Everybody wants to embrace healthy eating in January, but then we slide right into the “Big Game” and parties galore, usually filled with enough junk food to derail any resolution. If you are still looking for some healthy football game appetizers and homemade party food, you’re in luck!
By bringing one of these recipes to a party you can show that real food can be easy, DELICIOUS, and you don’t have to eat junk that will kill you just to have fun. Amen?
As good Kitchen Stewards, we don’t want to kill our budget just because it’s a party, and of course we don’t have a lot of time to spare. BUT party appetizers can still be done in a healthy way, and you can find the 80/20 balance at the dessert table. 😉
Here at KS and a through a few of my partners, I hope you find the perfect healthy recipe for your party, whether you care about football (ahem) or not. 😉 We’ll start with my favorite, the one that gets recipe requests all the time (and isn’t that the best compliment someone can give to a cook?).
Spicy Cheesy Chicken Dip
This dip is much more cheesy than spicy, and it works awesome with tortilla chips, homemade crackers (these taste just like Wheat Thins but are homemade!), or carrots and red peppers. I swear, I think I could eat a whole meal of different dips and be blissfully happy, couldn’t you?
Homemade Jalapeño Poppers
You may not think of something like these quick and easy jalapeño poppers as a healthy football game appetizer, but the way Lori makes them will make you a believer.
You could absolutely use jalapeños from the store any time of year, but I’m making a reminder in my Google calendar right this second to make a bunch and freeze them when jalapeños are a buck a pint this summer. 😉 Then it will be even EASIER to host or attend a Superbowl party in the winter!
There’s nothing super special about guacamole, BUT people recognize it, generally love it, and will often be impressed that you made it yourself.
If you have kids, it’s a great recipe to teach them to make (we use it in our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse and I really like being able to go to a party and brag about my kids’ skills. We have homemade guac at least once a week or more as a dip for veggies with dinner.
If you want to add a little probiotic boost to your guacamole, check out my friend Wardee’s fermented version! Color me green with appreciation! 😉
Tangy Probiotic Avocado Dip
If you’re not a huge fan of guacamole but do love avocados, this is a bit more sophisticated dip, in my opinion, that will really have the WOW factor when you serve it at your football party (or whenever). It can be made with yogurt cheese or goat cheese (no probiotics there though, but plenty of tangy) which of course are VERY different flavors. The yogurt cheese is a mild flavor, much like a cream cheese or even milder, so for kids, that one is the winner – plus it’s healthier!
Cultured Cheese Balls
While we’re on the topic of yogurt cheese, if you’ve got some adventurous people at your football party, these would be gorgeous as part of a cheese plate appetizer. I can imagine so many great herbs to dress them up or a pairing with jams or olives, since they could go sweet or savory at any moment!
If the cheese is burping, the people watching the game will be right at home. 😉 You’ll get that better when you get to the part in the post about storage.
Pizza Hummus Dip
What’s more standard American than pizza?
This recipe from Whole New Mom is crying out to be your next healthy football game appetizer, and no one at the party will suspect it’s dairy-free because it tastes so cheesy. If you have anyone with allergies that you need to serve, this should be pretty safe for most of the major ones.
Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings
I had to find a real food version of buffalo chicken wings because they’re my husband’s absolute favorite and I knew this would impress him. 😉 Lexi’s Clean Kitchen didn’t disappoint! Be sure to make some homemade ranch dip and bring celery and carrot sticks.
Spicy Buffalo Potato Wedges
If you’re in the mood for heat, or if your husband is like mine, this will definitely impress. He was so geeked when I figured these out for a Superbowl party a few years back!
You can make these potato wedges lightly seasoned for kids and wimpy people and turn up the HEAT for the crazy ones. I even made homemade “Frank’s” hot sauce for it the next summer so it was super authentic. They’ve become a Superbowl Sunday tradition for us!
Black Bean & Avocado Starter Salad
We always joke that we’re not sure WHAT to call this black bean and avocado recipe, but it always goes over great. Sometimes it’s a salad, sometimes a dip for chips, sometimes a topping for tacos or quesadillas.
