I don’t care a whole lot about football, but I do care deeply and profoundly about classic American party snacks. Of the great opportunities (… excuses) to enjoy indulgent party foods like buffalo chicken wings and potato skins, football pretty much tops the list. Although you might not think of these iconic football snacks as healthy — and you’d be right — the truth is, there’s almost always a healthy way to make foods that taste just as good as the more classic versions (sometimes better). Here are ten of our very favorite healthy party snack recipes, just in time for the Big Game.
This buffalo chicken dip recipe only requires five ingredients, everyone loves it, and it’s actually a really healthy, protein-packed snack — so it’s a major winner in our book. If you want the dip to be a little thicker, strain the cottage cheese and Greek yogurt for a few minutes before mixing into the rest of the ingredients. Serve with crudités like sliced celery, carrots, bell pepper, and sugar snap peas.
Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse, so I love that it’s been sneaking its way into everything from pizza crust to mac and cheese. Pizza is such a beloved football-watching food, but nobody’s claiming it’s the healthiest snack on the planet. (For the record, we love pizza, but it is a whole lot of refined carbs.)
However, this cauliflower pizza is super delicious, easy to make, and more keto-friendly than its classic cousin, since the crust consists of just four ingredients: cauliflower, cheese, egg, and seasoning. This recipe author recommends a couple of really great topping ideas, but also consider topping your pizza with diced beets and goat cheese — one of my fave combinations.
These potato skins are baked, not fried, and the topping ingredients are totally up to you. For a lighter version of this pretty decadent treat, I’d recommend subbing out half the cheddar cheese for part-skim mozzarella and swapping the sour cream for 2% Greek yogurt. You can also easily make this a plant-based treat by using a melty vegan cheese and opting for coconut bacon, or topping with some sautéed broccoli.
Spinach-artichoke dip always seemed like it should be really healthy (the name contains two vegetables!), but the traditional version is mostly just a lot of sour cream and cream cheese — neither of which are topping any “best ingredient for your health” charts. They also don’t appear in this recipe at all, and it still tastes great. Serve this dip with classic crudités, but also think outside the box — roasted asparagus spears would be delicious in this, too, as would endive.
My baked chicken wings were always perfectly fine — then I discovered tossing them in baking powder, and now they’re out-of-this-world good. For a really tasty, Whole30-approved buffalo sauce to toss them in, check out this recipe, or try this spicy honey sauce. You can include a side of ranch dressing to go with them by simply mixing commercial ranch dressing powder into Greek yogurt (or make your own DIY yogurt ranch if you’ve got extra time).
Is making your own dough more work than popping open a can of crescent rolls? It sure is. But if you’re adhering to a Paleo diet (or just trying to eat fewer refined grains) the almond flour-based dough used to wrap these paleo pigs in a blanket is totally worth the extra effort. These honestly taste great (it’s hard to tell they’re Paleo!). For dipping, consider this keto sugar-free ketchup recipe and this raspberry wasabi mustard sauce.
If you have a mandoline, these sweet potato chips are phenomenally easy to make — just please, please remember to always use a cut-safe protective glove with it. (Seriously, please.) You can enjoy these chips on their own with a little sea salt and cracked black pepper, or use them as a base for healthy-ish nachos (just melt a little cheese on top, then add black beans, chopped tomato, and a sliced jalapeno).
We’ve seen plenty of interesting plays on guacamole, but the truth is, they’re not really necessary: This authentic guacamole recipe is perfectly healthy without any adjustments at all. (Sometimes throwing a bunch of chopped baby kale into a dish isn’t the answer, you know? It’s ok to just keep it simple and let the avocados be the star!). Consider serving with crudités like sliced jicama and bell pepper slices, as well as sprouted grain chips — Way Better incorporates sprouted flax, quinoa, and chia seeds into their chips, which definitely makes them quite a bit healthier than regular tortilla chips.
This cashew queso is remarkably — almost suspiciously — creamy, given that this dish contains exactly zero dairy products. This recipe would be excellent served with crudités and sprouted grain chips, but also consider serving with heartier roasted vegetables like halved Brussels sprouts and roasted broccoli. If you don’t feel like making your own queso (or someone in your group has a nut allergy), consider picking up a jar of Primal Kitchen’s plant-based queso instead — it’s made with pumpkin seed butter, and it’s genuinely delicious.
It’s always a good idea to have a couple of dessert options on hand, and these chocolate peanut butter cookies are a great, healthy choice. I love that they don’t use any added sugar, just the natural sugars found in dates (which do contain a whole lot of natural sugar, to be fair!) but these cookies are also packed with fiber-filled rolled oats, which means you can enjoy them without spiking your blood sugar too badly. Serve on a tray scattered with blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries for an even healthier dessert option.
Jess Novak is the Head of Content and Audience Development for Clean Plates. She’s obsessed with making meals that taste like they’re not healthy but secretly really are. You can follow her on Instagram @jtothenovak.