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Subject: Healthy (or -ier) food and snack ideas for gaming? rss

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ackmondual
United States
SoCal
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I recall a newcomer attending a public game night at a private residence looking around the kitchen and rooms asking if there was anything healthy. She didn't really define what "healthy" was, but with the usual drivel of potato chips, Chips Ahoy cookies, Coca Cola products, etc., I was confident in answering "no". She took a Kind bar out of her purse and ate that instead. The games are more of the good stuff like Dominion and Battlestar Galactica, but our food is still "mass market"


I'd like to know if gamers have had ideas about healthier fare and executed those ideas. I doubt I'll be able to go with many of any suggested ideas, but at least some suggestions would be a right start.

I've either brought fresh fruit and cut it myself, or bought pre-sliced fruit. Veggie trays. Stir frying veggies shouldn't be difficult, but don't know if I could flavor it to THEIR tastes.

I have supermarkets, but unfortunately, no Costcos, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, nor any food store that sells "better quality foods".
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Cornixt
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Edamame beans and wasabi peas. Dried fruit, although a lot is coated with sugars which pushes it away from the healthy side.
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Jordan S.
United States
Plano
Texas
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A fair few of us at my regular game gatherings tend to be more health-conscious when we bring snacks. Some of it is simply by choice and some of it is related to the actual health concerns of others (allergies, nutritional needs, etc.). Here's what tends to show up when we gather:

Cheese (usually individually wrapped sticks or wedges, etc.)
Chips/Crackers (pita chips, wheat thins, rice crackers, etc.)
Hummus (or some healthy variety of vegetable dip)
Veggie Trays (carrots, celery, broccoli, snap peas, etc.)
Granola Bars
Fruit (on occasion, but not often)

It seems to work well for us.
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Cagey McCageface
United States
Clawson
MI
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Trail mix. This stuff is available at Target I believe.

Try some unsalted peanuts and/or cashews, also available at Target. Nuts are pretty good for you, it's just they're normally coated in blood pressure killing tons of salt.

Look in your supermarkets for dehydrated fruit. Some of it can be more expensive, but it's better than the sugar added dried fruit you find in the bulk section, as mentioned above.

Granola not formed into bars. The bars usually have tons of sugar and/or chocolate and other garbage added anyway.

And all this stuff is boardgame finger friendly!
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maf man
United States
Waunakee (madison area)
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My common snack lineup (I actually tend to choose trying to do a meal when I host, it keeps food more organized and separate with my group of filthy eaters) is very similar to Jordan's. With the addition of pretzels and summer sausage for the more unhealthy but oh so good. And as far as fruit I stick with grapes only as any other fruit has such a high chance of dripping juice.
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Mark Helton
United States
San Jose
California
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Heretic!

Beer and pork rinds are closest things to "healthy" food my crew brings to game days!



Well, okay, we offer lowfat pretzels and diet sodas too.
(But don't tell anyone I said that.)

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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Quote:
She didn't really define what "healthy" was,


Well, that's the problem in a nutshell. Everyone has a different idea of what "healthy: means. For instance, I think that anything with a lot of sugar and simple carbs (rice, potatoes, wheat, etc) is not healthy, but salty fatty food like cheese and meat are perfectly fine. Others want low fat and low salt, and are fine with sugar. Others don't care what they eat as long as it doesn't have gluten in it, while still others think that meat products are of the devil. So how do you cater to those different notions of "health"?

1) Don't cater to your guests' freaky needs. Tell people what you're serving and if they have "special needs" to please bring along food that they will eat.

2) If you want to be nice and accommodating, then ask beforehand and if someone is "gluten free", or whatever, then be sure to have something for them, or if you're cooking adjust your recipe to their needs. We do this for every meetup we host, and as the cook I'm fine with it - it's even a welcome challenge.
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Chris
United States
Sandy Springs
Georgia
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Veggie tray is easiest. Buy one in the grocery store and plop it on the table. Carrot and celery sticks with some ranch dressing to dip is awesome. Little cheese cubes are a plus.
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Benj Davis
Australia
Summer Hill
NSW
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Fruit. Fruit good.
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Alexandre P.
France
Strasbourg
France
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I often feel compelled to bring something at someone’s place or to offer something to my guests at home so I buy pretzels (this kind).

But my friends and I are aware of our excess of fat so you try ... not to snack and to have a real meal either before or after.
And if I had to organize a very long session (from 2 to 10 pm for example), I would push the idea of a long pause for a real meal instead of constant snacking.

As for drinks, we mostly drink fruit juices, cider and sometimes wine.
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If I provide

some veggies either
cut up veggie tray or
bag baby carrots

some protein either
hummus or
nut butter (without sugar) or
nuts or
cheese or
edamame

some nongreasy carbs either
popcorn or
rice cakes or
whole wheat pita

Most people looking for health snacks are happy. Covers low sugar diets, low carb diets, veggie diets, low fat diets, high protein/low carb diets.
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Kirk
United States
Commerce Twp.
Michigan
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We always have some healthy and (not necessarily the same) Veggy / Vegan snacks. Our core food rotates between Pizza, Middle Eastern, Thai, Sandwiches, Sushi and Sliders. But for supporting snacks, I like items that are mostly not sticky / messy and have diverse appeal:

Mixed Nuts - easy to put on every table and a clean semi-healthy muncher

Veggie Tray (Costco) - good for Veggy people and Sally Soul Smasher types. Also wide appeal as this is very healthy. We even make some homemade healthy dips too.

