Ballgame Snacks With a Little Less Guilt

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Football playoffs are coming to an end, and ACC basketball is getting hot, even if your team is not playing, you surely won’t want to miss the great snacks that go along with watching the big games. Every year it seems that as soon as I get on a good roll with healthy eating, it’s time for ball game gathering (and of course Girl Scout cookies, lol). Don’t let your health “game plan” fail you this season, try some of these traditional snacks prepared so they don’t block your diet goals!

Oven Fried Onion Rings

(This may a good one to try in your air fryer.)

1 onion(s), sweet thinly sliced
1 tablespoon oil, olive
2 tablespoon cornmeal
2 tablespoon breadcrumbs, Panko is fine
1 tablespoon cheese, Parmesan
⅛ teaspoon paprika


  1. Peel onion; slice into ¼ -inch rings. Sprinkle with oil and toss to coat.
  2. Mix dry ingredients, sprinkle over onion rings, and toss to coat evenly.
  3. Place on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Each serving is ¼ of the onion and contains Calories 93, Fat 5 g., Cholesterol 3 mg., Sodium 104 mg., Protein 3 g., Fiber 1 g., Carbohydrates 9 g.

Buffalo Chicken Dip Casserole

12 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium carrots, sliced
3 medium stalks celery, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
⅓ cup cornstarch
4 cups low-fat milk
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons hot sauce, preferably Frank’s Red Hot
¾ cup crumbled blue cheese (about 4 ounces)


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Bring a Dutch oven of water to a boil. Cook noodles until barely tender, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in the pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink on the outside, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and milk in a medium bowl; add to the pot along with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in hot sauce.
  3. Spread the noodles in a 9 × 13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Top with the chicken mixture; sprinkle with blue cheese.
  4. Bake the casserole until it is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8. Each serving contains Calories 441, Fat 12 g., Cholesterol 79 mg., Sodium 636 mg., Protein 37 g., Fiber 5 g., Carbohydrates 47 g.

Smooth and Creamy Salmon Dip

8 ounces fresh salmon
½ cup dry white wine
1 (4-oz.) pkg. smoked salmon, diced
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup 2% Greek yogurt
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional Garnishes: 1 tsp. lemon zest, 1 tsp. chopped chives


  1. Combine 3 cups water and wine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, add salmon skin-side down and reduce to simmer. Cook salmon in liquid until medium-well doneness, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove salmon from saucepan to medium bowl; let cool. Remove skin; gently break apart flesh with a fork.
  2. Add smoked salmon, cream cheese, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, chives, salt, and pepper to cooked salmon. Mix until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat broiler to HIGH. Serve with vegetable strips, or endive pieces, celery sticks, etc.

Serves 7. Each serving contains Calories 190, Fat 7g, Protein 16g, Carbohydrate 14g, Fiber 1g, Sugars 2g, Sodium 350mg.

Yummy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

8 cups 1½-inch cauliflower florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Toss cauliflower, oil, and salt in a large bowl. Spread on the prepared baking sheet; reserve the bowl. Roast the cauliflower until it’s starting to soften and brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine hot sauce, Sriracha to taste, butter and lemon juice in the large bowl. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss to coat. Return the cauliflower to the baking sheet and continue roasting until hot, about 5 minutes more.

Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 99, Fat 7g, Protein 3 g, Carbohydrate 8 g, Fiber 3 g, Sodium 288 mg.

Won Ton Parmesan Chips

30 wonton wrappers
2 tablespoon oil, olive
1 clove(s) garlic minced
½ teaspoon basil, dried
¼ cup(s) cheese, Parmesan grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Using a sharp knife, cut wonton wrappers diagonally in half to form 60 triangles. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange one-third of the triangles in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together oil, garlic, and basil. Lightly brush the wonton triangles on baking sheet with some of the oil mixture; sprinkle with some of the Parmesan or Romano cheese.
  3. Bake about 8 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining wonton triangles, oil mixture, and Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Serves 15. Each serving contains Calories 69, Fat 2g, Protein 2g, Carbohydrate 9g, Fiber 0g, Sodium 116 mg.

Black Bean Salsa

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn, fresh, canned (drained), or frozen
1 medium tomato, diced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
½ red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a large bowl combine the black beans, corn, diced tomato, jalapenos, and cilantro.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Pour over the black bean mixture.
  3. Chill the salsa for 30 minutes before serving.