For many people, fall signals the arrival of sweater weather, hot cocoa, falling leaves, and of course, football. Whether you follow the sport religiously or a fair weather fan, one thing can be agreed upon: where there’s football, there are snacks. Not usually the healthy, flaxseed, make-you-feel-great kind of snacks, but usually the cheese-ridden, calorie-laden type that have the potential to derail your healthy eating. We’re calling foul on both sides; you don’t have to sit in the corner and eat carrot sticks and you don’t have to overindulge during sporting events just to fit in. Instead, we’re offering up a middle road to healthy yet delicious swaps you can make for the big game to feel satisfied without the next-day bloat.
Healthy Game Day Food Swaps
1. Kebobs For the Win
Skip those greasy chicken wings and fattening blue cheese dressing and make Buffalo Chicken Kebobs. This recipe is much healthier than traditional Buffalo wings. It’s made with white meat that’s baked, not fried. Plus, they are tossed in a lower-fat wing sauce. Get some healthy protein without the fattening skin and grease.
2. Bacon, Healthified
Ditch the loaded potato skins with bacon and try (turkey) Bacon Cherry Stuffed Tomatoes. These one bite tomatoes are stuffed with a creamy bacon filling that is made from turkey bacon to dramatically cut down on calories and saturated fat. Each 80 calorie serving includes four generous pieces. Tomatoes are linked to heart and bone health and have lots of antioxidants.
3. A Skinnier Dip
Side step that calorie-laden queso and opt for guacamole instead. Avocados are a healthy fat and are a super food. Avocados have protein, are heart healthy, anti-inflammatory and are thought to protect your immune system. Whip up some healthy guacamole with this simple and delicious recipe.
Related: 55 Healthy and Easy Snacks
4. Opt For the Sweeter Potatoes
Pass on the French fries or fried anything and make your own Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Slice up sweet potatoes and bake to perfection! My recipe is easy to make and they taste sweet with my yummy adobe dipping sauce. Sweet potatoes have antioxidants, Vitamin A, anti-inflammatory nutrients and can help regulate blood sugar.
5. Nach-yo Average Nachos
Skip the loaded meat, cheese and sour cream nachos and make Southwestern Red Pepper Nachos! Red peppers also have antioxidant properties and vitamin C. They also help with the absorption of iron. Recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can activate thermogenesis and increase metabolic rate. (So you can fire up your calorie-burning metabolism while you watch the game! SCORE!) Serve up these red pepper nachos with salsa and nonfat sour cream. My family loves my this recipe—totally delish!
When all else fails, remember the go-to mantra for those of us trying to live a healthy lifestyle free from deprivation and guilt: everything in moderation! If you can’t control the snacks themselves, you can always control the portions: opt for filling up a small plate just once instead of going back for seconds or thirds of smaller bites. Eat mindfully, and you’ll score a healthy-living win free from bloat or regret.
Seeing this a little too late? No worries! Download our free guide to reset your body and detox from an indulgent weekend!