Licorice bites - again, not messy. Not healthy but it is mainly just sugar and can be safely added to any gaming table.

Shrimp Cocktail - a bit messy but healthy and good!

Meeple Cookies - Fun, not too messy.

Sometimes Caprese - Using cherry tomatos and fresh mozzarella with toothpicks through them makes this a lot less messy finger food.

Other random stuff depending upon headcount and dietary trends of the group...

I usually avoid chips and salsa as it is too messy. Chips in genearl make for greasy fingers and my games suffer as I do not sleeve cards.
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15 Keys
United States
Living in the Delco
Pennsylvania
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Me reading some of the answers and salivating reminds me that real food, healthy food is actually yummier than junk food.
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K S
United States
Tonawanda
New York
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Our game nights are classy af:

Cheese trays, fruit trays, hummus, mixed nuts, crunchy roasted chickpeas, homemade pesto, artisanal hard cider and craft-brewed beer.
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Christian K
United States
Albany
New York
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ackmondual wrote:
She took a Kind bar out of her purse


Hahahahahaha, I love when people say that they want to eat healthy and then they eat junk like Kind bars, with their whopping 7 grams of protein and %20 of daily saturated fat and no evil gluten, only because they advertise themselves as healthy. Most of the specialty bars are %20-%30 better than straight candy bars but are not good by any stretch of the imagination.

On topic: It's hard to tell what people think of as healthy. Typically what would be good for you is lean meats, veggies, limited fruits(tons of sugar in many fruits), small portions of nuts. People often dont like the taste of many of the healthy things by themselves so they use dips and sauces......and 90% of these are not very good for you. Ketchup, BBQ, hummus, pretty much anything labeled as a dip aren't good for you for one reason or another, again based on a persons view of healthy. Does that mean vegan, gluten free, sugar free, non processed, farm raised, non fried, low carb etc or all of the above?

I know this is mostly a non answer but putting out a veggie tray or fruit tray with some dip(personal preference for "health" would be fat free cream cheese) will at least show that you made a good effort at having something heathy. You can't please them all.
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Kirk
United States
Commerce Twp.
Michigan
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CDiablo wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
She took a Kind bar out of her purse


Hahahahahaha, I love when people say that they want to eat healthy and then they eat junk like Kind bars, with their whopping 7 grams of protein and %20 of daily saturated fat and no evil gluten, only because they advertise themselves as healthy. Most of the specialty bars are %20-%30 better than straight candy bars but are not good by any stretch of the imagination.

On topic: It's hard to tell what people think of as healthy. Typically what would be good for you is lean meats, veggies, limited fruits(tons of sugar in many fruits), small portions of nuts. People often dont like the taste of many of the healthy things by themselves so they use dips and sauces......and 90% of these are not very good for you. Ketchup, BBQ, hummus, pretty much anything labeled as a dip aren't good for you for one reason or another, again based on a persons view of healthy. Does that mean vegan, gluten free, sugar free, non processed, farm raised, non fried, low carb etc or all of the above?

I know this is mostly a non answer but putting out a veggie tray or fruit tray with some dip(personal preference for "health" would be fat free cream cheese) will at least show that you made a good effort at having something heathy. You can't please them all.


That is why we use lowfat yogurt based dips with seasoning. Healthy and tasty.
 
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stuart and anne till
England
STAFFORD
staffordshire
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Easy, games and snacks don't mix. Following incidents of spilt red wine, very sticky and greasy hands and beer damaging games, no food and snacks are allowed at the games table where casual gamers are playing.

They can eat and drink away from the game, but wash hands before returning if greasy or sticky.

We are mostly vegetarian, and have a low fat / calorie diet, so foods we offer are usually diet sodas, fresh fruit, retro crudité with home made hummus (chickpeas and low sodium veg stock blitzed in a nutri-bullet), homemade fruit leathers, home made popcorn and so on. In the old days it was beer, chips, crisps, family bars of chocolate and so on shake
 
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Max Power
United States
North Carolina
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Veggie Tray and Hummus is the gold standard of being healthy while being inoffensive to basically every diet.

Get like 2 - 3 kinds of hummus and serve them separately in little ramekins and claim you made themdevil

Edamame, macadamia nuts, pistachios, chickpeas, dehydrated mango, dehydrated pineapple, and popcorn are also solid ideas (little mess, healthy-ish, requires no silverware, friendly with most diets, and somewhat unique)
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John Burt
United States
Portland
Oregon
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ByDeadlyHands wrote:
Veggie Tray and Hummus is the gold standard of being healthy while being inoffensive to basically every diet.

