Fall. It makes me think of leaves changing color (less of this happens in Dallas but my childhood in Kansas City was full of weekends raking and brilliant-colored trees), cozy layers (bring on the chill!), holidays within reach (no, I haven't started Christmas shopping yet), and football. Lots of football. I admit that I'm not the biggest sports fanatic...you won't find any jerseys or team paraphernalia in my closet and I'm the last girl on earth to throw a ball around (or run after one, for that matter). But my dad and brothers love watching sports so much I feel like the sounds of ESPN were part of the soundtrack to my childhood. As an adult, I've learned that there's way more to sports-watching than knowing teams, rules, rankings, etc. There's also eating. And drinking. And usually both. So with fall firmly in the air I welcome football season and the opportunity to partake in the food and beverage side of game day festivities!
Now, I don't just want to snack and sip on anything while I pretend to blend in with those legitimately invested in whatever game is happening. I want satisfying and somewhat indulgent but more on the healthier side of the spectrum than not. Recently I've been into a certain "tailgate" combo of nachos and spiked sparkling water. I know what you're thinking...nachos are not healthy and spiked sparkling water sounds a lot harder to come by than twisting the cap off a beer. Not so my friends! It's as easy as picking up the right toppings from the store and a case (or two) of Truly Spiked & Sparkling. Keep reading to see my fave healthy-ish nacho recipe and learn why Truly is my light drink go-to for game days and life in general!
Here’s what you need to know about Truly: it’s gluten free, 100 calories (!), has 1 gram of sugar and 2 grams of carbs, and is 5% alcohol. What also makes it special is that it doesn’t contain any liquor or spirits – the alcohol comes from fermented cane sugar and a hint of fruit. I kind of figured this beverage would be a “too good to be true” situation and that the taste wouldn’t live up to the hype. After trying all five flavors I can say that not only is Truly delicious, but it’s so light, crisp and bubbly that I feel great about my decision when enjoying it. It’s as refreshing as traditional sparkling water, just with a bit of booze! Truly was my go-to drink over the summer (so refreshing) and I’ve continued to incorporate the flavors into various cocktail recipes or have them on their own now that we’ve rolled into fall.
What I love most about Truly is that the flavors – which have no artificial flavoring or sweeteners – are all citrus based, making them tasty but not overpowering. My favorite flavor is the Colima Lime but the others (Lemon & Yuzu, Grapefruit & Pomelo, Pomegranate, and Sicilian Blood Orange) have the same smooth, light taste and fizzy bubbles. The fruit base of each makes them the perfect thing to pair with just about anything food-wise. And when it comes to football/tailgate/game-day food my brain automatically goes to nachos.
Spoiler: Truly + nachos = match made in heaven.
I learned the art of homemade nachos in college. Back then it was greasy corn chips, way too much cheese and a lot of sour cream and salsa. Not so healthy. With age comes wisdom and I’m happy to report that while I still like indulging in libations and making/eating nachos, I’ve found healthier ways to do both. My most recent go-to nacho combo looks like this:
- A mix of blue corn and white corn chips (my favorite brand is Xochitl!) placed on a baking pan so that the bottom of the pan is covered but the chips aren’t overlapping too much (you want to get an even amount of toppings on each chip!)
- Top chips with a light layer of shredded cheddar cheese (I really love getting the fresh shredded cheese from the deli but sometimes I feel less fancy and use a bag of Mexican style shredded cheese)
- Top cheese layer with shredded chicken (my tip: buy chipotle seasoned and grilled chicken breast from the store and shred it at home!)
- Put in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes or till cheese is melted but not getting crispy!
- Once out of the oven, top with fresh pico de gallo
- Serve along side a bowl of guacamole and pickled jalapeños so friends and fellow snackers can dress them how they wish
Not the fanciest of nachos but 100% a crowd-pleaser and definitely more on the healthy side! To keep the healthier choices going, I suggest enjoying the nachos while sipping on Truly – the slim can mix pack has four flavors and is great to bring to a gathering so people can taste and choose favorites. I like to set out glasses, some ice, straws, and lemon and lime wedges so people can make Truly even more personalized.
So there you have it. Fall means football. Football and other sports call for snaking and drinking. More balanced – and oh so satisfying – choices like Truly and light nachos will be your next game day touchdown (couldn’t help myself, had to squeeze in a sports pun)!