The Super Bowl is all about football, booze, commercials, and most importantly, snacks. But don’t worry, just because we say "guilt-free" doesn’t mean we did away with the wings and chili.
To make sure you have enough healthy snacks to last through the halftime show, we’ve rounded up 41 of our favorites—from chips and dips to meatballs, quesadillas, and sweet treats to blitz your party-goers.
Melding two classic sushi ingredients—cucumber and avocado—these rolls swap the salmon and seaweed for turkey and pesto. While slicing the cukes paper-thin can be pretty tricky (Tip: use a mandoline), there’s no baking, grilling, or sautéing involved in order to get this appetizer to the table.
This recipe tackles a notoriously unhealthy junk food and morphs it into a snack you can feel good about eating during the big game. With fiber-filled sweet potatoes as the base and chipotle chicken, spinach, and cheese as toppers, these skins perfectly combine sweet and savory. Add chopped roasted veggies to sneak in an added nutrition boost.
This recipe puts on a twist on the traditional Bruchetta by using zucchini (a.k.a. courgette, the word this recipe uses), ricotta and Tzatziki. You'll feel really fancy, but the recipe is just as easy chopping up tomatoes and onions for the typical version.
Quesadillas are a total winner at any sports gathering, but they aren’t exactly guilt-free. We searched the Web for a fun combination of ‘dilla fillings and fell in love with this green and fruity combo. They’re easy to make, gooey, crispy and even have some greens and fruit tucked inside. We don’t have to tell you that an apple a day is a healthy choice!
Shrimp cocktails are tasty, but not exactly imaginative. To jazz up the old standby, try this spicy, seasoned version with a tangy tomato chutney for dipping. The appetizer gets its flavor from a mix of parsley, garlic, basil, ginger, lemon juice, and red pepper. Added bonus: Shrimp have a high concentration of the antioxidant astaxanthin, known to reduce inflammation and are packed with protein (1 gram per shrimp!).Astaxanthin decreased oxidative stress and inflammation and enhanced immune response in humans. Park JS, Chyun JH, Kim YK. Nutrition & metabolism, 2010, Mar.;7():1743-7075.
While chicken fingers will appear amongst many Americans’ Super Bowl snack spreads, these crispy baked salmon fingers are a fun way to class things up. Both the cornmeal-parmesan crust and the spicy lemon garlic mayo — made healthier with the addition of Greek yogurt — bring on the heat (but that’s what the beer is for, right?).
The chicken on these easy-to-assemble skewers puts its party dress on with rosemary, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Dip them in spicy (and pretty intense) harissa sauce made from roasted red peppers, chili, olive oil, lemon juice, and other spices. Plan on at least 10 grams of protein per skewer!
Popcorn, which is one of our favorite satisfying low-cal snacks, gets a fancy upgrade with chili powder, cumin, pepper, paprika, and sharp jalapeño cheese (we suggest cutting the recipe to use one cup of cheese). Choose a low-fat, low-sodium pre-packaged variety of popcorn, or pop your own kernels in a small paper bag in the microwave.
We’ve called upon our friend the mini-muffin tin yet again! Instead of using less-than-healthy white pizza dough, these pizza-esque treats turn to cauliflower for the base. Serve them warm with a bowl of pizza sauce for dipping!
The only hard part to making this snack is slicing the main ingredient. To save some time (and make your life a whole lot easier) use a mandoline to slice the sweet potatoes. The snack is full of orange-hued carotenoids, necessary for the body to absorb Vitamin A. Feel free to serve these sweet potato chips alongside any of our other favorite healthier chip recipes. Dip them in malt vinegar for a tangy twist.
These grown-up treats have only six ingredients. Plus, they’re vegan (no marshmallows!) gluten-free and dairy-free. You can always sub out the peanut butter for your favorite nut butter, or a nut-free alternative, too. If you’re feeling extra spirited, try shaping the treats into footballs!
Get ready to have your mind blown. You’re about to make cheese… from yogurt. These simple, spreadable yogurt balls get their flavor from olive oil, fresh herbs, and lemon zest. Since they’re made from strained yogurt, they’re packed with protein and calcium. Spread the cheese onto slices of toasted whole-wheat baguette for a simple and healthy snack.
Disclaimer: This appetizer takes a little more prep work, but we promise these creative little parmesan BLT cups are worth it. The premise behind the mini BLTs is to use grape tomatoes as a driver for the tiny arugla and bacon pieces. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant compound that may lower the risk of heart disease. And let’s be honest: any snack featuring bacon is a winner.
