Healthy Alternatives to Gamer food.
After my extensive research (replies and comments to my twitter and Facebook Posts) I've narrowed down the most common foods people eat and using my keen deductive skill I've come up with some alternatives that will hopefully catch on. If you find you like some of these ideas you can pretty much google the exact recipe by typing in the item in your search engine. EVERYTHING is on the internet now'a'days. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a food expert. Everything I've written is from the tidbits of info i've learned from the start of my health kick 6 years ago. I was a raw foodist for 1.5 years then a pescatarian (someone who only eats fish) for a few years. Now I eat just about everything because my partner does (Its hard to turn down a home cooked bacon wrapped filet mignon). I just try to eat healthy/healthier whenever I can and if you're reading this you probably are too.
First I want to point out that there are certain types of food that people eat or think are really healthy but aren't. The human body doesn't process Corn very well and fat is good, but you don't have to add more fat to food. People go on and on about "You are SUPPOSED to have fat in your diet". Yea yea yea. There's already enough sodium and fat in most natural foods (like fruit & vegetables & definitely in meat and fish). IF you want to add oil to your foods Sesame Oil is good to cook with and is about 1/3 less fat than olive oil or other vegetable oils. Extra Virgin olive oil is best if you don't use it for cooking, but in other things like salads. Cooking carsonigins yadda yadda... just be careful and try not to add much butter or salt to your food (take a look in your fridge and see if you already have salted butter. Most come that way.). It can be livened up with Lemon or (if you're not allergic like me:) Garlic/onions. If you must use salt, try sea salt. You can add cheese to these, I just don't. But lets face it: EVERYTHING tastes better with cheese. Except Chocolate and some fruit... Just remember Moderation.
Trail Mixes: UN Salted, RAW. Those are the Key factors in choosing your nuts :D (*tee-hee). Almonds are the best source for protein in nut form and Whole Foods has a good selection for you to make your own mix or you can buy their pre mixed assortments. Try Adding Goji berries and RAW cocoa bits to your nuts. The mixture of the two is pretty spectacular. You will either Love the mix or HATE the mix. Trial and error is the best way to find out what you like. Almonds and raisins are pretty yummy too. I really enjoy dried cranberries and dried strawberries mixed with raw Almonds. Some people like sunflower and pumpkin seeds too. Try to get the pre shucked seeds as no one likes it when their friends leave a gooey mess of saliva glued seeds around.
STUFFED MUSHROOMS: Mushroom caps are cheap if you buy them from the loose bin. Cut the stems off and fill them with your favorite veggies cut into small cubes and mixed with fresh guacamole (or cheese). I like to warm the mushrooms first and let them cool and then put the fresh ingredients in. If you are going to bake the mushroom with cheese preheat the oven to about 350 and grease the cooking pan with what ever type of oil you usually use. (My boyfriend likes the butter flavor cooking spray but I just put a foil over the pan and cross my fingers that the bottom doesn't burn.) Bake for 15-20 mins or until the mushrooms are hot and liquid starts to form under the caps.
GHETTO LETTUCE LEAF WRAPS: You take a lettuce leaf, pour some salad dressing in it, add chopped veggies and/or deli meat (preferably lean) and booyah, you've got a wrap. Butter lettuce, Iceburg lettuce and Romaine lettuce works. If you want to get fancy then take a kale leaf and warm it in a pan with boiling water just briefly to make the leaf blossom and soft enough to eat. It will turn bright green. You'll know when its done. If it looks ill then you've cooked it too much. Other wrap options are healthy tortilla or soy wraps or Sushi (NORI/Seaweed) wraps. As long as you make the seaweed moist (like with dressing or sometimes I use Hummus) you can wrap it around anything.
CABBAGE CHIPS: You don't bake it so it's not really a chip, but it is in the shape of a chip so it kind of counts. Like chips it's as good as the dip you dip it in. So, you take your purple cabbage and slice the thing in half, Then cut the half in half. You should have triangles now. Break them apart and put them in a bowl. They are pretty tangy so keep that in mind when choosing your dip. Most veggies can be cut and put into a bowl to be used as dip.
VEGGIES TO DIP: Celery, carrots & sugar snap peas are our favorites. I recently found out that Fennel is pretty tasty.
DIP: All of the veggies (and chips) you buy will taste better with dip. They just do. Some people like ranch dressing and some like hummus. If you have the time, make it fresh or buy it fresh. I like to make fresh guacamole but for more protein I'll make a...
TUNA SALAD DIP: Canned tuna, red wine or balsamic vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, chopped celery, chopped apples, lemon(or lime), pepper, cayenne (as much or as little as you can handle), chopped jalapeno and chopped cilantro. Mix it and then add chopped cherry tomatoes. and you can put that on top of the guacamole or mix it in if you just don't care what it looks like. (it does not look very yummy but I like the way it tastes.) Unfortunately I don't follow recipes for stuff like this. I just make it to taste. There are about a million recipes on the internet. Google'em
COOKIES: Trader Joes has the BEST vegan cookies around. Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal. Both are yummy.
