Here’s my theory on spectator sports and junk food: they rely on each other. Back in the days of my infamous gluten and cheese binges, this theory was music to my ears. No hockey game was complete without at least two gigantic soft pretzels, and a football game without an entire pizza and a platter of wings seemed like a joke. The problem I face today is that even though I have kicked the habit of justifying excessively fried, doughy foods with the excuse of “the big game,” I still can’t kick the cravings. So naturally, the thought of spending four quarters surrounded by tables of my nutritional kryptonite prompted me to re-think my game day strategy. I drew it up, as old good coaches do.
I anticipate the appetizer spread to have a strong defense, but every line has its weak point. If I can dodge the four cheese buffalo chicken dip and fake right at the fried Jalapeno poppers, I should have a clean break away to score…on salsa! Sure, it seems like a rookie play to go for a boring bowl of tomatoes when there are so many finger sandwiches to be explored, but thanks to these awesome mango, pineapple, and corn and black bean salsa recipes from Greens and Chocolate, the opposition will never see it coming.
If this appetizer strategy doesn’t work, I’ll have some secret weapons waiting on the sidelines. This healthy Sweet Potato Skins recipe (minus the cheese, in my case) will tackle anything covered in cheddar cheese and bacon that tries to hold me back. Also, these Avocado Couscous Stuffed Mushrooms from The Athletic Avocado have ditched the classic cheese and breadcrumb stuffing in preparation for the big day, making them a gluten-free, dairy-free powerhouse to have on anyone’s team.
The second half will have me sweating as the clock winds down on time to try the other tempting dishes. Crunch time is all about subbing out the players who haven’t been performing their best, so what better time to trade in the fluffy rolls next to the pulled pork and chili pots for some energizing lettuce wraps or gluten-free corn tortillas? Better yet, I might trade in the pulled pork and chili for some creative variations like Chipotle Pork Tacos from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen or Turkey Chili from Dash of Evans. The subbing doesn’t even have to stop there; some of the countless dairy-free alternatives to cheese and yogurt might just get some playing time as well.
It’s not going to be easy, but I’ve made it this far. And with recipes like these, there might just be a few more gluten-free recruits when the time comes for kick off. It could be anyone’s game, but I’m confident that with the right attitude and determination, the victory of a delicious, gluten and dairy-free game day is within reach!
Greens & Chocolate
Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen