On game day, there’s nothing better than enjoying your favorite sport in the company of friends, family, and your favorite snacks.
While some game day foods, like veggies, hummus, and grilled chicken wings, are packed with filling protein and fiber, other game day foods aren’t as nutritious.
While you don’t have to avoid your favorite dishes entirely, learning more about certain dishes and how they affect your health can help you make better decisions on game day.
Here are 13 game day foods, including healthy options and game day foods to limit.
While vegetables aren’t usually the star of the show on game day, adding a few to your plate can provide much-needed fiber, vitamins and minerals to your game day meal.
Veggie platters are easy to make and can be paired with nutritious sauces like hummus and Greek yogurt sauce. Combining fiber-rich crunchy vegetables like celery, peppers, carrots, and broccoli with protein-rich dips like hummus is more nutritious than less healthy staples like potato chips and will satisfy your salty cravings. Taste craving.
Fiber and protein slow digestion and stimulate the release of satiety hormones, such as peptide YY (PYY), which tell your body you’re full. That’s why choosing high-fiber, high-protein snacks for your game-day binge can help you keep your calorie intake in check.
Although fried chicken wings are delicious, they are high in calories and produce harmful compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs) during the frying process. AGEs are molecules produced by reactions between sugar and proteins or fats that trigger oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, increasing the risk of disease.
Choosing chicken wings prepared using healthier cooking methods (such as baking) that produce fewer AGEs is a better choice for overall health. In addition to being lower in calories and lower in AGEs than fried chicken wings, grilled chicken wings are a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, zinc and selenium, as well as protein, which can help you feel satisfied after eating.
If you’re looking for a delicious game day snack that’s low in calories and carbs but packed with protein, look no further than Shrimp Cocktail. A 3-ounce serving of shrimp provides only 84.2 calories but is packed with over 20 grams (g) of protein, making it the perfect choice to satisfy your hunger on game day.
In addition to protein, shrimp are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, selenium and vitamin B12, as well as anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
Shrimp cocktail is a friendly option for people following different dietary patterns such as low-carb, paleo, and keto diets, as well as those simply looking for a nutritious, high-protein snack option. Research shows that choosing high-protein snacks over low-protein snacks can help reduce appetite, improve feelings of fullness, and help you eat fewer calories at subsequent meals.
If you need a last-minute idea for a big game snack board, consider putting together a fruit and cheese platter. Fruits like berries, pineapple, and apple slices are easy to prepare and packed with nutrients like fiber and vitamin C.
Pairing fruit with protein-rich cheese provides the perfect combination of salty and sweet flavors that many partygoers crave. In addition to protein, cheese is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, which is necessary for bone health, muscle function, and many other critical functions in the body.
Try combining your favorite fruits and cheeses, including soft and hard cheeses like Parmesan, goat cheese, cheddar and brie, for a range of satisfying textures and flavors.
Chili is a game day staple, made with nutritious ingredients like beans, onions and peppers. Chili is one of the few big game foods that provides a complete, filling meal, making it a great choice for hungry fans.
While beef chili may be a healthy choice, many health experts recommend minimizing red meat intake because a diet high in red meat can increase the risk of certain health conditions, such as stomach cancer.
If you’re trying to cut back on red meat, consider cooking up a pot of chicken or vegetarian chili filled with fiber-rich beans.
Stuffed mushrooms are a fan favorite and can be prepared to suit a variety of dietary preferences. For example, mushrooms can be stuffed with vegetables and ground turkey for a high-protein, low-carb appetizer, or made with beans and cheese for a vegetarian option.
Research shows that in addition to being low in carbs and calories and high in fiber, eating mushrooms regularly is a simple and delicious way to increase copper, potassium, zinc, B vitamins and selenium (an essential mineral) Intake of other essential nutrients is essential for thyroid function and also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body.
Instead of dunking your chips in ultra-processed dip, consider eating tortilla chips or plantain chips with freshly made guacamole and salsa. Unlike most store-bought dips, such as French onion dip, guacamole and salsa are packed with nutrients known to support health.
For example, guacamole is made from avocados, which are high in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
Salsa is another nutritious option, rich in carotenoid antioxidants such as lycopene. Lycopene has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and research shows that regular consumption of lycopene-rich foods, such as tomato products, can help reduce the risk of common health conditions such as heart disease.
Eggs are often called “nature’s multivitamin,” and for good reason. Eggs are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals such as choline, selenium and B12.
Made with simple ingredients, deviled eggs are delicious and easy to make, which is why they’re a popular snack at game day parties. Deviled eggs pair well with veggies and other healthy snacks like hummus or fruit and cheese, making them a convenient and delicious snack option.
Pizza is one of the most common foods served at game day parties. While pizza isn’t inherently bad for you, the types of pizza offered on game day (such as takeout pies) are often very high in calories, refined carbohydrates, added salt, processed meats, and other ingredients that should be limited. healthy eating.
For example, a slice of Papa John’s Epic Stuffed Crust Pepperoni, Sausage and Six Cheese Pizza contains 480 calories and 1,220 milligrams (mg) of sodium, making it a high-calorie, high-sodium food. Many pizzas are also topped with processed meats such as pepperoni, sausage and bacon, which can be harmful to your health if eaten regularly.
For a healthier take on traditional pizza, choose a thin-crust pizza and top it with veggies, or make your own pizza at home using nutritious ingredients.
While game-day themed treats like cupcakes, brownies, and cookies are irresistible, it’s best to limit your intake of desserts and other sugary foods. Consuming too much added sugar can harm your health by increasing blood sugar and body fat levels and increasing your risk of several health conditions, including fatty liver disease, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
While the occasional sweet treat won’t have a major impact on your health, it’s best to choose more nutritious, naturally sweet foods when possible, such as a plate of fruit and cheese, rather than sugary desserts. There are also many ways to use ingredients like monk fruit, almonds, or coconut flour to make your favorite desserts that are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber.
If you’re a bacon lover, you may want to consider cutting back on this very popular processed meat product. According to research, bacon has one of the highest concentrations of AGEs of any other food. Additionally, a diet rich in processed meats, such as bacon, is strongly linked to several cancers, including colorectal and breast cancer.
Bacon is often used to “wrap” other animal proteins, including meatballs, sausages, and hot dogs. Since regular consumption of bacon and other processed meats is known to be detrimental to your health, it’s best to forego bacon-themed snacks during the big game. Instead, choose chicken or turkey sliders or meatballs or a plant-based option like a black bean burger.
Macaroni and cheese is a favorite among football fans because of its gooey texture and salty flavor. Like many foods at game day parties, macaroni and cheese is often fried and served in bite-sized pieces for easy snacking.
Fried foods are high in calories but often low in satiating nutrients like protein and fiber. In addition, fried foods contain high levels of AGEs, which can harm health if consumed in large quantities.
To satisfy your cheese cravings, snack on cheese and fruit, or add cottage cheese to your recipes for a light, protein-packed pasta dish with 24 grams of satiating protein per cup.
To reduce your added sugar intake on game day, consider eliminating sodas, sugar-sweetened cocktails, and other sugary drinks. Consuming sugary drinks has been linked to many health problems and can damage your liver, teeth, and more.
Stay hydrated during the game by drinking water flavored with fresh lemon or lime juice, and choose low-sugar cocktails and drinks when possible.
While most game day parties and get-togethers center around sugary desserts, fried foods, and gourmet fare like pizza, there are healthier options to enjoy the game while at the same time.
In general, it’s best to forego popular game day treats like cupcakes, cookies, fried foods, and processed meat dishes and fill your plate with healthier options like grilled chicken wings, veggies, and hummus , fruits and cheese.