Each week of football season is full of excitement, from gearing up in your team’s colors to setting out an epic snack spread to munch on while you watch the game. The food is as much a part of football culture as the game itself.
Classic game-day fare, like chicken wings, pizza, chips, and brownies, are high in calories, unhealthy fat, and added sugar with little nutritional value. If you’re trying to make healthier choices or hosting guests who have dietary restrictions, serving lightened-up takes on classic flavors and healthy football food will give everyone something to cheer for.
Here are some of our favorite healthy football snacks.
CHOMPS Italian Style Beef Jerky
Seasoned with oregano, basil, onion, and garlic, CHOMPS Italian Style Beef Jerky captures the essence of an Italian hoagie in a protein-packed meat stick. They come individually wrapped, so you can set out a jar full of meat sticks for guests to help themselves to or slice them into bite-sized pieces to arrange on a charcuterie or crudite board.
No football party is complete without at least one chip and dip offering. We love both hot and cold dips for dipping everything from veggies to chips, crackers, and even jerky. Dairy-based dips, like French onion and queso, are high in saturated fat and calories. You can make or buy healthier versions that still taste amazing.
Try replacing cream cheese and sour cream in dips with plain Greek yogurt for extra protein, a cashew cheeze or vegan queso make a great dairy-free alternative, and guacamole tastes indulgent but is loaded with healthy fats and vitamins. Salsa is low in calories and hummus is a good source of plant-based fiber and protein.
You’re going to need something to scoop up those dips. Raw vegetables are our favorite “chip” for dipping. A tray of assorted veggies (think bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, broccoli florets, baby carrots, celery sticks, snap peas, or cherry tomatoes) is aesthetically pleasing and offers a variety of textures to pair with cold, hot, creamy, and spicy dips. Raw veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, so they’re more nutrient dense compared to chips, pretzels, and crackers.
Tortilla chips pair well with salsa, guacamole, queso, and bean dips. For a healthier corn tortilla chip, look for brands that use organic, non-GMO corn and have less than 100 milligrams of sodium per serving. There are also grain-free tortilla chips, like Siete which are made from cassava and cooked in avocado oil for anyone following a Paleo or other grain-free diet.
Popcorn is a whole grain, a good source of fiber, and easy to make at home. Pop your own kernels in a large pot with avocado oil or coconut oil and season with sea salt, herbs, or fresh grated Parmesan. If you opt for store-bought, look for air-popped options or popcorn that’s been cooked in a healthier oil, like olive or avocado.
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Try a cauliflower crust baked with your favorite toppings for a lower-carb, gluten-free pizza. You can also find ready-made cauliflower crusts and pizzas in the freezer aisle that you can pop in the oven.
Baked or Air-Fried Buffalo Wings
Skip the deep-fried take-out wings and try making your own. Baking or air frying can still give you a crispy texture, but saves fat and calories compared to the fried version. Plus, you can control how spicy the sauce is, or try other flavor combos like garlic and herb or honey barbeque. For a meatless version, try buffalo cauliflower poppers.
DIY Chocolate Nut Butter Cups
Making your own nut butter cups lets you control what goes in them and how much sugar they contain. The process is as simple as melting chocolate and layering it with natural nut butter in cupcake liners or a silicone mold. Try making them with dark chocolate for extra health benefits and less added sugar.
CHOMPS Jalapeno Beef Jerky
If you like meaty nachos, try topping them with a few CHOMPS Jalapeno Beef Jerky Meat Sticks chopped into small pieces. They’ll add extra protein, spice, and meaty texture without all the mess or fat found in traditional taco beef or meat chili.
Whether you’re watching solo or hosting a gathering for a prime time matchup, serving healthy snacks for football games will help keep up the spectator energy through the game. Save this list for planning your next spread of healthy game day food and visit CHOMPS for more game-worthy snacks.