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Are you ready for some football?! The Big Game is right around the corner, which means you're probably firming up your Big Game party plans.

Aside from the game, halftime show and hilarious commercials, we also look forward to the snack spread at Big Game parties.

"As delicious as all the traditional Big Game snacks are, they are high in calories, fat and carbohydrates, effectively sabotaging your healthy New Year's resolution," says registered dietitian nutritionist Julie Fisher, RDN, LDN, CDE. And you're chowing down on all these unhealthy snacks while sitting sedentary on a couch for three hours. Not good.

But the good news is you can easily make over some of the traditional Big Game snacks into healthier dishes without skimping on flavor. Your guests won't even notice the difference. Here's how you can lighten up your Big Game party so everyone feels like a winner by the end of the game.

Buffalo wings

You really can't think of the Big Game without also thinking about Buffalo wings.

"Traditional wings are high in calories and fat — about 160 calories and 11 grams of fat per wing… yes, that's for one wing," Fisher says, adding that those nutritional facts don't even consider you dipping your wings in ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Buffalo wings can easily be made healthy by making them yourself on a grill. Marinate your raw chicken wings in herbs with oil, vinegar, ketchup and hot sauce. Marinating and grilling your own chicken wings means you can have three wings for 200 calories and 15 grams of fat.


The only thing that goes better with football than Buffalo wings is beer. Unfortunately, most beer is high in calories and carbohydrates. Make over your party's beer selection by making sure there are light beers as well as dark, heavier beers.

"Drinking light beer in moderation is ideal when you're watching your calories, but some studies have shown dark beers have some nutritional value," Fisher says. "Dark beers, like Guinness, tend to be high in iron and contain flavonoids, which are similar to the antioxidants found in red wine."

You can also offer your guests red wine and white wine spritzers. And, of course, make sure water is readily available to keep your guests well hydrated between alcoholic drinks.

"Just as a reminder, drinking in moderation means one beer for women per day and two beers per day for men," Fisher says.


It's easy to order or heat up frozen pizzas to serve at your Big Game party, but just one slice of take-out plain pizza is about 300 calories if not more, depending on the restaurant it's from and the toppings you choose. Just like Buffalo wings, you can make over your Big Game pizza to make it healthier — choose a thin crust or a whole wheat dough, go light on the sauce, choose part-skim mozzarella cheese, and top it with yummy roasted vegetables. If you're worried about timing while your guests arrive — arrange the pizzas in the morning and have them ready to pop into the oven when the time is right.

Tortilla chips

At the grocery store, look for tortilla chips that are baked - they tend to have 50 percent less fat than traditional tortilla chips. Even better, choose multigrain tortilla chips.

"Multigrain tortilla chips are made with brown rice, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds and quinoa, which are all heart-healthy grains," Fisher says. You can even skip corn-based tortilla chips all together by choosing bean-based chips that are high in fiber.

Potato chips

You could easily serve baked potato chips, but everyone will catch on to your healthy snack sneak attack. Instead, look for something a little more exciting like Popchips in fun flavors, sweet potato chips, baked pita chips or Sunchips. Or you could satisfy your guests' desire for a crunchy snack with multigrain pretzels or fresh veggies such as carrots, celery, cucumbers and snap peas.

Creamy dips

As delicious as spinach artichoke dip and taco dips are, they're creamy, and that means they're probably full of fat and calories.

"Give your creamy dips a makeover by swapping Greek yogurt in for full-fat sour cream," Fisher says. "Greek yogurt is not only lower in fat and calories, but it's high in protein." If your recipe calls for cream cheese, you can use Neufchatel cheese instead, which is slightly lower in calories.

You can also skip creamy dips all together by serving your guests guacamole and fresh salsa.

"Although guacamole is high in calories, the avocado in it gives you heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals," Fisher says.
healthy big game snacks
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