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30 Healthy Game Day Snacks and Appetizers

If you’re looking for healthy game day recipes, you’re in the right place. This roundup has 30 awesome snacks and appetizers for your next sports ball shindig. You’ll find everything from chicken meatballs, adult chicken nuggets, and crispy chicken wings to cheesy dips, loaded tots and fries, bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, and lots of nachos.

Without further ado, let’s shoot some touchdowns!

What makes a healthy game day snack or appetizer?

Like I mentioned in my roundup of high protein meal prep recipes, we like to put an emphasis on protein around here. Obviously it’s great for training recovery, but you may not have known that 20-30% of calories from protein are burned during digestion and absorption. Compare that to 0-3% for fat and 5-10% for carbs. Read about the thermic effect of food if you’d like to learn more on this topic.

While most of the healthy game day recipes in this roundup skew protein heavy like low fat chicken dip, chicken meatballs, and pulled chicken creations, you’ll still find some starchy treats like twice baked potatoes and higher fat options like keto spinach and artichoke dip.

A healthy game day snack can really be anything you want it to be, as long as you’re eating it in moderation. If you load your plate with BBQ chicken sliders and nachos with a side of cowboy caviar dip, that might be overkill. I mean, you clearly have great taste if you go that route. But for a game day filled with healthy appetizers, keep moderation in mind.

1. Easy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers

stuffed red bell peppers with melted gorgonzola and cheddar cheese on top

Stuffed peppers may not be the first dish that comes to mind when you think of healthy game day snacks and appetizers, but it’s one of my favorites. With these peppers, you essentially get a creamy, cheesy dip inside a tender crisp pepper that you can eat with a knife and fork or serve with chips for a build-your-own-nachos experience.

  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 27g
  • Carbs: 13g
  • Fat: 8g

Recipes: Traeger Smoked Stuffed Peppers and Baked Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers

2. Buffalo Chicken Dip

dipping a tortilla chip in buffalo chicken dip

If you would rather use homemade pulled chicken instead of rotisserie chicken for the stuffed peppers above, this dip would be the perfect substitute. Or if you’re just looking for a dip with a surplus of diggity, the search ends here.

  • Calories: 175
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fat: 6g

Recipe: Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

3. Cowboy Caviar Chicken Dip

a white bowl with cheese topped cowboy caviar chicken dip and tortilla chips on the side

In case you’re unfamiliar, cowboy caviar is a corn, black bean, and pepper salsa. This dip mixes it with cream cheese, pulled rotisserie chicken, and even more cheese to make a rich and creamy dip that you’d never know is a high protein game day snack.

  • Calories: 220
  • Protein: 22g
  • Carbs: 12g
  • Fat: 9g

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken and Cowboy Caviar Dip

4. Baked Taquitos

a plate of baked taquitos topped with guacamole, Greek yogurt, and pico de gallo

A high protein ground beef filling is stuffed inside rolled corn tortillas and baked to crispy golden brown perfection. Serve these with a fresh salsa and guacamole spread, and you’ll have one of the spiciest game days in town.

  • Calories: 115
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbs: 10g
  • Fat: 4g

Recipe: Baked Cheesy Beef Taquitos

5. Loaded Cheeseburger Fries

a sheet pan of baked cheeseburger fries

Crispy baked fries topped with lean ground beef, bacon, low calorie burger sauce, and melty American cheese.

  • Calories: 340
  • Protein: 23g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fat: 15g

Recipe: Loaded Cheeseburger Fries

6. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

healthy game day jalapeño poppers in an air fryer basket

These extra porky poppers have creamy chorizo stuffed inside bacon wrapped jalapeño peppers. My favorite way to make them is in a smoker, but you can also use an air fryer or oven. I’ve included recipes for both versions below.

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Fat: 3g

Recipes: Traeger Smoked Jalapeño Poppers with Chorizo and Air Fryer Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

7. High Protein Turkey Chili

holding a bowl of turkey chili with melted cheddar

Chili is perfect for game days because you can have a bowl on its own with all the fixin’s, or you can create elevated dishes with leftovers like stuffed potatoes, chili pies, loaded chili dogs, and more. This recipe uses lean ground turkey and three types of beans to make an ultra filling chili that’s packed with flavor.

  • Calories: 235
  • Protein: 23g
  • Carbs: 31g
  • Fat: 3g

Recipe: Instant Pot Turkey Chili

8. Twice Smoked Potatoes

twice baked potatoes on a sheet pan

If you have a smoker and haven’t made twice baked potatoes on it yet, that’s a mistake. These twice smoked potatoes pack smoked garlic and bacon inside smoked potato skins with tangy Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese. Don’t have a smoker? You can always bake them or even make air fryer twice baked potatoes.

