bowl of guacamole and chips

Planning your next big-game party? Serve healthier snack options and beverages for a guilt-free game day.

Serve healthy beverages

Forget the cola, and offer healthy beverage options instead.

  • Limit sweet, carbonated drinks. It’ll help your guests cut back on empty calories.
  • Try serving iced tea, flavored water, fresh juice with club soda and low-calorie beverages.
  • How about a healthful sweet treat? Make smoothies! Just blend frozen fruit and yogurt or milk. Then, serve them up in miniature paper cups with colored straws.
  • Keep plenty of ice on hand — not only does it keep drinks cold, it helps dilute sweet drinks.

Choose healthier ingredients

Some basic ingredients can be substituted for healthier options.

  • Choose reduced-fat versions of milk, cheese and other dairy products.
  • Depending on the recipe, replace sour cream with low-fat yogurt or low-fat cream cheese.
  • Substitute half the butter or oil in a recipe with unsweetened applesauce.
  • Use whole-wheat flour and whole grains instead of bleached, all-purpose flour.
  • Cook with leaner proteins. Replace ground beef with ground chicken, and switch pork bacon for turkey bacon.
  • Bake with natural sweeteners like honey and molasses instead of refined white sugar. Check packaging for substitution guidelines.
  • Include organic foods and ingredients whenever possible.

Encourage grazing

Both adults and kids love nibbling on healthy finger foods.

  • Create a dip bar. Add healthy choices like fresh salsa, turkey chili and yogurt dip.
  • Cut easy-to-dip fresh fruits and vegetables into small cubes. They make great snacks!
  • Serve low-fat cheese cubes and cheese sticks with whole-grain crackers.
  • Try whole-grain pita bread and baked chips instead of regular potato chips.
  • Grill bite-size pieces of vegetables and lean meat on skewers.
  • Cut sandwiches into small, decorative shapes with cookie cutters.

Offer healthy desserts

Don’t skimp on flavor. Serve a variety of healthy yet delicious desserts.

  • Create some walnut-topped yogurt-and-fruit parfaits. Walnuts contain heart-healthy fats.
  • Serve low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt and fruit sorbet.
  • Experiment with healthy recipe alternatives before the big game. Try reduced-fat, reduced-calorie dessert recipes, like a carrot-cake recipe that uses fresh carrots, walnuts and applesauce. Top with low-fat cream-cheese frosting. Then, cut it into small squares instead of serving large pieces.
  • Treat your kids to homemade popsicles. Just freeze juice and applesauce.
  • Some guests won’t want dessert. Brew coffee or tea for an after-game treat; serve with skim milk instead of cream.

Practice good defense

Promote healthy eating habits on the sly.

  • Choose baked over deep-fried foods whenever possible.
  • Smaller plates encourage smaller portions. Serve food on dessert or appetizer plates instead of large paper plates.
  • Offer a salad; serve reduced-fat or reduced-calorie dressing on the side.
  • Serve small snacks with toothpicks or skewers instead of forks and spoons.
  • Limit the amount of food displayed on platters and in bowls. Refill as needed.
  • Don’t serve food directly in front of the TV. Your guests are less likely to overeat if they have to get up and move to snack.

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