The notion of bake-free brownies may seem to defy fundamental food science, but this version of the go-to party dessert is made mostly from nuts, dates, and cocoa powder, all molded into squares of healthy deliciousness. They’re also gluten-free and have the blood pressure-lowering power of cocoa powder.Cocoa, blood pressure, and vascular function. Sudano I, Flammer AJ, Roas S. Current hypertension reports, 2012, Nov.;14(4):1534-3111.
These little guys are unreal. There’s no fruit or veggies in this snack, but they’ve got portion control built right in by baking up in a mini-muffin tin. If you use whole-wheat elbows, whole-wheat cracker crumbs, and Greek yogurt you can turn a classically sinful meal into a healthier snack.
Talk about an easy game-day dessert. These chocolate-covered strawberries (one of our favorite healthier ways to satisfy your sweet tooth!) take no time at all and are so cute you might not want to eat them. On second thought, who are we kidding? Added bonus: Strawberries have a ton of immunity boosting vitamin C.
These cute one-bite vegetarian tacos bring some sunshine to this year’s potentially blustery game. Featuring the likes of avocado, corn, red pepper, and Greek yogurt, this light, veggie-filled snack looks tastes just as amazing as it looks—if not better.
Hummus is always an easy party-time hit. But it’s time to do away with the store bought beige stuff, and try this colorful version instead. The chickpea hummus gets it’s hue from an entire jar of sun-dried tomatoes, as well as a little tomato paste. Serve it with your favorite chips, whole-wheat pita, or veggie sticks. Plus, chickpeas are a good source of important vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and folate.Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. Jukanti AK, Gaur PM, Gowda CL. The British journal of nutrition, 2012, Nov.;108 Suppl 1():1475-2662.
We know, we know, fries are supposed to be made out of potatoes. But we promise the Parmesan crust does an excellent job at hiding the green color of the zucchini—a good source of vitamin C and manganese, the nutrient that promotes calcium absorption. We love dipping the baked goodies in low-cal barbeque sauce!
These game-day mini sandwiches will appeal to most everyone at the party. The zucchini-packed turkey burgers are stacked with heirloom tomatoes, lettuce, and Tzatziki sauce for a crafty yet simple snack. Feel free to let your guests customize with other veggies and toppings, too.
Guac-amole is an instant win, but this brocc-amole is a delicious way to make for a healthier win. While there are actually no avocados in the recipe, the mix still turns out creamy and green like the old-fashioned stuff. The broccamole is a low-cal, low-fat dip with lots of vitamin C—over 100 percent of the daily recommended value in a cup ((Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention.Vitamin C as an antioxidant: evaluation of its role in disease prevention. Padayatty SJ, Katz A, Wang Y. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2003, Jun.;22(1):0731-5724.
Potato latkes may not seem so timely for the Super Bowl, but these ones are too tasty to leave off the list. The dipping cream has apple chunks right in it, and the latkes can be baked instead of fried for a healthier snack. If you want to switch things up even more, try using sweet potatoes or subbing half of the potato for zucchini shreds.
This dip is perfect for a jalapeño popper that lasts longer than one pop. Made of Neufchatel cheese (essentially lower fat cream cheese), Greek yogurt, and a little mayo, this dish stays light while achieving the perfect creamy consistency. Spicy green chiles and jalapeños add some heat while panko breadcrumbs bring on the crunch.
Salad may sound like a Super Bowl party fumble, but we’ve got a secret to let you in on: You can eat this snack with your hands! Transform a classic Caesar into a finger food by spooning it onto endive spears and topping with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and whole-wheat croutons. Plus, endive is rich in minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron.
It doesn’t get much simpler than this, folks. These rainbow-colored skewers are totally customizable, healthy, fresh, and quick to assemble. Choose your favorite fruits, then dip them in a mixture of honey and plain yogurt (add a dash of cinnamon if you’re feeling spicy). And if you’d rather skip the yogurt as a dipper, try drizzling the skewers in lemon-lavender syrup.
This dip actually tastes like cookie dough (and it’s healthy). Don’t tell anyone at the party: The gooey dip is made mostly from chickpeas (gasp!), a good source of high-quality proteinNutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. Jukanti AK, Gaur PM, Gowda CL. The British journal of nutrition, 2012, Nov.;108 Suppl 1():1475-2662. . These pair well apple slices or homemade cinnamon pita chips.