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 12g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Fat: 8g

Recipe: Traeger Twice Baked Potatoes

9. Loaded Tots

a brown bowl filled with loaded tater tots

Sometimes you just need something easy, and it doesn’t get much easier than this recipe. Throw some frozen tots in an air fryer with bacon slices on top. What you’re left with is crispy bacon fried tots that are ripe for melted cheese and the crispy bacon bits.

  • Calories: 325
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbs: 32g
  • Fat: 19g

While this recipe isn’t the healthiest game day snack on the list, you can use frozen veggie tots or lower fat options like this recipe to reduce the fat and calories.

Recipe: Loaded Air Fryer Frozen Tater Tots

10. Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs

sweet chili chicken meatballs in an air fryer basket

This recipe combines ground chicken with Thai sweet chili sauce to make meatballs that can be served tons of ways. You can also swap the sweet chili sauce for BBQ, buffalo, or any type of sauce you like.

  • Calories: 75
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Fat: 2g

Recipe: Sweet Chili Chicken Air Fryer Meatballs

11. Smoked Chicken Meatballs

smoked buffalo chicken meatballs topped with green onion and gorgonzola cheese

Smoking meatballs just adds another layer of flavor that’s impossible to replicate with indoor cooking. If you have a smoker, meatballs are a must make. I have two recipes for BBQ and buffalo chicken meatballs that should hit the spot.

  • Calories: 65
  • Protein: 10g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Fat: 2g

Recipes: Traeger Smoked Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and Smoked BBQ Chicken Meatballs

12. Pulled BBQ Chicken

pulled BBQ chicken in a bowl

These two recipes, one for the Instant Pot and one for a slow cooker, are absolute must-haves when we’re making healthy game day snacks. The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you can make with it. I’ve included some of my favorites like sliders and loaded nachos below.

  • Calories: 165
  • Protein: 18g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Fat: 9g

Recipes: Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken and BBQ Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

13. BBQ Chicken Sliders

pulling a BBQ chicken slider out of the pan

Whether you use my pulled BBQ chicken or any leftover pulled chicken or pork, these sliders are a treat. They call for the real deal Hawaiian rolls, red onion, and Havarti cheese, which is exactly the way it should be.

  • Calories: 215
  • Protein: 14g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Fat: 11g

Recipe: Leftover BBQ Pulled Chicken Sliders

14. BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese

a baking dish with bbq chicken mac and cheese

You shouldn’t be able to make a dish this flavorful with only five ingredients. That’s the power of the pulled chicken above.

  • Calories: 360
  • Protein: 30g
  • Carbs: 21g
  • Fat: 19g

Recipe: High Protein BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese

15. Loaded BBQ Chicken Nachos

loaded bbq chicken nachos in a cast iron skillet

That picture is worth at least 5,000 words. So I’ll just say, bacon, cheese, BBQ chicken, red onion, and crispy tortilla chips.

  • Calories: 255
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 11g
  • Fat: 16g

Recipe: Pulled BBQ Chicken Nachos

16. Buffalo Chicken Nachos

shredded buffalo chicken nachos on a baking sheet with green onion and gorgonzola

Pressure cooker shredded buffalo chicken with pinto and black beans on top of baked tortilla chips with melted cheddar and blue cheese. This is the perfect healthy game day appetizer to satisfy those salty, crunchy cravings.

  • Calories: 295
  • Protein: 17g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fat: 13g

Recipe: Shredded Buffalo Chicken Nachos

17. Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

baked lemon pepper chicken wings on a plate beside lemons

An easy recipe for oven baked or air fried crispy chicken wings with a garlic lemon butter sauce.

  • Calories: 440
  • Protein: 32g
  • Carbs: 13g
  • Fat: 26g

Recipe: Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

18. Bacon Wrapped Dates

bacon wrapped dates on a plate

Stuff feta and pecans inside dates, wrap in bacon, bake, brush with maple syrup, and top with chili flakes. That has to be one of the most delicious sentences I’ve ever written.

  • Calories: 125
  • Protein: 2g
  • Carbs: 21g
  • Fat: 5g

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Dates with Feta

19. Adult Chicken Nuggets

five flavors of air fryer chicken nuggets on a plate

This recipe has seven seasoning blends so you can make little chicken breast bites in a variety of flavors. My favorite for a healthy game day appetizer would be the Nashville Hot or Chick-Fil-A copycat.

  • Calories: 150
  • Protein: 27g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 5g

Recipe: Air Fryer Adult Chicken Nuggets

20. Cheeseburger Bites

three cheeseburger muffins stacked on top of one another

When it comes to healthy game day snacks, this is the most tried and true recipe on my blog. It’s been around for years and has something like a 95% approval rating.

