Watching football makes you crave wings; it’s a fact. OK, maybe not a fact, but wings and football do tend to go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the game-day favorite is also sky-high in saturated fat. Covered in skin and usually deep fried, there is nothing heart-healthy about chicken wings. But there is a healthier way to get your wing fix. Buffalo chicken meatballs are a much lighter way to enjoy the flavor of wings without all the additional fat. This crowd-pleasing favorite is not only delicious — it’s easier to eat!

Lean ground chicken eliminates fatty chicken skin altogether. Baking the meatballs is a significantly healthier method than deep frying. Buffalo sauce is high in sodium; the less you use, the better — 1/3 cup of sauce is plenty for 24 meatballs. If you feel you can get away with 1/4 cup, even better! Serve with plenty of fresh carrot and celery sticks.

Make-ahead tip: Meatballs can be made the day before and refrigerated. Slowly reheat them in the wing sauce.


1lb lean ground chicken (lean ground turkey may be substituted)
1 egg, beaten or egg substitute
1 teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
⅓ cup prepared Buffalo wing sauce

Carrot sticks and celery sticks for serving. Creamy blue cheese dipping sauce recipe below.


  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Alternatively, cover with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, egg, onion powder, ground pepper and panko crumbs until just combined. If mixture is very loose, chill before continuing with the next step.


  1. Form mixture into 24 one-inch meatballs. A cookie scoop can make this easy work. Bake for 6 minutes and flip. Bake an additional 6-8 minutes or until cooked through to 165°, taking care to not burn the bottoms.


  1. While the meatballs cook, heat the prepared Buffalo wing sauce. Toss cooked meatballs with the heated wing sauce and serve hot. Serve with carrot sticks, celery sticks, and creamy blue cheese dipping sauce.

Creamy blue cheese dipping sauce

Non-fat plain Greek yogurt and gorgonzola make a creamy dipping sauce that is higher in protein and lower in fat than traditional sauces containing mayonnaise or sour cream.


1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
3 ounces gorgonzola cheese
buttermilk or milk as needed


  1. Pulse Greek yogurt and gorgonzola in a food processor to combine. Process until chunky or smooth — whatever your preference. If sauce is too thick, thin it with a small amount of buttermilk or milk. Serve cold.


Buffalo chicken meatballs

Makes 24 appetizer sized meatballs. Serves 6-8. Nutrition is per meatball.


Calories 36 Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 19 mg Sodium 123 mg
Potassium 137 mg Total Carbohydrate 1 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g

Creamy Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Serves 8. Serving size 2 rounded tablespoons.

Calories 46 Total Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 1 g Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 9 mg Sodium 73 mg
Potassium 44 mg Total Carbohydrate 1 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g Sugars 1 g
Protein 4 g