If lime, cilantro and avocado make you smile, this one is for you! Use as much or as little jalapeño as you can handle. 😉 And if you’re in a warmer climate than I am and have fresh tomatoes available, pair it with this Roma Fresco from Traditional Cooking School.
Free Party Recipe eBook
Looking for more recipes? Get a FREE eBook of some of my favorites to bring to parties. It’s easy to introduce people to real food when it looks like their familiar favorites. Just click the book below to receive your free book:
Homemade Ranch Dressing
Everybody loves ranch, right? Skip the MSG, added sugar, and weird industrial fats that haven’t even been around 100 years – make your own. My 8yo can make a batch in about 5 minutes, and I’m even faster. I think. I’m kind of time-challenged, so we might be dead even actually. 😉
Regardless of the exact minute split between mother and daughter, this homemade ranch dressing or dip is so versatile, can be made with a variety of bases depending on what you have on hand, and is great on salads, as a veggie dip, or on sandwiches.
My husband will not tolerate anyone mixing fruit and meat, so for something like this I turned to my friend Carrie at Deliciously Organic. Her bacon-wrapped apricot appetizer looks gorgeous, doesn’t it? If you make it, invite me over since I can’t make it here! 😉
Cabbage Salad with Goat Cheese or Feta
Need a little something lighter (and less expensive) than bacon and dried fruit?
This simple cabbage salad gets rave reviews every time I serve it, and I can whip up a batch in about 5-7 minutes because I know the recipe by heart and just throw stuff in without measuring carefully! It gets a little zing from either goat cheese or feta (guess which one is more budget-friendly?) and of course cabbage is a powerhouse in that it lasts forever, looks great and never wilts, and is soooo inexpensive. Love it.
A salad may not seem like the perfect appetizer, but people will appreciate the bright color and flavor among other heavy dishes. Bring forks!
Cold Spelt Salad
Or you could go off the rails a bit with a cold grain salad – like a pasta salad but without the processing of pasta, and in my case, always with homemade dressing to avoid the industrial soy and corn oils in commercial dressing.
It looks a little “healthy” and tastes that way too, because spelt berries are just a tiny bit chewy, but I love them. If you have a crunchy crowd at your party, this one will make waves. Note: spelt is not gluten-free.
You could also try a pasta salad bar if you’re the host – an inexpensive and fun way to let everyone choose what they want to eat and how heavy their meal is.
It’s a classic! I told you I could feast on dips for an entire meal and be happy, and I think I’m proving it with all these party foods that you can dip into! Here at KS we have a simple blender hummus, which is awesome in case you don’t have a food processor, and Kristin at Live Simply steps it up with a roasted garlic version.
Wardee comes through again with the fermented version for the traditional foodie, a recipe passed down in her family through the generations. Bet you could apply that technique to the roasted garlic version for a killer healthy football game dip that will make people wish it was in the commercials!
Tex-Mex White Bean Dip (GAPS Legal)
If you’re struggling with gut issues, hummus can be a killer because of the beans and the tahini (sesame seeds). This gentle dip with white beans (GAPS legal) is packed with flavor from smoked paprika, chipotle powder and more, and it’s allergy friendly to boot.
One more way to get those veggies to look more attractive to everyone…
Homemade Soft Pretzels
Gluten-free? Be still my heart!
Soft pretzels are the kind of thing people pine for when they have to ditch gluten, and Tiffany makes them look so perfect. I’m not sure if I’d actually be willing to share these if I had to bring an appetizer to a party! If I knew someone had to be gluten-free there though, I’d love to surprise them with a “you could eat this” whispered in their ear. 🙂
Note: Most Celiacs shouldn’t even eat anything made in my kitchen since I do have wheat flour around, but a gluten-sensitive person would be happy to see me.
Pea Pesto Appetizer
I learned this recipe from a chef at an ALDI event, and at 24c a serving, it will definitely help you keep your budget in check while you spoil the football party people with a very posh-looking appetizer!
That post also has some excellent ideas for hosting parties, saving you time and sanity on the setup, prep, and adding beauty like this meat and cheese tray: