Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Game Day Menu

December 26, 2019 | Food Lion
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Tagged:  Game Day

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Food Lion. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love how watching a sporting event in someone’s home can bring family, friends, and even the team traitors together. It’s one of the best ways to be able to gather in your home regularly with built-in entertainment. As a person who enjoys hosting people in your home, I want to inspire you with this guide to game day menu planning in hopes that it helps you find the perfect recipes to keep your guests cheering and avoid the overwhelm. One great place to stock up on all your game needs is Food Lion. From paper supplies to food, they’ve got you covered at great low everyday prices plus Weekly deals.

1. Start Your Game Day Menu Prep by Thinking about Your Guests.

Food and drinks are a big part of what brings people together to watch sporting events. As you plan your game day menu, be sure that you think about the guests that will be attending the event. Everyone has very different dietary restrictions or needs, so it’s a good idea to prep a menu that can serve just about anyone at the party. When I head out to game day parties that I’m not hosting, I’m always hoping the host or hostess has a few options on the table that allow me to eat and enjoy the event without tons of regret the next day. With this in mind, I’m going to provide you a list of game day menu items to consider so that your spread is accessible to all your guests.

Keto/Low-Carb Game Day Menu Ideas:

  • Chicken Wings
  • Ribs
  • Barbecue
  • Meatballs
  • Cheese Slices
  • Deli Meat Slices
  • Antipasto Board
  • Charcuterie Board

Simple Vegetarian & Gluten-Free Snacks:

  • Fruit Tray
  • Veggie Tray
  • Tossed Salad
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Cheese Slices or Sticks
  • Veggie or Cheese Pizza
  • Hummus - Check out this Mediterranean Layered Dip from Food Lion.
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Rice Chips
  • Gluten Free Cookies
  • Meatless Chili
Ultimate Game Day Menu | Fresh Ideas | Food Lion

2. Get Strategic with Your Game Day Menu.

With a game day menu, you can go a few different routes with what you decide to serve.  Here are my ideas to get you started with planning.

One Main Game Day Menu Item:

One way to plan your menu is to go with a main dish and then make a “bar” of add ons.  Here are some examples of a main dish with a bar of toppings.

  • Make a big skillet of ground chicken and ground beef and set up a table of taco toppings.  Toppings can include shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, guacamole, and tortillas!
  • Make a crockpot of potato soup and set up a table of potato toppings like chives, shredded cheese, bits of bacon, sour cream.
  • Grill up hotdogs and hamburgers with a bar of toppings like onions, lettuce, tomato, chili, cheese slices and sauerkraut.
  • Make a crockpot of chili and set up a selection of shredded cheese, sour cream, chives, tortilla chip slivers, and more.

Variety of Game Day Finger Foods:

If the main dish doesn’t fit the vibe you are going for; you can always go with the classic finger food idea and keep things super simple. Here are some examples of go-to game day foods that most guests will enjoy!

1. Chips & Dip

  • Tortilla Chips and Queso
  • Tortilla Chips and Salsa
  • Tortilla Chips and Guacamole
  • Tator Tots & Fun Dip Varieties
  • Chili Cheese Fries

2. Finger Food Meats

  • Chicken Wings and fun dips or flavors
  • Chicken Fingers
  • Fish Sticks
  • Antipasto Board
  • Meatballs
  • Mini Hot Dogs

3. Dip-able Fruits and Veggies

  • Veggie Tray or Skewers with Fruit Dips
  • Crackers with cheese and a variety of fruit spreads
  • Fruit Tray or Skewrs with a simple yogurt dip.

4. Simple Game Day Menu Desserts

  • Cookies
  • Brownies
  • Cupcakes
Ultimate Game Day Menu | Fresh Ideas | Food Lion

3. Keep Foods that need to Stay Warm to a Minimum.

When planning your game day menu, remember to think about the number of foods you want to serve that taste best when hot.  For example:

  • Pizza
  • French Fries
  • Tater Tots
  • Pizza Bites
  • Chicken Nuggest
  • Chicken Wings
  • Meatballs

Decide if you have enough heating elements to keep these foods warm during your game day festivities. There are simple ways to keep the food warm; you want to inventory how many heating sources you have as you plan how many warm food items you will serve guests. If you don’t have enough heat sources for the menu, consider asking a friend or neighbor to borrow theirs. Here are the main ways you can keep game day food warm:

  • Hot Plates
  • Sterno and Chaffing Dishes
  • Slow Cookers set to Warm
  • Pressure Cookers with a warming setting option
  • Stove Top
  • Oven
  • Tin Foil Wraps
Ultimate Game Day Menu | Fresh Ideas | Food Lion

4. Play Offense Against Messes.

With most parties, you have enough people, preoccupied and excited by the game to anticipate at least one mess. A drink tip over, a runaway meatball or an enthusiastic cheer plate flip are all possibilities. It pays to be ready, so when it happens you don’t have to run around like a crazy person, and your guests can help clean up in a jiffy! Here are all my tips for playing offense when it comes to party menu messes!

  • Consider covering your furniture in your favorite team logo blankets.  Your guests will think you’ve got epic team spirit, but you’ll know your mainly protecting your furniture from folly.
  • Keep a stack of towels under the coffee or side table with a bottle of foaming carpet spray (if you have carpet).
  • If you use disposable plates, consider spending a little extra money for plates that are extra sturdy and hold up to the weight of the foods and moisture of the dips and sauces.
  • At my house, I hand out insulated plastic cups with lids and straws and write the guests name on the side with a dry erase marker.

Don’t forget that one way you can save time and energy for your next game day party is to take advantage of Food Lion’s Online Shopping with pick up or delivery.

Ultimate Game Day Menu | Fresh Ideas | Food Lion
About the Writer:

Kim Anderson is the author of Live, Save, Spend Repeat: The Life You Want with the Money You Have and the blogger behind ThriftyLittleMom.com.  Thrifty Little Mom is dedicated to helping you create parties, celebrations, and gatherings that everyone loves! Kim lives in North Carolina with her husband, 8-year-old son, identical twin 3-year-old girls and the family Beagle named Bit.

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