Football is in the air – you can feel it when the morning air gets nippy, even if it is still in the 80s during the day. Orange is the new fashion statement, even at work (on Fridays). At least, in Denver it should be – okay, I won’t start the trash talk. Regardless of where you live or who your team happens to be, one thing is for sure: football fans throw fantastic parties!
It’s a great excuse to hang out with friends, cheer on the home team, and eat some super tasty food. While hamburgers, hot dogs, and bags of greasy chips may be the norm, more and more people are choosing healthy alternatives. There’s nothing wrong with hamburgers or hot dogs, but do you think that’s what your favorite players eat? They’re elite athletes; their diets are the healthiest around. Here are some healthy snacks options to make your team proud of you.
Fruit and Veggie Trays
You can’t go wrong with whole fruits and veggies. Your body needs them, and if you can snack on carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes while you are watching your team drive down the field, you’ll leave the party in better shape than you arrived! Veggies are a crunchy alternative to greasy chips, so they’ll keep your crunch meter satisfied. Fruits are naturally sweet without all the adverse side effects, so munching some strawberries and grapes will satisfy your sweet tooth without expanding your waistline or giving you a sugar crash.
Guacamole and Homemade Salsa
Tortilla chips contain much fewer chemicals than their potato counterparts, and typically the accompanying dips are healthier. Guacamole, freshly made from avocados, is a nutritional powerhouse. Avocados contain most of the B vitamins, vitamins A, C, K, along with potassium, folate, and small amounts of iron, magnesium, and other micronutrients. A fresh guac will also have onion and tomato which bring their own nutritional profiles to the table. Homemade salsa contains mostly tomatoes with onion, garlic, cilantro, peppers – all whole and healthy foods. As always, fresh is better than store bought. Try our homemade salsa recipe here!
Stuffed jalapenos come in many varieties, but they all have the same main ingredient – jalapenos! Regardless of whether you classify peppers as a vegetable (like most people) or a fruit (the scientific definition), they are a whole food that packs a wallop of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. It doesn’t really matter what they’re stuffed with, but avoid the bacon wrapped kind. You want the Jalapeno to be the main ingredient.
A healthy trail mix will have a slew of whole, healthy foods like nuts, dried fruit, chocolate – wait, did I say chocolate? Yes, chocolate can be healthy! I use cacao nibs in my trail mix, which lends their rich chocolatey flavor to balance the sugars in dried goji berries or raisins. But even a little sprinkle of dark chocolate chips will keep the mix healthy and round out the flavor. Just make sure it’s a mix of whole foods – a snack mix full of processed cereals and crunchy products is not healthy and does not count as a healthy snack.
We already discussed guac and salsa, but these deserve a class of their own. A vegetable dip can be anything from spinach and artichoke dip to hummus to bean dip. Make sure you are dipping something healthy like fresh vegetables, or neutral like tortilla or pita chips.
And finally, my personal favorite game day food:
Chili is my favorite food to serve and eat at football parties. It easy to make ahead in the crockpot, and everyone loves it! The best part is the healthy benefit that comes from beans and vegetables mixed with chili powder and other herbs and spices. Most people don’t think of their spices as healthy food, but everyone should. Spices contain lots of antioxidants and flavonoids (healthy compounds) and make everything taste delicious.
Our Ridiculously Healthy Chili Recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser for your guests, and if you see a pot of chili at the next football party you go to, you can rest assured you’ll be eating healthy!
The main thing to remember is there are plenty of delicious and healthy food choices when you go to a football party. You don’t have to save a cheat day or worry about going home feeling like sluggish. Just stick to whole foods when you can and enjoy your snacks while you watch your team pummel the opposition. The players will be proud of you.