Whether you’re an avid sports fan, an occasional watcher of basketball, or someone who simply loves the excitement of filling out brackets for March Madness, the spring season is exciting in the world of college basketball. People gather to enjoy the insanity that is March Madness and great snacks like healthy tailgating recipes and March Madness recipes can help bring everyone together.
As you’re filling out your brackets in prep for March Madness, there are a lot of questions to ask. Who will make it into the Final Four, who will claim the National Championship title for this year’s NCAA Tournament? But most importantly, are there any new March Madness recipes out there? Oh, are we the only ones wondering what’ll be served at your March Madness viewing party? Look, you’ll need some serious grub while you’re on the edge of your seat watching the game, so consider these healthy March Madness recipes for great snacking that won’t derail your healthy eating.
Healthy and Easy March Madness Recipes
The TV is blaring, everyone’s hoping their picks make it to the Final Four, and you’re just trying to get a bite of something without removing your gaze from the screen. Or, you’re trying to scarf down some too-hot potato skins during the commercial break. Easy March Madness snacks shouldn’t distract you from the game, letting you enjoy a quick bite without taking your eyes away from what’s really important. Don’t fret, we’ve got some delicious March Madness finger foods that’ll let you focus on the NCAA Tournament while munching on some healthy bites.
Baked Chicken Strips. Chicken wings are a fan favorite when it comes to sports viewing party food. But traditional wings are greasy and pretty heavy on the calories. If you’re looking for healthy finger foods for March Madness, try out this baked recipe! Take your favorite boneless and skinless chicken breast strips, bake them, and serve with your favorite hot sauce. Depending on your hot sauce choice, this is also a keto March Madness recipe anyone can enjoy!
Spicy Hummus Poppers. This vegan March Madness recipe combines jalapenos and hummus for a lighter take on a bar food favorite. Slice 6 jalapenos in half, removing the seeds. In a bowl, mix 6 tablespoons of store bought hummus, 1 tablespoon of chopped scallions, ⅓ cup of canned corn, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste. Then, scoop the mixture into your halved jalapenos. In another bowl, mix bread crumbs, salt, cayenne pepper, and chili powder and dunk the hummus side of your poppers into the mixture. Bake in a 350°F oven for around 20 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are toasty. Full recipe here.
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili. Turkey chili is a lower fat option over beef chili recipes and with the right seasoning, it’s just as tasty. Take a pound of ground turkey and brown it in an oiled skillet over medium heat. Drain and combine in a slow cooker with two cans of tomato soup, two cans of kidney beans, a can of black beans, and ½ a chopped onion. Add chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, cumin, allspice, and salt to taste and cook covered for 4 hours on high heat. Top with cheese of choice and serve! Full recipe here.
Shredded Chicken Lettuce Tacos. Looking for low carb March Madness appetizers? This recipe also calls on your slow cooker. Combine 1 pound of raw chicken, salsa, and a chopped onion in a slow cooker, cook on medium heat for two hours or until the chicken is cooked. Shred the cooked chicken and add it back into the slow cooker mixture and serve with lettuce cups as carb-free taco shells.
Healthy Potato Skins. Look, we couldn’t make it through this healthy March Madness party recipes list without potato skins. But don’t worry, this recipe is a healthier take that swaps deep-frying for a healthier baked preparation. Roast whole potatoes in a 425°F oven for around 50 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking process. Let these hot potatoes cool for an hour. While they’re cooling, prepare a mixture of cooked seedless jalapenos, garlic, tomatoes, black beans, corn, chili powder, and cumin. Cut your cooled potatoes in half and scoop out the starch until the potato slices are about a quarter inch thick, then broil in the oven until they’re golden. Then, stuff the potatoes with your mixture and top with sour cream or cheese to taste. Full recipe here.
Looking for more healthy March Madness recipes? Check out our Youfit Youniverse blog for more recipes for better nutrition that can be enjoyed as finger foods at a viewing party.
Drinks for a March Madness Viewing Party
Now that you’ve got some delicious and healthy March Madness appetizers, it’s time to think of the drink recipes for your March Madness party. Beer is always a favorite when watching the NCAA Tournament, but it’s not always the best for a healthier lifestyle. Here are some of our favorite drinks for any sports viewing party.
Blueberry Mojito. Mix a small handful of blueberries and fresh mint. 2-3 limes (juices), 1 tbsp of raw or granulated sugar, 1 oz of white rum, 3 oz club soda. Muddle the sugar, mint, and berries together. Add ice. Pour over rum and seltzer, stir to enjoy.
Simple Sangria. 4 oz red wine, 2 oz lemon-lime seltzer, 1/3 cup of chilled diced grapes, and diced pineapple. Combine and serve. You can also make this drink ahead of time and allow the fruits to infuse with the sangria for more flavor.
Cucumber Lemonade. Juice of 3 lemons, 1 tbsp honey (or agave), 6 oz of seltzer water, 1 oz vodka, cucumber slices for garnish.
Pineapple Crush. 1/3 cup diced pineapple (plus 1-2 tbsp leftover juice from the container), 3 oz coconut water, 3 oz seltzer water, 1 oz white rum. Cilantro and lime wedge for garnish. Combine pineapple chunks with juice reserve and muddle for 1 min, add ice, pour the coconut water, rum, and seltzer, stir to combine. Garnish with a lime and cilantro.
Be sure to follow the healthier approach to drinking at your NCAA party. Whether you’re making a healthier take on mixed drinks or having a few drinks at the bar, there are healthier ways to indulge. Follow these tips for lower calorie drinking at a March Madness party:
- Skip the mixers and concentrates and use fresh fruit or squeezed fruits instead. This swap can lower sugar intake and keep out sneaky artificial ingredients. It’s also a great way to also get the antioxidant power of fresh fruits if you keep them chilling in your glass.
- Use seltzer water instead of soda. We don’t mean the spiked seltzer (although that’s a healthier option on its own). Instead, use sugar and sodium free sodas for a more refreshing drink with fewer calories and less sugar.
- Limit the type and amount of booze. Sticking to 1 oz shots of liquor per 6-8 oz drink is ideal. When choosing your liquor, stick to clear and white spirits that are lower in calories than their dark counterparts.
- Don’t skip the water. In order to enjoy your drinks without the “I’m too old for this” hangover, make sure you drink at least 8 oz of plain water for each drink you consume. It’s easy to forget, but making it a point to pair each drink with your H2O will have you back to your regular routine in no time.
Celebrating March Madness at the Gym
Feeling inspired to hit the court after all the fun of March Madness? Train like a pro with help from your Youfit personal trainer! We’re here to help you feel your best and take the right approach to getting fit, try us out today and sign up for free gym passes!