Cooler days, color changes, and of course football — those are three things that make it feel like Fall to us. If you’re as excited for this year’s NFL season as us (well, one of us), but not as much for the high-cal food and snacks that go along with it — or the resulting waistline — we’ve rounded up some healthier options. Now you can feel as good on game day as your (hopefully winning) team does.
If you’re watching at home:
We think this is the healthiest way to watch the game. Invite your pals to your house and you have the control over what is served. Or, make it a potluck and have everyone bring over a health-inspired dish. Some of our favorite healthy bites are:
Chicken and Veggie Quesadillas: Sprinkle reduced fat Mexican blend cheese, sautéed chopped onion, and diced mushrooms (or any veggies that you have on hand) between two whole wheat tortillas sprayed on one side with cooking spray or olive oil. Heat in a sauté pan or griddle until the tortillas are crispy on the outside and the cheese is melted in the middle. Cut into triangles and serve topped with non-fat plain Greek yogurt, salsa, and diced avocado.
Mini English Muffin Pizzas: Top whole grain English muffin halves with marinara, part skim or 2% mozzarella, and sliced green peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Bake in the oven or toaster oven at 400 degrees until cheese is melted and bubbly, about 7-10 minutes.
Not-So-Devilish Deviled Eggs: Prepare hard cooked eggs and cut each in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and mix half of the yolks with non-fat Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, chopped onion, and diced red pepper and until creamy. Refill each egg white half with the egg yolk mixture and top with paprika.
Air-popped Popcorn with Parmesan and Pepper: Toss air-popped popcorn with Parmesan cheese, fresh grated pepper (or your favorite spicy seasoning blend), and olive oil for a sophisticated twist on a classic snack.
Alexia Oven Crinkles Class French Fries: If you’re a fan of fries, these are a tasty and simple, but healthier, option. They’re baked, have 3 grams of fiber, and only 4 grams of fat per serving. Now that’s a good call.
If you’re ordering takeout or at a bar:
Wings, fries, and pizza are usually what come to mind when you think about game day food. Oh, and of course, beer. But add those items up and you’ve got potential for a 2000-calorie total before the first team even scores a touchdown.
The best bites? Skip the fried wings smothered in sauce, and opt for a thin crust pizza with lots of veggies and a side salad with grilled chicken (dressing on the side). If you’re ordering for a group and can’t resist the urge for wings, order the boneless, skinless kind and only get enough for everyone to have one. Instead of sipping a beer throughout the game, try making a spritzer with club soda and a splash of juice. You still get the cold fizziness, without the calories (or hangover.) If you are drinking beer, stick to the lightest of the light, like Michelob Ultra. Stay far away from India Pale Ales that can pack in over 250 calories per beer! Or, if light beers aren’t your cup of tea, and you’re sticking with healthy choices and portions for all your food choices, order one regular beer and consider it a treat for the day (meaning it takes the place of dessert or anything fried).
What’s your typical football watching fare? What healthy swaps are you making on game day?