If you're quarterbacking football party festivities at your house, you need a game plan. These play-by-play tips for planning a nutritious and delicious menu will have fans of both teams cheering for more!
A Few Days Out: Plan Your Food Plays
Planning your party menu well before the big day helps prevent stress from last-minute scrambling. All eyes will be on the action (and commercials), so a buffet menu is ideal. Guests can grab a bite to eat when they're hungry without missing a minute of the game. Plus, a buffet frees you up to join your own party!
Try simple help-yourself menu options like these:
Chili bar. Include a crockpot of hearty chili made with lean ground beef or turkey and loaded with beans and other veggies. Offer toppings such as shredded reduced-fat jack cheese, diced green onion, chopped jalapenos and fat-free sour cream. If you are making your cornbread from scratch, try half whole-wheat and half white flour and fat-free buttermilk; make it extra-special by stirring thawed frozen corn kernels into the batter.
Baked potato bar. Set out a bowl of hot foil-wrapped baked potatoes with toppings like these: bean chili, shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, steamed broccoli florets, sauteed mushrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, cooked and crumbled turkey bacon, salsa and fat-free sour cream.
Make-your-own sub bar. Line up whole-grain sub rolls, lean deli meats such as turkey, ham and roast beef, reduced-fat cheese slices and loads of veggies like shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, red onions, bell peppers, pickles and olives. Offer a variety of spreads such as Dijon, honey and stone-ground mustards, light mayo, pesto and prepared horseradish.
Don't forget munchie madness! Set out options like these: an Eating Right Veggie Party Platter with Light Ranch Dressing™, pretzels with mustard dip, baked chips with salsa or reduced-fat dip, or snack mix (to make your own, combine whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds).
Remember, victory is sweet! Offer a tray of sliced seasonal fruits and right-sized goodies like small cookies, cupcakes and brownies.
Two Days Out: Create Your Playbook
Make a shopping list, check our weekly ad for sales and head to our stores for everything you need. Don't forget beverages and paper goods like plates, napkins, cups and disposable utensils.
Inventory your cooking and serving dishes and utensils. Label each dish with a sticky note to indicate which food goes where at party time.
Plan your party set-up such as where to place chairs for easy game-viewing, how and where to set up the buffet for the best flow, and where to set up the beverage station (separate from the buffet), and the trash and recycling stations (put one close to the beverage station).
Gather charms or pens for guests to mark their cups and glasses.
The Night Before: Start Your Drills
Prepare as many menu items as you can and store them covered in the fridge overnight. For example, cook chili, slice, dice and shred fruits and veggies, make salsa and dips and bake desserts.
Forget something? Head for our stores -- we're there for you!
Game Day: Kickoff!
Finish last-minute food prep.
If you're short on fridge space, buy ice and place it in coolers with the beverages to chill.
Set up the party room as planned along with snack dishes and drink coasters.
An hour before guests arrive, set out buffet foods and munchies that won't spoil.
When the doorbell rings, enlist family or friends to help set out the rest of the food.