These shrimp have a tropical flare with their shredded coconut crust and a sweet and spicy apricot dipping sauce. While most restaurant coconut shrimp are fried, these little guys are baked until golden brown. Bonus: 8 jumbo shrimp have 9 grams of protein.
Guacamole doesn’t have to be the only green item at the party. Dish up a budget-friendly winner with this quick and healthy snack. Season peas with lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and fresh cilantro before spreading on slices of whole-wheat baguette. Toasted chia seeds and shredded Pecorino cheese are the final touch.
Consider these little guys a crowd pleaser. They combine homemade pesto, spinach, goat cheese, and stuff the mixture into portabella mushroom caps. Bake, and they’re ready to serve.
A televised sports gathering without wings is like jazzercising without Jane Fonda. We suggest these super simple wings that are baked instead of fried. Serve with carrot and celery sticks and extra hot sauce.
Classic spinach and artichoke is usually loaded with cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and shredded cheese. This version gets its creaminess from cannellini beans instead. Feel free to add a little plain Greek yogurt to up the creaminess level even more. There’s tons of fresh flavenoid-rich spinach packed in the dip bowl.
These snacks actually encourage double dipping. The ingredients inside the clear cups (must be clear so you can see each part!) are the same ones used in traditional layered dip, but transferring them out of a casserole dish makes for easy portion control. Plus, there are veggies tucked in there! Pair with whole-grain tortilla chips, and sub plain Greek yogurt for sour cream for a healthier layer of tang.
Do away with all the guilt that comes with conventional mozzarella sticks with this baked version. For mess-free baking, freeze the sticks before popping them in the oven to help them hold their shape. Serve with marinara sauce or sriracha for a spicy kick.
You can’t really go wrong with meatballs. They’re easy to eat and take just minutes to prep. This version gets a minor makeover by using whole-wheat bread instead of white and light sour cream instead of heavy cream. One serving (six meatballs) is just under 300 calories, and has nearly 30 grams of protein.
Try saying that three times fast! This smoky chili gets it’s richness from a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate. Don’t expect it to taste like chocolate fondue—the chili has got all the normal seasonings, beans, and chicken you’d expect, with the added bonus of cocoa powder (which studies suggest can lower blood pressure and regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol).Metabolic effects of dark chocolate consumption on energy, gut microbiota, and stress-related metabolism in free-living subjects. Martin FP, Rezzi S, Peré-Trepat E. Journal of proteome research, 2010, Mar.;8(12):1535-3907. Cocoa, blood pressure, and vascular function. Sudano I, Flammer AJ, Roas S. Current hypertension reports, 2012, Nov.;14(4):1534-3111.
These tots ditch the tater and sub in sweet potato instead. The final product is simple, yet cheesy with the added boost from the parmesan. This recipe also includes an easy homemade Sriracha ketchup, if you're looking to heat things up.
Normally, dills deep-fried in oil aren’t exactly (OK, not even remotely) healthy snacks. Thankfully, this version bakes the pickle slices with a simple egg white breading and a dusting of olive oil. Try ‘em with this healthier ranch dip made with fat-free sour cream and Greek yogurt. Fun fact: some types of pickles are also a great source of stomach-friendly probiotics.Identification and characterization of lactic acid bacteria isolated from traditional pickles in Sichuan, China. Yu J, Gao W, Qing M. The Journal of general and applied microbiology, 2012, Dec.;58(3):1349-8037.
This warm and gooey dip sounds totally naughty, but it’s got veggies in it! Greek yogurt and cheese add richness to corn, red bell pepper, onion, and jalapeño. A little of this dip goes a long way because just one half cup of corn has 6 grams of filling fiber and 8 grams of protein.
While trail mix is a known dangerfood, this version isn’t half bad. This healthier mix uses multigrain cereal squares as its base. Dried cranberries, peanut butter, and honey cereal give it a great flavor combo, but feel free to use less fruit or sub in your favorite healthy seeds or nuts to make it your own.
These little muffins harbor a fun surprise in the center. The popable cornbread bites have a fairly short list of ingredients, including all-beef hotdogs—or you can sub for your favorite meat-free version. Make them gluten-free by using a gluten-free cornbread mix (the ones in the photo were made with this option!). The tiny corndog bites will be swiped up before the first down. Serve with a side of ketchup and good ol’ yellow mustard.
Originally published January 2014. Updated January 2016.