Get like 2 - 3 kinds of hummus and serve them separately in little ramekins and claim you made themdevil

Edamame, macadamia nuts, pistachios, chickpeas, dehydrated mango, dehydrated pineapple, and popcorn are also solid ideas (little mess, healthy-ish, requires no silverware, friendly with most diets, and somewhat unique)


Nope. At least half the things you listed are no-nos for someone on a low FODMAP diet, especially hummus.
 
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Tony C
United States
Holly Springs
North Carolina
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My first game night, I provided like ten types of food. Almost everyone brought something. My next one, I provided pretzels, nuts, and cheese cubes. Almost everyone brought something. Everyone ate something.
Unless there's a specific request or menu listed, if you want to ensure you'll like the food, bring something yourself.
When you start getting into providing for everyone, it gets dangerous and incredibly challenging - and you'll still probably get something wrong (gluten, vegetarian, vegan, low-salt, low-carb, low-fat, etc etc.)

(Dinner parties or things like that are different - there, we do try to cater to those special diets, at least a little bit, but those folks tend to bring something as well. Those are also closer friends, an open game night might be more distant people or even unknown.)

But yes, ultimately, it depends on the how to define "healthy", and if the food will be snack or meal type food. Pretzels, popcorn, nuts, cheese, are all "not unhealthy" food that are game-friendly.
 
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jay
United States
Fargo
North Dakota
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saturnkk wrote:
CDiablo wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
She took a Kind bar out of her purse


Hahahahahaha, I love when people say that they want to eat healthy and then they eat junk like Kind bars, with their whopping 7 grams of protein and %20 of daily saturated fat and no evil gluten, only because they advertise themselves as healthy. Most of the specialty bars are %20-%30 better than straight candy bars but are not good by any stretch of the imagination.

On topic: It's hard to tell what people think of as healthy. Typically what would be good for you is lean meats, veggies, limited fruits(tons of sugar in many fruits), small portions of nuts. People often dont like the taste of many of the healthy things by themselves so they use dips and sauces......and 90% of these are not very good for you. Ketchup, BBQ, hummus, pretty much anything labeled as a dip aren't good for you for one reason or another, again based on a persons view of healthy. Does that mean vegan, gluten free, sugar free, non processed, farm raised, non fried, low carb etc or all of the above?

I know this is mostly a non answer but putting out a veggie tray or fruit tray with some dip(personal preference for "health" would be fat free cream cheese) will at least show that you made a good effort at having something heathy. You can't please them all.


That is why we use lowfat yogurt based dips with seasoning. Healthy and tasty.

Its actually kinda hard to find lowfat yogurt without added sweeteners and such in my area. This is another health food marketing trap if you are not keen on what all the nutrition labeling means.
 
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Kirk
United States
Commerce Twp.
Michigan
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lifelesspoet wrote:
saturnkk wrote:
CDiablo wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
She took a Kind bar out of her purse


Hahahahahaha, I love when people say that they want to eat healthy and then they eat junk like Kind bars, with their whopping 7 grams of protein and %20 of daily saturated fat and no evil gluten, only because they advertise themselves as healthy. Most of the specialty bars are %20-%30 better than straight candy bars but are not good by any stretch of the imagination.

On topic: It's hard to tell what people think of as healthy. Typically what would be good for you is lean meats, veggies, limited fruits(tons of sugar in many fruits), small portions of nuts. People often dont like the taste of many of the healthy things by themselves so they use dips and sauces......and 90% of these are not very good for you. Ketchup, BBQ, hummus, pretty much anything labeled as a dip aren't good for you for one reason or another, again based on a persons view of healthy. Does that mean vegan, gluten free, sugar free, non processed, farm raised, non fried, low carb etc or all of the above?

I know this is mostly a non answer but putting out a veggie tray or fruit tray with some dip(personal preference for "health" would be fat free cream cheese) will at least show that you made a good effort at having something heathy. You can't please them all.


That is why we use lowfat yogurt based dips with seasoning. Healthy and tasty.

Its actually kinda hard to find lowfat yogurt without added sweeteners and such in my area. This is another health food marketing trap if you are not keen on what all the nutrition labeling means.


We are not insane about it. Just do the best we can. Balanced diets are healthy ones.


Edited to add: We like to strike a balance between healthy and tasty without going overboard in either direction too often.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
United States
Florence
MA
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saturnkk wrote:
We like to strike a balance between healthy and tasty without going overboard in either direction too often.
Yes, you should definitely try to avoid going too far in the tasty direction. There's no reason to spoil people that way. They can eat gruel and be content with what they're given!
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Monica Elida Forssell
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I have been served grapes,cheese and crackers at a game night at one point. At another, I was served dates wrapped in bacon, fried on the pan. Very yummy!!
 
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ackmondual
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Also note that healthier fare have been/will be primarily for groups that requested it. I'm not going to bring in healthy (and especially costly) food unsolicited, only to have it go in the garbage untouched (at the very least, I'll take it home).


Across various groups, folks have brought up that everything was pretty much sugar, one person was approaching 350 pounds and would like to have such food as another help to get away from that, or folks in general were otherwise not fond of the given food. These folks still go to game night, but they arrange their own meals, and just ignored the usual snacks.
 
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