Game Day Grazing: 4 Tips to a Great Game Day Menu
Part of the fun and excitement of game day is, of course, the food! For many, tailgating before the big game is part of the overall sporting event experience, while for others, spending quality time with friends and family at home while the game plays on a television nearby may more aptly describe the game day scene.
No matter how you watch the big game, game day food can be a delicious and fun way to introduce both adults and kids to a variety of nutrient-rich options. It may seem counterintuitive to offer up healthier fare during a time typically reserved for foods that have less nutritional value, but with the right planning and pairing, game day foods can continue to satisfy big game appetites while also providing a few nutrients, too.
To graze with health in mind, here are four easy ways to build a great game day menu without sacrificing flavor:
Create powerhouse dips. Dips are often a game day staple. Luckily, they just happen to be one of the easiest foods on the menu to create yourself. If you are a novice in the kitchen but still want to pack a flavorful punch, consider combining non-fat plain yogurt with your favorite savory herb or spice. Cilantro is a particular favorite of mine. Or if you’re feeling really creative and you have a blender handy, you could create a creamy, nutrient-rich hummus. My secret ingredient? Cottage cheese! Blend together cottage cheese, chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of Tahini and voila! A super creamy hummus with extra nutrient power.
Grab our Cilantro Lime Dip Recipe
Rethink your drink. Whether your game day festivities are adult-only or kid-friendly, having fun drinks on hand can not only ensure you stay hydrated, but add a little pizzazz to the party. One of my favorite celebratory beverages of choice is a refreshingly cold dairy-based smoothie. These flavorful beverages allow you to incorporate a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods into one incredibly satisfying drink. From protein to probiotics, smoothies are unique in that they combine many great nutrients together to support good health. Feeling ambitious? Take your smoothie offerings to the next level by color coordinating ingredients with your team’s colors.
Grab our Pomegranate Smoothie Recipe
Never serve your meat alone. The last game day gathering I attended, I couldn’t help but notice all the burgers, dogs, and wings being served. Often these dishes are flavored through generous application of condiments – ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, relish – the list goes on. Yet there are other ways to flavor these foods. In fact, you can add a lot of flavor to your favorite meat dish by pairing them up with at least one food from a complimentary food group. This quick trade up will allow you to not only add flavor, but provide nutrients in a way most condiments just can’t do. From fiber, which can help your meal seem more satisfying, to potassium, which can help offset some of sodium’s harmful effects on blood pressure, utilizing foods from more than one group at a time can be a winning strategy. Plus, they also make your dish more versatile and interesting too.
Grab our Green Chile Stuffed Burgers Recipe
Incorporate vegetables wherever you can. Vegetables may seem like a difficult food group to work into your day, but in many instances they can easily fit into a game day meal. Since vegetables tend to offer a wide variety of nutrients at very low calorie cost, they often lend themselves well to lighter, healthier eating. To maximize their full potential, keep an eye out for ways to incorporate them into as many dishes as possible. Perhaps it’s serving up raw peppers and carrots to dunk into a flavorful dip, adding a handful of spinach to a colorful smoothie or topping a burger with a few slices of onion. Or how about serving vegetables on a stick with cheese in between? No matter the route, vegetables can and should be added to your game day menu for maximum flavor, nutrition, and visual appeal.
Grab our Antipasto Salad Skewers Recipe
Game day celebrations should be fun and festive. Let your food selections reflect that by creatively pairing favorites from all five food groups together for one flavorfully good time.