Football season is finally 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 substitutes 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!
Healthy Game Day Food Entrees
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, be sure to opt for sauces that are sugar-free, minimally processed, and without artificial flavorings or ingredients. Anything Whole30 or Paleo approved can be a good start, and we've included a few of our favorites in our blog post linked above.
Baked Potato Bar (but make it 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 (or more!) potatoes in the oven or slow cooker, and you have the perfect party food for everyone.
Many people 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, Chobani® Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, Avocado, Olive My Pickle Muffuletta Mix.
Pro tip: Feel free to experiment with sweet potatoes if you are 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!
Game Day Food Healthy Swaps
Each person's health journey and 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 profoundly impact your steps to health and wellness.
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 high in Omega-6, thus disrupting our Omega-3 and Omega-6 balance. They are also high calorie and low nutrition while extremely easy to over-consume, which is a big no-no when looking to improve your health.
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 more healthful chip and double down with an equally healthy dip, sauce, salsa, or our Muffuletta Olive Mix.
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!
Veggies with Ranch vs. Veggies with Healthier Sauce
Healthy food for game day can be as easy as eating vegetables with dip. While ranch that has dairy may not be a problem for everyone, it's been shown that dairy can induce inflammatory states even in people who aren't strictly lactose intolerant.
Bottom line: Opt for a dairy-free ranch (such as Primal Kitchen's) or experiment by making your own dairy-free mayo-based ranch dip with a probiotic boost with our LiveBrine™ Probiotic Pickle Juice: Classic Kosher Dill.
Boring Cheese Tray vs. Healthy Charcuterie Tray
Here at Olive My Pickle we are big fans of charcuterie trays.
Charcuterie trays are food boards or 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. For your mini-board, a curated selection of must-haves. Go small or add on as you please with our Easy Board Bundle - Starter 3 Pack or feed the whole team with our Big Board Bundle - Starter 6 Pack.
Regular Fruit Salad vs. Antioxidant Fruit Salad
Load up on selection 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."
Regular Guac vs. Probiotic Guac
Guacamole is a food that has gained popularity in recent years. It's a healthy food 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 + Spice. It's really that simple, and those picky eaters might not even notice the probiotic boost. 🥑
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 spice, and you've got yourself a healthy deviled egg bar (that your kids might actually eat!)