8 Super Bowl Foods You Should Be Making, Not Buying

These recipes are game day showstoppers. Making them helps you eat a little healthier and save a little money too.

Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where assistant nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

I love football and come from a family of avid football fans. Growing up, every fall Sunday afternoon was spent relaxing with the game on. Over the years, I grew my own attachments to the teams. Attending Michigan State University during their football glory days helped, too. I've even dabbled in Fantasy Football. To this day without fail, I find myself with a game on every Sunday afternoon. To be honest, it is one of the few things that gives me a sense of normalcy these days.

I realize not everyone is as enthusiastic about the sport (or any sport) as I am. However, I would argue that any occasion is a good occasion to celebrate these days, even if it's just with the people in your household. Will I be throwing a Super Bowl "party" for my boyfriend and I with all my favorite game day foods? Yes, yes I will. Instead of spending a bunch of money on premade store bought snacks, I opt to make these classics myself.

Here are eight Super Bowl foods you should be making to save money, eat healthier and boost the flavor of your game day.

1. Wings

Buffalo wings are probably the first food that comes to mind when you think of watching football. Making wings at home allows you to control the flavor (and spice level) yourself for a fraction of the price of restaurant wings. Branch out from classic Buffalo flavor and try our Garlic-Parmesan or Soy-Lime Chicken Wings. For vegan and vegetarian folks, we have Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and Roasted Buffalo Chickpeas.

2. Jalapeño Poppers

If you are searching for the perfect individual serving appetizer, look no further. Jalapeño poppers are some of my favorite things on the table on game days. They can be extra spicy with ingredients like cayenne pepper, or more mild with the addition of cream cheese or beans. You can even make it a meal with our Jalapeño Popper Burger.

3. Nachos

There are few (if any) times I am not in the mood for nachos. Something about the variety of flavors and textures is so craveable and satisfying. Plus, they are perfect for snacking while you watch the game (or the commercials). These are pretty easy to make at home and going DIY allows you to customize your nachos with all your favorite toppings. Try our Loaded Sheet-Pan Nachos or give it a healthier spin by swapping chips for cauliflower.

4. Guacamole

It may cost extra at Chipotle, but not at home! We even have a copycat recipe for Almost Chipotle Guacamole. Avocados can be expensive, but they often go on sale around the Super Bowl and making it yourself can still save money. I am a purist and make mine with just avocados, lime, cilantro and salt. But if you want to get creative, spice things up by adding tequila. Or, better yet, make it a meal with our Guacamole Chopped Salad or Guacamole Chicken.

5. All the Dips

Buffalo chicken, spinach artichoke, seven layer, the list goes on and on. The Super Bowl is a pretty excellent excuse to make one or several decadent dips. We have endless hummus options for vegetarians and vegans, as well at Loaded Black Bean Dip for those who follow a gluten-free pattern. To boost the nutrition and lighten it up, serve them with sliced vegetables along with some chips or bread.

6. Chili

For a warm, hearty main that can simmer as long as you need it to, choose chili for your game day celebration. Many chili recipes rely on canned legumes and vegetables, so it is super affordable, too. Not to mention, it freezes well if you have leftovers, which I plan to. You can add meat, beans, vegetables, grains and more so it is nutritious as well as filling. Make our Easy Vegetarian Chili or our Slow-Cooker Vegan Chili that even a carnivore would love, plus you'll save money by skipping meat. Kudos to you if you are organized enough to make cornbread to serve alongside your chili.

7. Cocktails

No celebration would be complete without beverages. We have ample big batch cocktails to make once and sip for all four quarters. Personally, I'll be starting my viewing with a Spicy Bloody Mary and moving on to beer, as is tradition. If you are moving away from alcohol, we have ample mocktail recipes, too.

8. Snack Mix

Having a bowl of snack mix on the table is never a bad idea, game day or not. Besides soaking up the delicious cocktails you made, making your own is cheaper, healthier and more customizable. Whether you like it fiery or sweet, we have a snack mix recipe for everyone.

Bottom Line

Whether or not you love watching football like me, the Super Bowl is a great excuse to make next Sunday feel special. Even if your team is too horrible to even make the playoffs (like my Detroit Lions), these snacks, meals and drinks will make help make game day as enjoyable and delicious as ever. Making these foods from scratch can help you eat healthier, save money and customize the flavors to be just how you like them for however you are watching the big game this year.

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