Spring is in the air. The cold winds of winter are shifting to the warmer winds with the lightly held promise of blue skies and greener grass. Of course with March weather going in like a lion and out like a lamb, there are many of us who are anticipating just one thing: COLLEGE BASKETBALL! The big dance is coming up, and many weekends will be spent huddled around the television rooting for your favorite NCAA basketball team while stuffing our faces full of greasy junk that tastes good for a minute but makes us feel awful indefinitely.
With that being said, it is never too early to reinvent the March Madness menu for game-worthy finger foods. There are a lot of ways to substitute some of your favorite game-day foods for something more nutritious without sacrificing flavor.
For your snack bowl to munch on during the game, why not fill it with antioxidant rich berries such as goji berries, golden berries, and chia seeds?
For a crunchy and tasty substitute for chips and dip, try a crostini with a savory goat cheese spread. Use an artisan, whole grain baguette, sliced thin and lightly toasted as your crostini chips, and a variety of different flavors of goat cheese spread for a healthier and tastier take on chips and dip.
No game-day feast is complete without pizza. You can ditch the delivery and instead opt for an easy-to-make homemade dough with wheat flour. Instead of using unhealthy canola or vegetable oil, how about trying coconut oil for a change? Portion your dough into individual serving sizes, and offer game-day guests their choice of fresh, healthy toppings for individual artisan-style pizzas. Having dough pre-made and pre-baked and toppings sliced and measured with cut down on prep time for the big day so all you have to do is assemble and bake for a perfectly healthy big game treat your guests won’t soon forget.
If sandwiches are more your style for a March Madness party, you can create hearty and healthy sandwiches with just a few fresh ingredients. Use thick slices of artisan-style whole grain bread and create open-faced sandwiches with lean grilled chicken cheddar cheese, fresh arugula, apricot-chipotle sauce, and a few slices of crumbled turkey bacon. Or make grilled Portobello sandwiches with a red pepper sauce for a meatless sandwich that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
If you can’t fathom having a March Madness party without buffalo chicken wings, perhaps buffalo chicken strips will satisfy your need. Use boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into strips and coat in your favorite buffalo sauce for the buffalo chicken wing taste without the added fat, calories, salt, and cholesterol. If you're making your own sauce from scratch, try substituting low glycemic coconut sugar instead regular white sugar for a neat healthy twist!
Game day doesn’t have to be an unhealthy day. Most of us assume that we have to forego flavor for health, and that simply isn’t the case. You can still have delicious, game-day worthy snacks and treats without having to skimp on flavor by using some creative substitutions and thinking outside the box. Healthy snacks can still be tasty with a little bit of planning and preparation. You can turn your healthy, game day snacks into a memorable and delicious menu your guests will be guaranteed to enjoy.