Beer for some interesting facts about beer.
  • To keep your calorie count down on game day do try to stick to lower calorie, or light, beers. If liquor is your choice keep in mind the standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories plus any mixer you choose so keep the mixers calorie free.
  • Have bottles of water easily accessible to your guests!

For any party you attend follow these tips: 

  • Don't go hungry or"save up" your calories before you go, this will cause you to over-eat! Eat as you would a regular day and have a small snack before you attend so you aren't attending with an empty stomach!
  • Offer to bring a dish to the party. If you know the party you are attending will have very few healthful choices, bringing a dish or two will allow you to control the ingredients.
  • Be conscious of your snacking! You've heard, "don't eat in front of the TV." Well, this day is no different. Take a time out to have a snack and when you return to the game focus on the football not on snacks.
Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Caitlyn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Dietetics. She has worked in nutrition at Mid Iowa Community Action and as a clinical dietitian for the Iowa Veterans Home and Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. Her goal is to help you and your family develop and maintain healthy lifestyles by sharing creative and practical nutrition tips.

Click here for more information on our dietitians.

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