Guide to Game Day Grub

Nutrition Advice from Your Pawling Hannaford Dietitian

Gathering with friends to watch the big game is made better when the snacks are flavorful and plentiful. Traditional game day food is not exactly the most nutritious, as it’s often fried, and cheese abounds. While I can’t guarantee your team will win, I can promise that small changes will save you calories and lighten up the foods you love. Here’s your playbook for a better game day menu!

When You’re the Host

Just another use for plain Greek yogurt: You know us dietitians can’t get enough of this high protein power food. Adding it to your game day menu in place of sour cream not only gives ordinary dips a nutrition boost, it offers satiety to help you fill up on less. Use non-fat, plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream in any dish, and your friends will never know.

Consider individual portions: One way to control the amount the amount consumed is to offer individual portion cups. Consider this for dips and other foods that are easy to over eat. It’s also a great way to keep everyone safe during cold and flu season

Set up a food bar: My favorite way to entertain is to set up a food bar and let guests serve themselves. Potatoes, chili, paninis and, of course, salad are just a few options. When guests self-serve they can easily control how much they eat and arrange a plate that’s best for them.

When You’re the Guest

Make room for veggies: Versatile veggies should be part of any game day menu, beyond just carrots sticks and celery to accompany wings. Aim for color and a variety of textures, and your veggies are bound to be scooped up just like the salty snacks in the next platter over.

Create a plate: Be clear and mindful about how much you eat in order to control calories and stay on track. The easiest way to do this is by creating a plate so that you can see just how much you are eating. Keep in mind that any time we eat directly out of a bag or bowl we are likely to over eat.

Better-for-you chips: They do exist! “Better-for-you” chips are those that are lower in salt, fat, and calories. Look for those that earn Guiding Star status when you shop at Hannaford, but remember that portions still count even when making a better choice.

Foods to Share with Friends, Made with a Twist

Nachos: Baked chips topped with reduced fat cheddar cheese, low sodium beans, grilled chicken, and fresh diced peppers

Layer Dip: Salsa, fresh guacamole, low sodium black beans, Greek yogurt (non-fat, plain), reduced fat cheddar cheese, sliced olives, green onions and shreds

Spicy Crispy Chicken: Look for spicy, flavorful Guiding Stars-rated chips. Then use a food processor to create the perfect spicy breading for “oven fried” chicken tenders.

Zucchini Sticks: Prepare a blend of flours, cornmeal, and herbs to create a crispy breading for better-for-you zucchini sticks that cook in just 15 minutes. (Wisit for the recipe.)

Leaner Chili: Serve a hearty chili made from vegetables, beans, and very lean ground turkey, a filling option that offers fewer calories than traditional chili recipes.

As your local Hannaford Dietitian, I’m pleased to be sharing my advice and simple tips. Please visit for my in-store schedule of classes, demonstrations, and store tours, or call (845) 855-0553 for more information.


Boneless Buffalo Wings & Herbed Blue Cheese Dip

(3 Guiding Stars – a “Best” for You Choice)

Offer this leaner version of wings when you host the next big game night!

Tip: No buttermilk? Mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar to ¼ cup milk and let stand for 5 minutes. (Visit online for nutrition information.)

For the Wings


3 Tbsp. nonfat buttermilk

3 Tbsp. hot sauce, divided

3 Tbsp. white vinegar, divided

2 lbs. chicken tenders

6 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour

6 Tbsp. cornmeal

½ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided


Whisk together buttermilk, 2 tablespoons hot sauce, and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl.

Add chicken; toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

While the chicken is marinating, whisk together flour, cornmeal, and cayenne in a shallow dish.

Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until evenly coated.

Heat remaining oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through (3 – 5 minutes per side), working in batches.

Transfer chicken to a serving platter as it finished cooking and with the reserved hot sauce mixture.

For the Dip


2 cups plain, non-fat Greek yogurt

⅓ cup water

1 tsp. lemon juice

3 Tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled

¼ tsp. garlic, minced

1 tsp. pepper

3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives

2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 tsp. fresh thyme


Stir all ingredients together, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to meld.