  • Calories: 50
  • Protein: 7g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Fat: 1g

Recipe: 50-Calorie Cheeseburger Muffins

21. Turkey Meatball Subs

two turkey meatball subs topped with slaw

Clearly we love meatballs around here. So when we found out friend of the blog, Lillie, had a recipe for meatball subs we sprinted to include it in this roundup.

  • Calories: 470
  • Protein: 34g
  • Carbs: 55g
  • Fat: 14g

Recipe: Buffalo Turkey Meatball Subs

22. Cast Iron Pizza

cast iron skillet pizza cut sliced with red pepper flakes and grated parmesan on the side

The beauty of this recipe is the method itself. Learning how to make cast iron pizza is one of the most useful kitchen skills you can pick up, in my opinion. Whether you use a low fat Greek yogurt crust like this recipe calls for or a classic yeasted pizza dough, you’re in for a treat.

  • Calories: 170
  • Protein: 9g
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Fat: 5g

Nutrition facts will vary depending on toppings. Post includes tons of topping ideas from readers.

Recipe: Healthy Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

23. Spinach and Artichoke Dip

dipping a chip in spinach and artichoke dip

A 15-minute recipe for a classic dip with a keto friendly twist. Serve it hot, cold, or by the spoonful.

  • Calories: 195
  • Protein: 5g
  • Carbs: 3g
  • Fat: 17g

Recipe: Keto Spinach and Artichoke Dip

24. Coconut Shrimp

plate of coconut shrimp

The appetizer you know and love with a healthier baked option instead of frying.

  • Calories: 255
  • Protein: 21g
  • Carbs: 23g
  • Fat: 9g

Recipe: Baked Coconut Shrimp

25. Spicy Buttermilk Chicken Tenders

baked chicken tenderloins on a wire rack

A simple hot sauce and buttermilk marinade takes boneless chicken tenderloins to another level in this recipe. Once you make these, I’m certain you’ll be marinating all kinds of chicken breast and thighs in the same mixture.

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 16g
  • Carbs: 1g
  • Fat: 1g

Recipe: Spicy Baked Chicken Tenderloins

26. Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders

chicken tenders on parchment paper with two bowls of dipping sauce

As evidenced by my carrot fries that everyone thinks are sweet potato fries, grated parmesan is a cheat code ingredient that creates a crispy golden brown exterior without any breading. These chicken tenders are a no-marinade, 20-minute example, and an excellent healthy game day appetizer to add to the menu.

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 11g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Fat: 3g

Recipe: Garlic Parmesan Air Fryer Chicken Tenders

27. Pizza Quesadillas

stack of pizza quesadillas with marinara in the background

These 5-ingredient quesadillas pack sun dried tomatoes, pepperoni, mushroom, and cheese inside lower carb tortillas to crush those pizza cravings. Feel free to get creative with toppings, or in this case, fillings. Pineapple, anyone?

  • Calories: 240
  • Protein: 19g
  • Carbs: 28g
  • Fat: 12g

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Pizza Quesadillas

28. Shredded Mexican Chicken

two tacos filled with shredded chicken

Throw this recipe in your Instant Pot or Ninja Foodi and you’ll have tender, ultra-flavorful chicken in under 30 minutes. It’s perfect for making tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salads, or whatever else you can think of!

  • Calories: 200
  • Protein: 22g
  • Carbs: 2g
  • Fat: 11g

Recipe: Mexican Style Shredded Chicken Thighs

29. Air Fryer Chicken Quesadillas

sliced chicken quesadillas beside salsa verde, limes, and cilantro

Speaking of quesadillas, this recipe combines the shredded chicken above with cheese and tortillas to make a simple 3-ingredient chicken quesadilla. You can swap the chicken for any protein option, too.

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 27g
  • Carbs: 17g
  • Fat: 20g

Fat and calories can be reduced with chicken breast or leaner protein options.

Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Air Fryer Quesadillas

30. Creamy Buffalo Chicken Chili

two bowls of chili with tortilla chips on the side

Soup and chili have to be two of the best ways to eat more veggies. They become mostly indistinguishable when cooked down, and you can spruce chili up in so many ways like I’ve already mentioned in this roundup. This recipe is also a dairy free game day recipe, in case you have any lactose intolerant fans in the house.

  • Calories: 220
  • Protein: 20g
  • Carbs: 18g
  • Fat: 8g

Recipe: Dairy Free Buffalo Ground Chicken Chili

The Finish Line

Speaking of dairy free, if you need more food sensitivity friendly recipes, I’m probably not your guy. But you can check out these roundups of 15 vegan football snacks from Plant Perks or 21 vegan game day recipes from Jessica in the Kitchen.