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Eat This, Not That: 5 Healthy Alternatives for the Big Game

Gearing up for the big game on Sunday? Us too! Whether you are watching the game or sticking around for the commercials, you've probably seen the same ol' appetizers being served year after year, haven't you? Wings, cheesy dips, nachos, pizza… the list of not-so-great for you foods goes on and on. With Americans estimated to eat just over 1200 calories from game day snacks alone, it might be time to put down the chip bowl and check out some healthy alternatives. Here are some easy and healthy swaps you can make to turn your favorite game day snacks into guilt free indulgences!   

Eat This: BBQ Cauliflower Florets | Not That: Chicken Wings

No matter which team you‘re rooting for this Sunday, one thing that will unite the nation is: chicken wings. According to the National Chicken Council, 1.25 billion wings will be consumed during the big game. You may be thinking, so what? Chicken isn’t bad for you. Well think again! Boxed chicken wings, which are often deep-fried, can add up to hundreds if not thousands of calories. Help your waistline without sacrificing any of the flavor by making your own version of wings at home. Try this BBQ “Chicken” recipe made with cauliflower florets. They look just like fried chicken nuggets, and taste (sort of) like them too!

Eat This: Lettuce Wraps| Not That: Nachos

Nachos can spoil a healthy diet faster than just about any party food – who can resist the temptation of your favorite toppings piled on a chip. This standard crowd-pleaser may be addicting, but also adds more than 500 calories per serving! For a satisfying crunch with just as much flavor, make your own healthy alternative using lettuce. Wrap up all of your favorite nacho ingredients like tomatoes, avocado, onion and peppers in a large lettuce leaf. For an added protein punch, try quinoa to keep you full throughout the game.

Eat This: Zucchini Pizza Boats| Not That: High-Carb Pizza

"Greasy," "fattening," "high calorie." All are words that could be used to describe your typical game day pizza menu. But what if there were ways to enjoy your favorite food while still eating healthy? Listen up because we have found a solution! Ditch the carb-loaded crust this year and try a healthy spin on a favorite football staple: Zucchini pizza boats! First, cut each zucchini in half long-ways and carefully scoop out the center (where the seeds are located). On a prepared baking sheet place prepped zucchini halves, hallowed part facing up. Next, stuff each zucchini boat with your desired fillings and toppings. Our favorites include marinara sauce, mushrooms, cheese, eggplant, and onion! Buon appetito!

Eat This: Skinny Sweet Potato Skins | Not That: Loaded Potato Skins

Instead of loaded potato skins – which are actually “loaded” with calories and fat – switch a few key ingredients around for a delicious and healthy snack. Take your favorite loaded potato skin recipe and replace the white potato with a sweet potato and the sour cream with nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Top with low-fat shredded cheese and as many veggies as your heart desires. You’ll save over 1,000 calories and gain 12 grams of protein – and avoid a fumble on calories and fat.

Eat This: Bean-Based Chili | Not That: Beef Chili

Whether your game day chili lies atop a bed of pasta or drowns a hotdog, it’s probably too high in both calories and saturated fat thanks to generous servings of ground beef, cheese and sour cream. An average bowl of beef chili can pack up to 600 calories and that doesn’t count add-ons like cornbread. Instead, choose healthy alternatives like this bean-based chili recipe! Beans are high in both protein and fiber, which help keep blood sugar levels – and thus energy and mood – stable during the big game. Sneak in vegetables, like tomatoes, carrots and peppers to add more nutrients; they’ll easily hide behind spices like cumin, paprika and chili powder.

Avoid the carb-coma during the big game by trying some healthy alternatives to your favorite game day foods. Which will you try this Sunday? Share your thoughts below! 

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