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 31 of our favorites—from chips and dips, to meatballs, quesadillas, and sweet treats to blitz your party-goers.
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. Padayatty, S.J., Katz, A., Wang, Y., et al. Molecular and Clinical Nutrition Section, Digestive Diseases Branch, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2003 Feb;22(1):18-35. .
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, J.S., Chyun, J.H., Kim, Y.K. School of Food Science, Washington State University. Nutrition and Metabolism, 2010 Mar 5;7:18. .
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!
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!
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.
Melding two classic sushi ingredients—cucumber and avocado—these rolls skip the salmon and seaweed. 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.
Easily the prettiest dish to grace the Super Bowl, these one-bite vegetarian tacos bring some sunshine to this year’s potentially blustery game. Featuring the likes of roasted Poblano peppers, corn, red pepper, and hearts of palm, this light, veggie-filled snack looks tastes just as amazing as it looks—if not better.
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 guac and melted cheddar as toppers, these skins perfectly combine sweet and savory. Add chopped roasted veggies to sneak in an added nutrition boost.
These game-day mini sandwiches will appeal to most everyone at the party. The simple recipe stacks mini turkey burgers onto whole-wheat buns with Gorgonzola, a schmear of mayo, lettuce, and pickles. Each slider is a touchdown at 170 calories and 14 grams of protein.
10. Caesar Bites
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.
While bruchetta typically requires a couple of hunks of crusty bread, this version uses zucchini instead. A traditional tomato mixture tops the veggie slices along with shredded mozzarella.
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.
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!
Two things right off the bat. One, this dip actually tastes like cookie dough (and it’s healthy). Two, we’re talking about chocolate-flavored tortilla chips, not actual chocolate chip morsels. Don’t tell anyone at the party: The gooey dip is made mostly from chickpeas (gasp!), a good source of high-quality protein Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review. Jukanti, A.K., Gaur, P.M., Gowda, C.L. et al. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, AP, India. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2012 Aug;108. . Not into the chocolate chips (or can’t find ‘em)? Try swapping in apple slices or homemade cinnamon pita chips.
These shrimp have a tropical flare with their shredded coconut crust and a spicy pineapple sauce (made with pineapple chunks, mint leaves, and a habanero pepper). 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.
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?).
Consider these little guys a crowd pleaser. They take just minutes to prepare—combine chopped spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and basil 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 broiled instead of fried. To bump down the fat content even more, try boiling the wings before broiling. Serve with carrot and celery sticks and extra hot sauce. The best part: You can snack on four of these wings for about 150 calories. Not bad!
Classic spinach and artichoke is usually loaded with cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, and shredded cheese. This version gets its creaminess from white beans and sesame seeds, 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 Flavonoid intake and risk of chronic diseases. Knekt, P., Kumpulainen, J., Jarvinen, R. et al., National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2002 Sep;76(3):560-8. .
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.
23. Spicy Popcorn
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ground turkey 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) Cocoa, blood pressure, and vascular function. Sudano, I., Flammer, A.J., Roas, S., et al. Current Hypertension Reports 2012;14(4):279-84. Metabolic effects of dark chocolate consumption on energy, gut microbiota, and stress-related metabolism in free-living subjects. Martin, F.P., Rezzi, S., Pere-Trepat, E., Kamlage, B., et al. Nestle Research Center, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, Lausanne, Switzerland. Journal of Proteome Research, 2009 Dec;8(12):5568-79 .
These tots ditch the tater and sub in vitamin A rich pumpkin instead. Though this recipe calls for homemade pumpkin purée, feel free to use the canned version instead. The final product is both sweet and smoky with chipotle peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika, and brown sugar. Ooey, gooey cheddar sneaks its way into each bite, too.
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., et al. Key Laboratory of Dairy Biotechnology and Engineering, Education Ministry of PR China. The Journal of General and Applied Microbiology, 2012;58(3):163-72. .
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. The nutrition breakdown is pretty stellar too, with just over 20 calories each, 1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber. 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 five ingredients. Plus, they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free. Why are they so sunny? The rice gets extra flavor from a hearty helping of sunflower seed butter, which has significantly more magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium than either almond or peanut butter. If you’re feeling extra spirited, try shaping the treats into footballs!
Nachos may not be the healthiest snack out there. But adding homemade bean dip, salsa, guac, sliced olives, and some shredded cheese to individual tortilla chips not only makes for even distribution of toppings, but it also helps with portion control.
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.
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, A.K., Gaur, P.M., Gowda, C.L. et al. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, AP, India. The British Journal of Nutrition, 2012 Aug;108 Suppl 1:S11-26. !
36. Mini BLT Cups
Disclaimer: This appetizer takes a little more prep work, but we promise these creative little veggie cups are worth it. The premise behind the mini BLTs is to use grape tomatoes as a driver for the tiny lettuce and bacon pieces, as well as the homemade chipotle aioli. Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant compound that may lower the risk of heart disease Lycopene and heart health. Bohm, V., Institute of Nutrition, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 2012 Feb;56(2):296-303. . 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, A.J., Roas, S., et al. Cardiovascular Center Cardiology, University Hospital Zurich, Raemistrasse, Zurich, Switzerland. Current Hypertension Reports, 2012 Aug;14(4):279-84. . And did we mention they have avocado-based frosting? Yum.
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. The recipe uses whole-wheat elbows, whole-wheat cracker crumbs, and Greek yogurt to turn a classically sinful meal into a healthier snack.
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, honey, and pumpkin spice flavor the combo, but feel free to use less fruit or sub in your favorite healthy seeds or nuts to make it your own.
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.
Originally published January 2014. Updated January 2015.