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Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Holidays


Healthier versions of football party recipes

Tammy Roberts, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Bates County, University of Missouri Extension


This weekend, lots of people will be joining family and friends to watch the most popular football game of the year. There will be many high-fat, high-calorie choices available on the buffet line at those parties. Use the following recipes for healthier versions of party food favorites and try making some of these changes to other recipes for a variety of healthier alternatives.


Ham and Spinach Dip



  • 1½ cups ground 93% lean ham (about 1/2 pound)
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup dry curd cottage cheese
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, chopped (include tops)
  • 1 teaspoon “light” or “reduced-sodium” seasoning blend
  • 1 loaf round rye bread or French bread



  1. Combine margarine and dry curd cottage cheese in blender. Blend at a low speed until creamy. Be patient, it will take a few minutes, but don’t try to hasten it by adding liquid.
  2. In mixing bowl, combine ground ham, spinach, blended cottage cheese and margarine, yogurt, light mayonnaise, green onions and seasonings. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. With a sharp knife, cut top 1/3 off round rye loaf or French bread. Hollow out loaf, leaving a 1-inch thick shell. Cut remaining bread into 1-inch cubes. Store bread cubes and shell in plastic bags until ready to serve.
  4. Just before serving, toast bread shell in 400 degree oven for 8 minutes (this prevents the dip from soaking into bread shell). Place the ham and spinach mixture in the bread shell. Serve with reserved bread cubes and vegetables. Makes about 4½ cups dip.


Nutritive Values (for one tablespoon):
Calories: 17; Protein: 2g; Carbohydrates: 1g; Fat: 1g; Sodium: 60mg


*This spinach dip represents a savings of 50 calories and 5 grams of fat per two tablespoon serving.


Cheese Ball



  • 2 8-ounce tubs light or non-fat cream cheese
  • 1 8.5-ounce can crushed pineapple (in natural juice), drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 3/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Beau Monde seasoning



  1. Mix all ingredients except nuts.
  2. Divide into two balls. Chill 30 minutes for easier handling. Note: Spray hands with vegetable spray when you shape the ball.
  3. Roll in nuts. (Another idea is to roll ball in chopped fresh parsley.)
  4. Serve one now, freeze the other. Serves 8.


Nutritive Values:
Calories: 239; Protein: 9g; Carbohydrates: 11g; Fat: 17g; Calcium: 85mg


*By eating the lower calorie cheese ball, you save close to half of the calories and fat as the regular version.


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Last update: Monday, February 01, 2016