Football season is here, and lots of choices for food on game day will be in play. However, your typical food choices might not be healthy ones.
Chicken wings, fried foods, pigs in a blanket, buffalo chicken, egg roll wrappers, and all kinds of dips make up some of the more popular food for the big game.
Is there any way to enjoy game day without eating garbage food?
Yes! Just because you are watching football doesn't mean that you have to eat unhealthy food.
Here are some healthy swaps for popular game day food so that you can indulge in game day with less guilt, and who knows, it might just be your new crowd favorite perfect appetizer!
8 Healthy Game Day Swaps:
1. Air Fried Buffalo "Chicken" Wings (Cauliflower Wings)
Swap out chicken wings for air fried cauliflower florets instead and enjoy game day food without all the fat and calories.
Cauliflower has a mild taste that goes well with many types of sauces making it a perfect compliant to buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, or even just your favorite hot sauce.
Health benefits of cauliflower
Cauliflower is surprisingly high in Vitamin C. In fact, One cup of raw cauliflower will provide around 85% of daily Vitamin C needs. It also includes great amounts of other micronutrients and is a good source of dietary fiber.
Check out our Whole30 Recipe: Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings blog post to see just how simple this game day favorite is.
Reminder: When selecting your sauce to pair with your cauliflower, opt for sauces that are sugar-free, minimally processed, and without artificial flavorings or ingredients. We've included our favorite homemade recipes in this 19 Dressings and Sauces made with LiveBrine Pickle Juice blog post.
2. Baked Potato Bar (made probiotic and healthier!)
Baked potatoes are certainly in the running for the ultimate comfort food, making them an ideal game day food for your game day party.
They can be both healthy and comforting at the same time if you take special care with your toppings.
The best part of all? A Baked Potato Bar is a fun and easy way to give people a choice to customize their baked potatoes EXACTLY how they want them. Pop several potatoes in the oven or slow cooker, and you have the perfect party food for everyone.
It's possible to go wrong by loading them with oversized servings of shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon, and butter. Sorry to break it to you, but too much of these toppings isn't the best thing for gut health.
Health Benefits of Baked Potatoes
Potatoes are high in fiber which helps play a role in healthy digestion while supporting a healthy gut microbiome. Many people in the United States don't get enough dietary fiber in their diet.
They are also high in vitamin B6, which helps break down carbohydrates and improves metabolism.
We've prepared a list of 11 Healthy Toppings for Your Baked Potato Bar to get you inspired and ready to take on your next game day.
A sneak peek of a few of our favorite toppings: Olive My Pickle Classic Kimchi (a uniquely flavorful probiotic boost), Probiotic Salsa made with Olive My Pickle LiveBrine, Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, Avocado, Olive My Pickle Muffuletta Mix.
Pro tip: Feel free to experiment with sweet potatoes if you're looking to score some bonus gut health points. Many of the same toppings can be used for both while adding a unique and adventurous culinary element!
Each person's gut health journey is unique to them but one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to get started to make healthy swaps.
Often just replacing or changing a few common foods can impact your steps to health and wellness.
3. Potato Chips vs. Cassava Chips with Muffuletta Dip
Potato chips and tortilla chips are foods that are extremely popular during the Super Bowl and other football games. Unfortunately, chips have many unhealthy ingredients, such as canola oil, which are GMO/glyphosate rich and high in Omega-6, disrupting our Omega-3 and Omega-6 balance. They are also high calorie and low nutrition while extremely easy to over-consume.
But if chips are one of your favorite snacks, we've got good news for you!
If you've never tried Cassava chips, they pair extremely well with a variety of toppings, including creamy avocado and our Muffuletta Olive Mix, which is flavor packed with fermented live culture olives, fermented vegetables, capers, garlic, and other herbs and spices. This simple and delicious serve-and-go solution is one of our best-selling products.
Bottom line: Opt for a healthier chip and double down with an equally healthy dip, sauce, salsa, or our Muffuletta Olive Mix.
Be sure to check out our 19 Dressings and Sauces made with LiveBrine Pickle Juice blog post if you're into dips - especially ranch- we have a recipe that will knock your socks off!
If you're ready to try a fermented pickle de gallo or salsa that's easy on your gut, check out 4 Homemade Salsas we can't stop eating with recipes made from or OMP pickles, kraut and pickle juice.
4. Soda vs. Soda Substitutes
Soda is an unhealthy food choice to drink at any time, but even more so on game days where people are already making poor food choices due to the celebration and excitement of the actual game.
When you have friends over, it might be even easier to fall into habitual behavior patterns. With the right mindset and discipline, you can make the best choice without sacrificing too much flavor.
There's a variety of seltzers waters on the market that are flavor packed, especially with the growing and trending interest for the product the last few years.
Want to do it at home and save money? Get a Soda Stream or carbonated water maker and add your own lime juice, lemon juice, or other fruit juices.
Bottom line: Equally avoid soda and diet soda and opt for a healthier substitute or even make it yourself at home!
5. Boring Cheese Tray vs. Healthy Charcuterie Tray
Here at Olive My Pickle we are big fans of charcuterie boards and trays.
Charcuterie boards are trays, boards and platters full of a variety of different foods and flavors that complement each other. They can be made with meats, cheeses, fruit, and vegetables - but there's no rule about how many items or finger foods should go on a food board.
They are typically considered easy party snacks that are pre-made in small servings for convenience when you have party guests over watching the game!
We made it easy to get started building your next board with a curated selection of must-haves. Check out this Big Board Bundle of the perfect ferments for your next healthy charcuterie board.
If you'd like some ideas on boards, we wrote a blog on that for you too. Read How to Build a Healthy Charcuterie Board here.
6. Regular Deviled Eggs vs. Probiotic Deviled Eggs
A favorite go-to for an easy and affordable appetizer for your football party. There's a good chance you can likely whip these together with ingredients you already have in your fridge.
Add some paprika, turmeric, fresh dill, or sun-dried tomatoes for extra flavor, and you've got yourself a healthy deviled egg bar (that your kids might actually eat!)
7. Regular Fruit Salad vs. Anti-oxidant Fruit Salad
Load up on high-antioxidant fruits such as wild blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet cherries, red and granny smith apples, and plums. (Source: St.John's Health Foundation)
Bottom line: According to Mayo Clinic: "Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which may play a role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you're exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation."
8. Basic Guac vs. Probiotic Guacamole
Guacamole is a favorite healthy food loaded with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber from the avocado that can be very versatile and eaten with chips, crackers, or vegetables.
Take your regular guacamole to the next level by adding an ounce or two of our LiveBrine Probiotic Pickle Juice: Classic Kosher Dill or LiveBrine Probiotic Pickle Juice: Turmeric + Cracked Black Pepper in place of the salt. It's really that simple, and those picky eaters might not even notice the probiotic boost. 🥑
Looking for more tips and recipes for guacamole and adding ferments to your taco night? We've got you covered, check out 4 Secrets to a Gut Friendly Taco Night.
Ready to get your healthy snack game on?
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