8 Tasty Ways to Enjoy the Big Game Without the Big Gain

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
Football chocolate covered strawberries

If we’re being totally honest, half the appeal of watching the Big Game (aside from commercials, of course), is the snacks. But when you are trying to lose weight, game-time snacking can lead to big time trouble.

For a lighter, guilt-free go at football-watching snacks, try these eight flavor superstars that are perfect for the big game:

1. Skinny Spinach Dip

This lightened up version of a dip-lover’s classic is so full of flavor, your guests won’t know it’s diet-friendly. Serve it with crunchy veggies for happy—and healthy—dipping!

Servings: 6

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel and 1 Vegetable

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups fresh baby spinach. steamed
  • 1 ½ cups non-fat plain Greek yogurt, drained
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • Carrot and celery sticks or cucumber rounds for serving

Directions: 

  1. Drain spinach then chop and add to medium bowl.
  2. Combine with remaining ingredients.
  3. Season as desired.
  4. Serve with vegetables.

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2. Nacho-Style Roasted Chickpeas

Warning: These flavorful crispy chickpeas are so tasty, you just might have to tackle the table to get some before they’re gone!

Servings: 4

Counts as: ½ cup of chickpeas counts as 1 SmartCarb

Ingredients:

  • 2 15-oz. cans no-salt added chickpeas
  • Zero calorie cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp. fat-free Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • Toothpicks (preferably football-themed!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Pat dry.
  3. Pour chickpeas in plastic freezer bag and mist generously with cooking spray. Close and shake bag to coat.
  4. Add cheese, chili powder and onion powder to bag. Close and shake again.
  5. Spread chickpeas in a single layer on baking sheet.
  6. Bake until golden brown and slightly crispy (40-45 minutes in most ovens). Be sure to stir frequently to avoid burning and ensure distribution of heat.
  7. Thread about five chickpeas on each toothpick.

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3. Mini Meatball Kebabs

It wouldn’t be game day without meatballs! Try this lightened up version for a skinnier take on a first-string snacking staple. They may be small but they pack a big flavor punch.

Servings: 8

Counts as: 1 PowerFuel

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped spinach or kale
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • Zero-calorie cooking spray
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
  • Small skewers or toothpicks

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix ground turkey, garlic, onion, parsley, spinach, salt, pepper and oregano.
  3. Use a tablespoon to measure out turkey mixture and form into meatballs.
  4. Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray and place meatballs two inches apart on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink on the inside, and are browned on the outside.
  6. Once meatballs are cooked through, remove from heat and let cool.
  7. Thread one meatball and one piece of bread on each skewer.
  8. Serve with tomato sauce for dipping.

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4. Crowd-Pleasing Pico de Gallo

Featuring fresh veggies and herbs, this flavor MVP plays well with sliced cucumber rounds or a SmartCarb like a whole wheat pita or whole grain crackers.

Servings: 4

Counts as: 1 Vegetable. If you use pita or crackers for dipping, add 1 SmartCarb.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup white onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp. green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

5. Mango Salsa

Give your salsa a citrusy kick with this sweet and tangy blend that’s as versatile as it is tasty. Pair it with your favorite veggies (we love it with cucumber rounds) for a game-winning flavor play.

Servings: 2

Counts as: 1 SmartCarb

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh jalapeño, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cups mango, chopped
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients, mix well and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.

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6. Big Game Baba Ghanoush

It may sound fancy, but it’s so flavorful and so simple to make, we couldn’t leave it off the list. This is a tasty alternative to hummus that gets its flavor from a variety of seasonings. Feel free to ditch the pita in favor of some fresh crunchy veggies.

Servings: 2

Counts As: 2 Vegetables and 1 Extra; 1 pita counts as 1 SmartCarb

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups eggplant
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley
  • 2, 6-inch whole wheat pitas

Directions:

  1. Slice eggplant in half and roast in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
  2. coop out the inside and discard the skin, then puree in blender with remaining ingredients.
  3. Warm pitas in microwave or stove and tear into small dipping-sized pieces.

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7. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Footballs

Satisfy that sweet tooth with this tasty treat that’s as festive as it is flavorful! Healthy hint: If you’re on Nutrisystem, we recommend making one batch for your guests and one batch for yourself using your NutriChocolaty Wafers and a cup of strawberries and counting it as one Snack plus one SmartCarb combo (you’ll get to eat a little more chocolate this way!).

Servings: 16 (1 serving = 2 strawberries)

Counts As: 2 Extras

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 24 medium strawberries
  • 1 tube of white icing

Directions:

  1. Heat chocolate chips on stove-top or in microwave until melted (stir often and check on melting progress often to prevent burning).
  2. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
  3. Dip each strawberry in the chocolate until coated then place on wax paper.
  4. Let sit until dry (about 15 minutes).
  5. Use icing to draw “laces” on the “footballs.”
  6. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

8. Bell Pepper Nachos

This is “nacho” average recipe! Spicy, cheesy and packed with nutrition, these Bell Pepper Nachos are the ultimate snack for your game day feast. Make this healthy snack a full-on meal by adding on another PowerFuel. Top your nachos with lean ground taco meat, chorizo or grilled chicken.

Servings: 6

On Nutrisystem, Count As: ½ PowerFuel, 1 Extra and 1 Vegetable

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. mini bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • ½ cup black beans
  • ½ cup Pico de Gallo
  • ½ avocado, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese, reduced fat
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Arrange peppers on baking sheet.
  2. Sprinkle, beans, Pico de Gallo and avocado on the peppers.
  3. Top with cheese.
  4. Broil until cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Garnish with chopped cilantro.