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Preparing for a Super Bowl party, but don’t want to fill up on chips before the first quarter ends? Try these tricks and substitutes for making your game-day snacks healthier.

Try snacking on produce

vegetable platter with various sliced vegetables and dip in the middle
Sea Wave -

Foods lower in calorie density have fewer calories per bite. It’s easier to fill up on more food with fresh (not dried) fruits or vegetables because they're lower in calorie density than most other snacks. It's not just that fruits and vegetables are low in calories per bite. They also supply a wallop of nutrients (like potassium, magnesium, and fiber) that are in short supply in most Americans’ diets. Snacking on produce is a no-brainer when 9 out of 10 of us don't eat enough vegetables and the healthiest diets have more than 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

Don’t want to be caught without a fruit or veggie on hand? Stock your fridge and freezer with these longer-lasting fruit and vegetable varieties:

  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya (refrigerate when ripe)
  • Melons (refrigerate when ripe)
  • Apples
  • Frozen grapes (a great icy treat)
  • Frozen berries
  • Carrot sticks (slice your own from whole carrots, or buy baby-cut or crinkle-cut carrots)
  • Raw cauliflower or broccoli florets
  • Sliced celery
  • Quartered radishes
  • Jicama (peel, slice into sticks, and splash with lime juice)

Pair your veggies with these nutritious dips

Don’t like your veggies plain? Dips are a great way to get some more vegetables into your life...even on Super Bowl Sunday. Pair some baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, or sliced bell peppers with one of these dips for a satisfying crunchy snack, courtesy of our Healthy Cook Kate Sherwood:

Healthy savory snacks that beat chips or pretzels

Better-for-you savory snacks feature nuts, seeds, whole grains, or legumes instead of white flour or refined starch. In search of a healthy savory snack? Try these alternatives:

  • Nuts coated in savory flavors: Nuts have plenty of pluses like good fat, fiber, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin E. And you can dress up nuts with chip-like seasonings. Try products like Blue Diamond Salt ‘n Vinegar Almonds (with only 140 milligrams of sodium per ounce), Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds (150 mg), Target Good & Gather Hickory Smoked Almonds (135 mg), or Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Nut Duo (160 mg).
  • Crunchy roasted beans: Snacks like Saffron Road Crunchy Chickpeas beat bean or “veggie” puffs or chips. You’re getting whole roasted chickpeas instead of bean flour or veggie powders diluted with refined flours or starches. Saffron’s flavors go from basics like Sea Salt to Korean BBQ or Bombay Spice. Another good bet: Bada Bean Bada Boom Crunchy Broad Beans. Or use our Healthy Cook’s recipe to make your own Spicy Chickpea Poppers.
  • Edamame: Edamame takes only a few minutes to prepare–microwave or boil, sprinkle lightly with salt, pop out the beans, eat. Or you can buy refrigerated edamame or crunchy, shelf-stable edamame such as Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame and dig in right away.
  • Roasted seaweed sheets: If you’ve ever eaten nori-wrapped sushi, you’ll recognize the pleasantly salty taste of shelf-stable crunchy seaweed snacks. Try brands such as Gimme Roasted Seaweed Snacks. Gimme brushes its sea veggie with oil, then roasts it for an ultra-crispy yet light snack.
  • Popcorn: Most pre-popped bags are made with healthy, unsaturated oils like sunflower or canola. (You can’t say the same for microwave popcorn. Most contain saturated palm oil, which stays solid at room temperature.) Try pre-popped Whole Foods 365 Organic Reduced Fat & Sodium Popcorn or Skinny Pop Popcorn. You can even pop your own kernels on the stovetop or in an air popper.

Buying crackers? Select whole grains

closeup of while-grain crackers
Greg Jeanneau -

Want crackers? Look for 100% whole grain. A go-to whole-grain cracker: Triscuits, which are mostly shredded wheat plus a touch of oil and salt. And thin crackers are perfect for topping. Try sliced cucumber or tomato atop a schmear of hummus or labneh (tangy yogurt cheese). Or try these other whole-grain crackers that feature whole grain wheat, rye, and brown rice:

  • Finn Crisp Original Sourdough Rye Thins
  • Kodiak's Graham Bear Bites
  • Sea Salt Flackers (they feature flaxseeds instead of grains)
  • Lundberg Organic Lightly Salted Brown Rice Thin Stackers
  • Trader Joe's Seeds & Grains Crispbread

Healthy recipes for shareable appetizers and entrees

If you’re preparing large shareable dishes for a game-day party or potluck, Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook, has plenty of nutritious crowd-pleaser recipes:

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