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Super Snacks for Game Day

January football parties can be an early and challenging test of your New Year's Resolutions to eat well. Snacks are often at least half the fun of the game — maybe all the fun if you're backing the wrong team — so you need some snacks that skew healthy without sacrificing flavor.

These winning versions of familiar game day snacks score big on nutrition with taste that the fans will cheer about.

Cayenne Citrus Fruit Salad

There's nothing bland about this fruit salad! It brings the heat where you least expect it — with cayenne complementing the tangy citrus deliciously to create a perfect combo.

Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Chicken Wings

Get beyond predictable bottled sauce flavor with this healthier, slow-cooker version of a game-time staple.

Vegan Spicy Nacho "Cheese" Sauce

Win over vegan and health-minded fans alike with this tasty cheese-less nacho sauce, a creamy, full-flavored sauce that brings nutritional yeast powder and five robust spices into play.

Green Guacamole with Spirulina

This fresh take on guacamole kicks up the nutrition and color with spirulina and boosts the flavor with cumin, Mexican oregano and red pepper flakes.

Spicy Buffalo Popcorn Seasoning

White cheddar cheese powder, cayenne and celery salt add enough pizzazz to make sure make sure no one will think this is just popcorn.

More recipe inspiration for healthy cooking on game day

Put together a winning strategy for game day snacks featuring great-tasting foods that are healthier and more satisfying than the typical sports party menu of high-fat, high-calorie foods and beer.

There are plenty of nutritious options for snacks that allow your sports fans to satisfy the munchies without sacrificing their health.

If you're looking for game day snacks that have winning taste and nutrition, the first thing you'll want to do is re-think those standard potato chips. A one-ounce serving contains 150 calories, 90 of which are from fat. That might not sound all that bad until you learn that a one-ounce serving is generally just 10 to 20 chips, depending on the brand and the type. It's more likely a guest will drop 20 chips in the couch cushions than that they'll stop eating after that many, so some addition (or multiplication) may be necessary to figure the real impact of chips. Just a few handfuls of standard potato chips have the potential to add several hundred calories to the dietary scoreboard, so read those ingredient labels carefully (there are healthier chip options out there).

Also consider offering fresh fruits and veggies and pretzels for dipping. (Be sure to take a look at our Dip Recipes!) Serve unbuttered popcorn, revved up with one of Frontier's Popcorn Seasonings. You might want to make several flavors and encourage guests to sample each.

Halftime Treats

While some of your guests may stay glued to the TV during halftime, most will take advantage of the break for some major refueling. Traditional bowl game fare often includes vast quantities of high fat foods -- grilled hamburgers or hot dogs, mini-sausages simmered in barbeque sauce, and the head-turning (and potentially heart-stopping) deep-fat fried Buffalo wings. A single wing (betcha can't eat just one) can contain 250 calories and 15 grams of fat -- and that's before you dip them in the sauce (maybe 20 more calories and a couple grams of fat).

If your crowd can't watch a game without the wings, minimize the damage with a different method of preparation. Select your favorite Frontier Cajun, Barbecue or Mexican seasonings and prepare a rub. Vigorously rub the spices onto the wings and then grill them. If you prefer to brush on the flavor, blend the spices with a little honey and brush on toward the end of cooking time. Your guests will totally enjoy the results, but won’t have to deal with the extra fat (and pounds!) that come with the fried method.

Another tasty idea is to prepare a batch of pulled, barbequed turkey (you can keep it hot in the crock-pot) and serve with whole wheat buns and quartered dill pickles. Or buy several packages of turkey legs and toss them on the grill after seasoning with Simply Organic's flavor-enhancing Chicken Seasoning (works on turkey too!). A pasta salad made with beans and sliced vegetables would make a tasty side dish and would also provide an option for your vegetarian friends.

If you’ll be serving grilled Buffalo wings, be sure the dips you serve with them are also lower in fat and calories by preparing them with lowfat mayonnaise, lowfat sour cream, or plain yogurt. The dips can can be paired with a tray of healthy fresh-cut veggies — baby carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, green onions, cucumbers, sliced red and green peppers, green beans, pea pods. Prepare in advance and store in sealable bags for quick and easy refilling on game day. You might be surprised how quickly the tray empties, and how often people go back for refills throughout the day!

Soups, Chili & Chips

Soups and chili are popular and convenient game day foods. A slow cooker of hearty Black Bean and Salsa Soup with a selection of toppings on the side -- such as tortilla chips, chopped onions, jalapeno peppers, grated sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced black olives, along with a bottle of hot sauce,  and diced cilantro -- is not only healthy, tasty and filling, but it can be prepared a day or two in advance so that you, too, can enjoy all the game day festivities. Here's a tasty vegetarian chili recipe if you don't have a favorite of your own:

Vegetarian Chili

Or pick out something else that looks good from our list of Soup recipes.

Of course, you'll want to get baked tortilla chips into play. Serve alongside a bowl of homemade salsa using this easy-to-prepare recipe:

Desserts

As the clock winds down on the game -- and the party -- you might want to offer something sweet. For a healthy dessert that provides something cool to counteract the heat of all the hot dishes, offer a big bowl of fresh fruit salad. A mix of melons, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and other favorite fruits makes a colorful selection that guests will come to time and time again. A simple bowl of fresh orange wedges is another perfectly healthy option.

If you need something closer to traditional dessert, try some natural dessert recipes for this year's party, such as this one for Spiced Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. They're a delicious change from store-bought cookies, and they provide natural nutrition and fiber.

Beverages

Even though beer may be the beverage of choice on game day, plan to have other beverages on hand for those who prefer not to drink. A pot of hot spiced cider made with Frontier Cider Mate makes a delicious seasonal drink. Other beverages you may want to offer include coffee, Frontier tea (hot or iced), hot cocoa (Frontier’s Cocoa Mix Powder makes it easy!) or a pitcher of plain ice water.

Your party is all about getting friends and family together for an afternoon or evening of fun, fanaticism, and food. And remember -- when you offer healthy foods, everybody wins! (You can find plenty of healthy fare on our recipe pages.)

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