Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Game on! Healthy snacks for the big event

1/19/2023 by Rose Prissel, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.

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From the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics to the Stanley Cup and March Madness, gathering with friends to watch the games calls for snacks. Here's how to add some tasty choices to the buffet without adding extra calories. 

Skinny down recipes

  • Skip the fatty dips and spreads and try out some bean and legume recipes instead — like Artichoke, Spinach and White Bean Dip or Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.
  • Use oil-based rather than creamy dressings and sauces — and use sparingly. Serve dressings on the side.
  • Choose fish and shellfish or lower-fat meats, such as chicken breasts or ground turkey.
  • Even tortillas and crackers have lower-fat and salt options. Baked chips of all kinds tend to be lower in fat. Baking your own pita and tortilla crisps is a great choice, too.

Serve it on a stick

  • Serve fruit — from strawberries to melon balls — on a skewer with a side of nonfat fruit yogurt dip. It's a classic and adds color, as well as a bite of freshness.
  • Slide a grape tomato, basil leaf and a square of pesto-dipped mozzarella cheese onto a skewer.
  • Marinate veggie skewers of grape tomatoes, mushrooms, onion wedges, green, red or yellow peppers in low-fat Italian dressing, then grill.

Go crackers — and beyond

  • Look for whole-grain tortillas, pita bread, crackers, bruschetta.
  • Make your own kale chips to add flavor and color to your snacks. 
  • Create your own homemade baked pita chips with your favorite herbs.
  • Try Fruit Salsa and Sweet Chips instead of the traditional tomato-based salsa.
  • Substitute thick slices of cucumber, big white radishes, apples or pears for crackers. Spread a cucumber with low-fat cream cheese mixed with horseradish, and top with a thin slice of ham on a toothpick. Pile olive tapenade on radish slices. Top apples or pears with a smear of chutney and a slice of smoked turkey.

Make it fun

  • Spread hummus on a plate, top with chopped olives mixed with a little nonfat Italian dressing and serve with pita crisps or sliced veggies. For basketball fans, arrange the olives in lines like those on a basketball.
  • Jazz up classic deviled eggs with this recipe for Avocado Deviled Eggs.
  • Whip up a pitcher of fruit and spinach smoothies for a refreshing drink.
  • If children will be in attendance, serve up some Rainbow Ice Pops for a refreshing snack.
  • Set up a virgin bloody mary bar with a host of veggies for guests to build their own skewers. Choose a low-sodium tomato juice or bloody mary mix.
  • Add fruit kabobs to tall glasses of flavored sparkling water.

Move it!

  • Work off a few calories by creating a cheerleading competition for halftime. Put your body into it and don't forget the pom-poms!
  • Head to the garage and toss foam footballs or basketballs.
  • Host a sledding or skating party before settling down to watch bobsledding, figure skating or hockey.

For more tips and recipes, Mayo Clinic offers recipes for an array of delicious, healthy snacks and appetizers that are perfect for game day or any day. For more tips and recipes, check out ChooseMyPlate or Fruits and Veggies – More Matters and search "healthy snacks."

Rose Prissel, M.S., R.D.N., L.D.,  is a recent Mayo Clinic retiree. She worked in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.