CHOCOLATE: IF you're going to get chocolate to munch on check out the specialty chocolate aisle. Its kind of an acquired taste but dark chocolate at about 80% chocolate is much better for you than milk chocolate. They come in weird mixes now like chocolate with strawberry filling or Chocolate and chilli. I even had a chocolate with bacon bar that was scrumdiddleyumptuous... but that's kind of out of the healthy realm of food. (it was fucking tasty though!)
POPCORN: You don't actually have to stop eating popcorn. You can use air popped popcorn or we get the unsalted and unbuttered microwave able popcorn. Sprinkle some rosemary on top or truffle sprinkles (or your favorite spice) and you're good to go. Really you can put anything you can think of on top of popcorn. Its the kind of food that just holds the flavor of anything. You can mix it with your trail mix if you want it to be heartier.
BOWL OF FRUIT SLICES: Its kind of an obvious choice but slice up some fruits and slice up some celery. Put it in a bowl and you've got a refreshing snack for you and your friends. Want to get a little fancier?...
YOGURT: ... for to dip things in. I'm not sure how healthy this suggestion is but real sugar is better than fake sugar. Just remember moderation. So, you take your plain, low fat, fat free or vanilla yogurt and mix in some cinnamon and Maple Syrup (NOT Aunt Magimas. Get 100% raw Maple Syrup.). Stir and stir and stir. Add atop some fresh blue berries or dip the fruit in it. It's pretty sweet depending on how much Syrup you put in.
NACHOS: You're going to eat them so at least try to find chips that are low in sodium and oil. There are some veggie chips out there that taste pretty good in all of its baked goodness but they aren't much healthier for you than the chips. So if you are going to make nachos then try to pick fresh ingredients to put on it. Canned stuff has all sorts of preservatives that you can do without. I get dried beans and hydrate them myself. Go Black Bean. Just shop smart. I don't know how to shop smart in the cheese department. Most fat free cheese tastes like Yuck to me. Some of my vegan friends use vegan cheese and they seem to like it.
JERKY: Is yummy if you like meat. Find some good dried low sodium low fat jerky if you're going to get some.
PIZZA: There really isn't any substitute for pizza but if you want to go there then try putting all your favorite fresh ingredients on top of a tortilla instead and bake it that way. You can make one for each of your friends to their specific liking or have them bring their favorite toppings.
Crystal Light powder tea comes in a no sugar form and in many flavors. My last trainer told me to get these. They're pretty flavorful so I'll put a half a package (they come in individual packages too) in my water. If you want a fizzy drink add mineral/sparkling water instead of flat water. The boldness of flavor is a personal choice so add as much packet as you want.
OJ - Fresh Orange Juice. 100% pure. NOT from concentrate. I like Simply Orange brand. I think there are a couple other brands that offer pure OJ. You can mix this or fresh Apple Juice with sparkling water to make it more fun. I like to mix Fresh OJ with Vodka. Specifically the Absolute Cherry flavor when I play World of Warcraft.
Coffee - Instead of creamer I like vanilla protein powder (Isopure) but that's just a personal thing. Otherwise I like my coffee black.
There's also water. Yea, you might not have heard of it. You should try it. Maybe drink more than a couple of glasses a day of it. Its like soda without the bubbles or syrup or flavor. I hear its good with ice.
I'm absolutely not saying go vegan or vegetarian. But if you're going to spend hours playing a game with your friends and eating the whole time (like I do) these are just some ideas on how to do it without eating store bought chips or pizza. If you just don't have time to prepare these items then try buying them fresh or prepare as much as you can a day or two in advance. I find I only spend a few minutes cutting vegetables and it takes very little time to prepare my food and put it together if I make it fresh. Most of the time you spend 10-20+ minutes cooking or baking items. Just a thought. If you would like to add some ideas to this list please do so in comment form. Comments are VERY welcome here!
If you would rather NOT eat healthy, here are some TASTY fancy foods that my friend Jon has recommended:
Take a piece of good goat’s cheese and put it between 2 slices of baguette, less than an inch thick. Put a little olive oil in a frying pan. Gently cook the bread until it’s brown and the cheese has started to melt. Serve either on its own or with a green salad. Nice with a dry white wine.
Take two slices of bread and spread margarine on one side. Turn them and make a sandwich with ham and a slice of cheese. Cook it in a frying pan without any oil until it’s brown on both sides and the cheese has started to melt.
Follow the above recipe and top with either a fried or poached egg.
Get a good camembert. Unwrap it and lightly scrape the skin . Cut a cross in the cheese and insert either small pieces of bell pepper or garlic. Wrap the cheese in tin foil and put it in the bottom of its box. Cook in a moderate oven for about twenty minute until the cheese starts to melt. Serve with new potatoes that you can dip into it and a green salad. Nice with a dry white wine.
You need a camembert that can sing, dance and smells quite strong. You make a basic omelette and add the runny cheese as it’s starting to cook with some chives. It may sound horrible but it’s very tasty. Serve with baguette and a green salad. Don’t forget the white wine.