Football is entertaining to watch, but the best thing about the season is undoubtedly the food. Spicy wings, loaded pizza, and bar bites galore—all paired with a hearty beer and team camaraderie. Sounds like the perfect Sunday, no?
The only thing not-so-tasty is game day’s impact on our bodies. Sure, bacon is healthy and cheese is full of bone-strengthening calcium. But the typical greasy appetizer is also high in fat and sodium, which don’t make for the healthiest heart.
Fortunately there are plenty of ways to enjoy game day grub while still boosting your health. And the best part: There’s no need to skimp on flavor! These nine nacho-average recipes are proof.
1. Mini Nacho Pizzas
The toughest problem to tackle when it comes to eating nachos is that once we start, we can’t stop. These mini pizzas throw a Hail Mary pass by providing pure satisfaction in just one serving. Made with whole-wheat English muffins, vegan cheese and beans, and veggie-packed toppings, they’re sure to keep you full through half time.
2. Grilled Zucchini Nachos
Zucchinis are making a comeback. They first stole the stage as low-carb noodle substitutes, and now they’re stepping in for the beloved tortilla chip. Topped with melted cheddar cheese, black beans, and the usual nacho fixings, you won’t even miss the corn chip’s crunch.
3. Loaded Black Bean Nachos
Sometimes the smallest changes yield the biggest results. That’s the case with this recipe, which sticks to traditional nacho ways and makes small adjustments (like using baked chips and black beans) to create a similar flavor with way more health benefits. Not into vegan cheese? Top with a mix of cheddar and nutritional yeast instead. The yeast provides a cheesy flavor, so there’s no need to use the entire cheddar block.
4. Grilled Sweet Potato Nachos
Made with multigrain tortilla chips and sweet potato wedges, this spin on nachos is enough to fuel you through a full marathon (running or movie). It also comes with a side of cheese sauce to drizzle on top or dip in. Need we say more?
5. Dessert Nachos
It’s no secret that berries are good for you. So good, in fact, that both strawberries and blueberries are superfoods. What better to eat them with than a cinnamon sugar crisp topped with homemade chocolate sauce and a touch of whipped cream? These nachos may not be the healthiest ones on this list, but they’re certainly better for you than a deep-fried Twinkie.
6. Greek Goddess Pita Chip Nachos
Sick of the same old melted cheese and ground meat combo? (Your arteries probably are too.) Instead, try these Greek-inspired nachos that are loaded with Feta cheese, cucumber, olives, and other delicious Mediterranean ingredients. To lighten to recipe, cut the quinoa and add extra veggies.
7. Apple Nachos With Peanut Butter and Chocolate
You can’t go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate. (Though this recipe would taste great with any nut butter.) Simply melt your nut butter of choice, drizzle it over small slices of fiber-rich Fuji apples, and top with chocolate chips. Yum.
8. Paleo Nachos
Just when you thought Paleo nachos were a figment of your food-fueled imagination, this recipe arrived. Full of potassium-rich sweet potato, ground turkey, and plenty of spices, it’s easy to understand why the eating like a caveman is so popular.
9. Mini Pepper Nachos
For those who want to cut back on carbs but don’t love zucchini, there’s still hope. Bell peppers make the perfect vehicle for nacho accoutrements, and unlike chips, the sturdy peppers don’t crumble when loaded. So pack on black beans, top with a dollop of sour cream, bite, and revel in pure nacho bliss.
Every week, the Greatist Team scours the web for tasty, trendy, and (mostly) healthy recipes to help open both minds and palates to the wonders of food. Tune in next Wednesday to see what else we have in store!