My Top 5 Tips to Refresh Your Stale Game Day Menu Without Sacrificing the Party Vibe
Friends, let’s be realistic certain events only come around once a year. The Big Game this Sunday is one of them. This is not, I repeat this is not, the time to decide to start getting serious about the new wellness plan you have been thinking about since January 1st. And, my guess is that if you already have an approach to eating that supports your health and wellness, you won’t veer too far astray even on game day. But seriously, if you favor the “go big or go home” approach to eating this Sunday please remember these words. “IT’S ONLY ONE DAY”! Moment of truth, I have a few die hard traditions that include eating things you would likely never see me eat on any other day.
And, I look forward to it every year. Remember, your wellness is built on daily habits not individual events or situations.
Honestly, I love throwing a party and am looking forward to planning a game day menu that does not disappoint. My game day formula is balancing my “sorry I just can’t help it” favorites with a few innovative recipes and approaches that offer a fresh twist and my wellness stamp of approval.
Kim’s 5 Tips to Refresh a Stale Game Day Menu
What are you REALLY craving? Ask yourself, and be honest, is it a particular food that you MUST have OR is it the flavor of that food that is calling you? For me, the craveability of wings points to the pepper, vinegar, and saltiness of the hot sauce. If you want to test this for yourself roast a head of cauliflower with a little butter, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic powder at 375 for about 20 minutes. When it comes out of the oven toss it with your favorite hot sauce. Um, yes! If you cannot imagine hot sauce without the chicken try the Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken & Sweet Potato recipe below.
Embrace variety. A satisfying eating experience is a combination of textures and flavors. Sushi is one of my favorite ways to create a satisfying and simple spread on the table. Sushi is fairly easy to make and you can order a standout assortment from our in house Sushi Cafe. Plan for about 4-6 pieces per person.
An interesting idea. The Big Game meal is a build-your-own “yummy bowl”. What’s not to love about a table filled with bowls of game day deliciousness where you and your guests can quickly and easily through together a winning choice of:
Starch | Brown Rice, Sweet Potatoes, Udon Noodles
Protein | Pork, Buffalo Chicken, Shrimp, Buffalo Tofu
Veggies | Purple Cabbage, Bell Peppers, Caramelized Onion
Sauce | Salsa, Curry Simmer Sauce, Buffalo Sauce, BBQ Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce
Condiments | Avocado, Blue Cheese, Cilantro, Basil
If you like the spirit of competition, snap pics of the creations and vote at the end of the night. Who will win the “yummy bowl”. Maybe have one special ceramic bowl as a prize to the winner!
Stand alone party vibe. It doesn’t have to be ALL about the food. A good vibe sets the mood. Can you arrange your furniture to create a more stadium-like or tailgate feeling? Bring a little of Miami into your house. Or, set up a simple betting board.
Hydration station. There is a reason athletes have an electrolyte rich drink by their side at all times. Dehydration will stop just about anyone in their tracks. Game day, balance other libations with other thirst quenching drinks to keep your best foot in the game. Fill big buckets with ice and pile them full of kombucha, coconut water, and Waku Plant Based Tonic.
Cravable Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
Makes 6-8 servings
For the Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
¾ cup red hot sauce
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil, divided
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless thighs
4 small whole scrubbed sweet potatoes or 2 large sweet potatoes, halved
For the Toppings (Optional)
¼ cup whole milk, plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lime juice
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped chives or green onion
In a medium bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and 1 tablespoon melted butter or oil.
Rub remaining 1 teaspoon melted butter or oil on the skin of the sweet potatoes.
Place the chicken in a 6-quart slow cooker. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the hot sauce mixture, tossing to coat.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on top of the chicken, around the edge of the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are tender.
While the chicken and sweet potatoes cook, make the sauce by whisking together the avocado mayonnaise or yogurt, lime juice and salt.
Carefully remove the potatoes from the slow cooker–they will be very soft so you may need to use tongs and a spatula–and set aside. Remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the chicken to the slow cooker, stirring together with any accumulated juice. Pour in an additional ¼ cup hot sauce mixture, stirring to combine.
Slice the sweet potatoes, top with the shredded chicken, and drizzle with the remaining hot sauce mixture and mayonnaise or yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Note: All slow cookers are different. You may need to adjust the time up or down depending on your particular unit.
Written for Healthy Living by Kimberly Evans MS RD.
Kimberly Evans is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and food enthusiast with over 30 years of experience in helping clients achieve health as a lifestyle. She firmly believes the “good life” should be every day life.Kimberly has a life long love of ballet, running and yoga. Kimberly is passionate about making it easy to connect to multiple sources of nourishment to support your health and vitality.