Healthy Tailgate Tips and Recipe for Vegetable Quesadilla

September 6, 2019

How to throw a healthy tailgate

Downloadable a printable version here.

School is back in session, and football has kicked off. For many of us, that means tailgates! Personally, I am always looking for something on the healthier side to take with me to a tailgate, and you might be surprised how many people appreciate (and eat!) a healthier option at these events where healthy foods are often limited. 

Looking for other healthy Tailgate Takeover ideas? Try these tips below.

Healthy Tailgating Tips

  • Turn the fruit or veggie tray into kabobs! You can serve them with a low fat dip or salsa
  • Put out whole grain breads or crackers. 
  • Include low fat snacks items like popcorn, pretzels and baked chips.
  • Trade out cheese dip and heavy mayo for guacamole, hummus or salsa
  • Offer nuts in bowls -- they are an easy grab with some protein
  • Serve sweet options in small portions like bite sized brownies

Add this super easy dish to your next tailgate to balance some the high calorie, high fat options that you typically find with something lower calorie and lower in fat, but still satisfying and full of flavor.  Of course, you don’t have to wait for a tailgate to try it… I’ll serve this for dinner at my house on Meatless Mondays. 

Black Bean and Veggie Quesadillas

Recipe Source:  Today’s Dietitian August 2019

recipe for healthy bean and vegetable quesadillaIngredients:

  • ½ red bell pepper, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch dice (about ½ cup)
  • ½ c canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • ½ c shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 green onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • Four 8-inch flour tortillas
  • Plain greek yogurt and guacamole for sides (optional)

Did you know plain yogurt tastes almost exactly like sour cream when served with Mexican food? Serve it to an unsuspecting friend or family member and see if they notice. The nutritional differences are HUGE!


Place the bell peppers, beans, corn, cheese, salsa, cilantro, green onion, cumin and chili powder in a large bowl and stir combine.  Spread the mixture evenly over half of each tortilla. Fold over, press down gently, and set aside.  Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add two of the quesadillas and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula, inutile bottoms are crisp and golden, about two minutes.  Adjust heat as you go if the bottom browns too quickly.  Repeat with the remaining oil and quesadillas.  Cut into thirds and serve with salsa, yogurt and/or guacamole or serve with a vinegar-based vegetable salad (as pictured).

Nutrition Information: 250 calories, 10 g fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein


Join Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian, for her monthly award-winning Providence Cooks! cooking classes in Columbia, SC. The class tackles various dietary hurdles by creating, with her team of chefs, a multi-course gourmet meal that promotes health and fits within dietary restrictions. All guests enjoy the healthy sit-down meal with live Q&A from Kay, the chefs, and other special health expert guests. It's a must-try for people interested in healthy eating without losing the flavor and joy of eating. 

Call 800.424.DOCS (3627) to learn about the next Providence Cooks!