It's March Madness season which means it's the perfect time to get together with family and friends, fill out a bracket and cheer on your alma mater. But you don't have to dribble your diet away if you're hosting or attending a "March Madness" party.

Why not add healthy dips to your menu? They are so versatile and fun for adults as well as kids. Using “skinny dippers” to scoop up all that fabulous flavor can help you keep the madness on the court and out of the kitchen!

• Incorporate produce into your dips in fun new ways.

Turn Brussels sprouts into something that tastes decadent.

Cheesy Brussels Sprout Dip - Sauté 1 minced shallot and 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add 2-1/2 cups coarsely chopped Brussels sprouts, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook for 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup light sour cream, 4 ounces light cream cheese, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese. Add to Brussels sprouts mixture and stir to combine. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to the pan so the dip won't stick. Preheat oven to 375 degrees; place skillet in oven for 12 minutes or until bubbly. (Serves 8)

Calories 132, Total fat 9.5g, Saturated fat 3g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 205mg, Carbohydrates 4g, Fiber 2g, Protein: 7g


Make salsa with seasonal ingredients for ultimate freshness.

Strawberry Avocado Citrus Salsa - In a large bowl, combine 1 cup diced strawberries, 1 diced avocado, 1/4 cup finely diced red onion, 1 diced jalapeno (seeded or not), 1 handful of chopped cilantro, juice of half an orange, juice of half a lemon and a pinch of salt. (Serves 8)

Calories 62, Total fat 5g, Saturated fat 0.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 76mg, Carbohydrate 3g, Fiber 3g, Protein 1g

• Boost the protein content.

Save time by using rotisserie chicken - it's juicy, fresh and ready to go!

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip - Shred the meat from one rotisserie chicken (discard the skin) and place in a crockpot. Add an 8-ounce package light cream cheese, 1 cup shredded 2 percent sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup yogurt ranch dressing and 1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce; stir to combine. Cook on LOW until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. (Serves 10)

Calories 187, Total fat 12g, Saturated fat 5g, Cholesterol 59mg, Sodium 315mg, Carbohydrate 5g, Protein 13g


Use the tried-and-true dietitian favorite - Greek yogurt - to add the perfect creamy texture.

Corn and Red Pepper Ranch Dip - In a medium bowl, combine 1 diced red pepper, 1 diced jalapeno (seeded), a 4-ounce can sliced black olives (drained), 1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed), a 0.4-ounce packet ranch seasoning, an 8-ounce package light cream cheese and 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt. Keep cold until ready to serve. (Serves 8)

Calories 114, Total fat 9g, Saturated fat 2g, Cholesterol 25mg, Sodium 181mg, Carbohydrate 6g, Fiber 1g, Protein 3g

• Make sure your dippers are also nutritious.

Boost the nutrition content of your snacks by pairing them with “skinny dippers.” Keep fresh fruit and vegetables (like baby carrots, sliced cucumber and red pepper strips) close to your guests so they'll be more likely to choose those items first

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at