See your diabetes in a new light this tailgating season

(BPT) – Football season is here and along with that comes one of America’s favorite fall activities: tailgating! Tailgates are often synonymous with calorie-packed, high-fat foods that can make it challenging for people with type 2 diabetes to stay on-track with managing their condition.

But, even if you have type 2 diabetes, there’s no reason to sit on the tailgating sidelines this season. As part of Diabetes in a New Light, Novo Nordisk is helping adults tackle common challenges associated with type 2 diabetes by offering diabetes-friendly recipes and resources to incorporate into their disease management playbook.

This fall, try recipes like Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip in a new light and Buffalo-Style Chicken Bites in a new light at your next tailgate or get-together. These diabetes-friendly versions of classic tailgating foods trim the calories, saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol and still taste great. They’re sure to be a big hit with all of your guests.

However, diabetes management goes beyond just eating right. Your game plan should also include staying active and working with your health care provider to find the right individualized treatment regimen. Ask your doctor about different medications to help manage your condition.

For more diabetes-friendly recipes, along with tips and resources for managing type 2 diabetes, visit

Hot Spinach-Artichoke Dip in a new light

Makes: 16 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup reduced-fat Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup imported Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts packed in water, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Vegetable dippers such as strips of bell pepper, carrot sticks, celery sticks, endive spears, or whole-wheat bagel or pita chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.

Microwave the spinach according to package directions. Drain, let cool, then squeeze dry. Transfer spinach to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, to make the topping, combine Pepper Jack cheese and 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese in a small bowl until blended.

Pulse the artichoke hearts in a food processor until smooth.  Transfer artichokes to the bowl with the spinach.  Stir in remaining Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, ricotta, lemon juice, and ground red pepper until well mixed. Scrape into the prepared dish. Sprinkle evenly with the topping.

Bake, uncovered, until the filling is hot and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes. Serve with the vegetable dippers.

Per serving (1/4 cup without dippers): 140 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated, 0 g trans), 10 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 7 g  carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein.

Making it lighter

Swapped out fatty mayonnaise with creamy (but fat-free) ricotta cheese.

Used less Parmesan cheese to cut saturated fat.

Chose Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to get the most cheese power from a smaller amount.

Buffalo-Style Chicken Bites in a new light

Makes: 10 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 small red bell pepper, minced
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium bottled hot pepper sauce
2 tablespoons plain dry whole wheat bread crumbs
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups celery sticks
2 1/2 cups carrot sticks

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray.

To make the dressing, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, blue cheese, lemon juice, and pepper in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine ground chicken, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce, bread crumbs, shallot, garlic, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed.  With lightly moistened hands, form the mixture into 30 (1 1/4-inch) balls. Place on the baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are lightly browned and cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.

Transfer meatballs to a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce and gently toss until coated.  Serve with the dressing, celery and carrot sticks.

Per serving (3 meatballs with scant 2 tablespoons dressing, 1/2 cup celery sticks, 1/2 cup carrot sticks): 180 calories, 12 g fat (1.5 g saturated, 0 g trans), 40 mg cholesterol, 310 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein.

Making it lighter

Use light mayonnaise, reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat blue cheese to keep it delicious without extra fat and calories.

Reduce fat by using lean ground chicken breast instead of ground beef, and add red bell peppers for more flavor.

To keep sodium in check, look for reduced-sodium hot sauce.

*These recipes have been reviewed by Diabetes Care and Education, a dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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