Heart-Healthy Game Day Snacks

Heart-Healthy Game Day Snacks

The big game is just a few days away, and it’s not an official party without the snacks. No matter which team you’re rooting for, you’ll want these heart-healthy, tasty options as part of your game plan.

The team at Cooper University Health Care is here to help you celebrate the game while keeping your health in mind. These recipes are diabetes-friendly; lower in fat, sodium, and carbohydrates than their traditional counterparts; and sure to satisfy your hungry team.

“Opting for snacks that are higher in protein and fiber will satisfy your cravings and keep you fuller longer,” says Sandra Vasquez, MS, RD, CSOWM, bariatric dietitian at Cooper University Health Care. “I also encourage my patients to practice mindful eating while enjoying their favorite foods. Mindful eating involves paying attention to hunger and fullness cues and can help individuals develop a healthier relationship with food, improve digestion, and promote overall well-being.”

In addition to the recipes below, be sure to offer plenty of vegetables with hummus or guacamole as a dip. Other healthy snack ideas include fresh fruit, nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds), air-popped popcorn, and shrimp cocktail. Also, be sure to offer plenty of water and low-calorie beverages, alongside other options.

Enjoy the game!

Protein-Packed Buffalo Chicken Dip

2 cups shredded chicken breast (or 1 can low-sodium canned chicken)
1/4 cup buffalo sauce
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp ranch seasoning
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  3. Bake the chicken dip for 20 minutes or until it is golden and bubbly.
  4. Serve alongside crisp carrot and celery sticks for a delightful crunch.

Nutrition per 1/3 cup serving (excluding veggies):

Calories: 120
Protein: 15g
Fat: 4g
Carbohydrates: 5g
Fiber: 0g
Sugars: 3g
Sodium: 85mg

Heart-Healthy Chili

1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 pound lean ground beef (at least 92% lean)
1 onion (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground chipotle powder
2 tsp cumin
2 cans kidney beans (14.5 oz. cans with liquid)
Fresh cilantro leaves (garnish)
1 cup canned corn, no salt added
2 cans tomato sauce, no salt added (8 oz. cans)
2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt added (14.5 oz. cans with juice)
Low-fat sour cream (optional)
Shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil, ground beef, onions, and garlic. Cook and break up the ground beef as you go until it is browned, about 7 minutes. (Note: You can substitute ground turkey or a plant-based alternative for ground beef.)
  2. Add the paprika, chipotle, and cumin and cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes with their juices, kidney beans with their liquid, and canned corn to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until it reaches the desired thickness, about 20 minutes.
  4. Scoop into bowls, garnish with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve with optional toppings (shredded low-fat cheddar, low-fat sour cream).

Nutrition per 1 cup serving:

Calories: 323
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 40mg
Sodium: 224mg
Carbohydrates: 38g
Fiber: 12g
Protein: 28g


Mexican Bean Dip

1 can (14 oz.) refried, pinto, or white kidney beans
1⁄3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp each ground cumin and chili powder, plus more to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley


  1. If using canned beans, drain well and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
  2. In a bowl, combine beans and the rest of the ingredients (yogurt, onions, garlic, spices, and herbs) and mash or use a food processor to combine.
  3. Taste and add more cumin and chili powder if necessary and add cilantro or parsley to taste.
  4. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley.

(Tip: You can make this ahead. Just cover and refrigerate for up to two days.)

Nutrition per 2 tbsp serving:
Calories: 30
Fat: <1g
Cholesterol: 2mg
Sodium: 85mg
Carbohydrates: 5g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 2g

Reduced Guilt Nachos

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast (8 oz.), cubed
1 tsp chili powder
4 oz. whole grain nachos
1/2 cup shredded part skim Monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 tbsp chopped fresh jalapeños
6 tbsp taco sauce
2 tbsp chunky salsa


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with chili powder and place in a baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Set aside.
  3. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and layer ingredients in the following order: nachos, half the cheese, tomato, onion, jalapeños, taco sauce, salsa, and chicken. Sprinkle remaining cheese over nachos.
  4. Broil nachos 4 inches from heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until cheese is fully melted. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition per ½ cup serving:
Calories: 248
Fat: 10g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 35mg
Sodium: 309mg
Carbohydrates: 21g
Fiber: 3g
Protein: 19g


  1. jeanne cona

    thanks! these are great! I also make a 3 bean salad with chopped tomatoes, avocado, onion, and corn with cilantro/parsley red wine vinegar and olive oil! It’s heart healthy, tasty and can be used as a topping for whole grain chips or grilled chicken/fish etc

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