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October 12, 2015

Set, hut, hike! Healthy Entertaining for Football Season

It's that special time of year again, when friends gather around the television each week to cheer on their favorite football teams. We yell, we hug, we cry, we celebrate - it's a constant rollercoaster of emotions, all wrapped up in the camaraderie of friends.

Oh, and there is always food. Lots and lots of food.

Game-day parties don't always have the best reputation for healthy choices, and often the temptation of cheesy dips and numerous beers can get the better of us. But there are ways to have a fun and entertaining gathering, while staying healthy at the same time!

Healthy Entertaining Ideas for Football Season

  1. Make colorful plant-based snacks.
    You don't have to put out greasy chicken wings or fried foods to satisfy your guests. Their focus will mainly be on the game in front of them, rather than what they are eating. As long as the drinks are cold and the food is crunchy, your guests will be happy. Try setting out a platter of colorful fresh sliced veggies and fruits instead. They are appealing and eye-catching, and can easily be served with a side of hummus or balsamic dressing for dipping.

    Slice up some zucchini, dollop the rounds with tomato sauce, sprinkle on some mozzarella cheese, and pop in the oven to make mini pizzas. Even a simple pico de gallo (fresh chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro) with a side of tortilla chips is an easy and healthy option. 
  2. Create fun hydrating drinks (that aren't just boring old water).
    The urge to snack can be stronger when we're dehydrated, as we often confuse thirst for hunger. Most game-watching parties include plenty of beer drinking, and alcohol causes our bodies to dehydrate even more. Providing your guests with beverages other than alcohol will not only save you money, but help prevent everyone from waking up with a headache in the morning.
  3. Go the extra yard! Making a little extra effort can really go a long way.
    People are more at ease when they're made to feel welcome, and lowered stress levels are important especially when it's a close game. So have a little fun, and try some football-themed crafts to make your party special. Maybe decorate some mason jars like footballs, or make your own signs and banners. There are a ton of great ideas on this Pinterest page too.
  4. Eat a good breakfast beforehand.
    You'll be less likely to snack all day long if you've started the day with a good healthy breakfast. If you aren't starving by the time the game starts, you wont be tempted to go overboard.
  5. On commercial breaks (especially halftime), do an activity.
    Usually football players are doing all the work while we are sitting on the couch and snacking. So why not toss the old pigskin around during a break? Make a tradition of playing a game of catch or touch football during halftime, or even just go for a walk around the block. This way even if you DO end up snacking a little more, you'll burn off all those extra calories.
  6. Everything in moderation.
    If one of your guests decides to bring along chicken wings or brownies to share, remember it's okay to enjoy their goodies, but always in moderation. Don't eat the whole chicken, or mindlessly nibble on those brownies all game long. Put a serving on your plate, enjoy your tasty treat, and then don't go back for seconds.
  7. Make the game a game!
    Some of your guests may not be as into the football game as others, so find a fun way to get them interested! Make bets on plays, but use peanuts instead of money. Or every time a beer commercial comes on, everyone has to toast. It doesn't have to be complicated, just a way to make everyone enjoy the experience together!

These tips will keep your guests happy, and guarantee a healthy and enjoyable experience for everyone. Are you ready? Set, hut, HIKE!

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[Credit:Leslie, Jillian."5 EasyGame Day Party Ideas on a Budget."Catch My Party.]