Smart Game Day Snacks

Even armchair quarterbacks can fuel themselves like the pros. Mitzi Dulan, co-author of “The All-Pro Diet” (with Atlanta Falcon’s Tony Gonzalez), recommends keeping a bowl of almonds close by to provide sports fans with power throughout the game – whether on the sidelines or the field. A good source of energy, almonds can help keep fans going from kick-off to the final countdown, and they’re a great way to snack guilt-free without sacrificing flavor.

“Almonds are ideal for snacking because just one ounce – roughly one handful – is a tasty treat that helps crush cravings and provides hours of sustained energy that athletes and fans need,” says Dulan.

Game day snacks don’t have to be loaded with grease and calories to be tasty and satisfying, Dulan says. Instead, whip up a batch of smart snacks before kickoff that cover the flavor bases: Dulan’s Chocolate Almond Popcorn and Spicy End Zone Party Mix provide a sweet snack in one hand and a spicy, savory crunch in the other. Together they tackle any craving that comes along.

For fans of something a little heartier, try a grown-up version of a kids’ favorite: Mahi Mahi fish sticks with a crunchy almond coating provides a more substantial snack for a more sophisticated crowd. They’re fun, easy to put together and will combat any craving straight through to the post-game wrap-up.

Or keep it simple. A bowl of roasted almonds will meet the crunch craving football fans have on game day. Keeping a few favorite snacks while subbing out others for something healthier will keep everyone sated without feeling deprived.

Having worked with numerous NFL players like Tony Gonzalez, Dulan is no stranger to coaching athletes to keep their hunger in check and energy up.

“I tell my professional football clients that smart snacking is the key to maintaining optimal energy levels,” she says. “It’s easy to keep a bag of almonds and dried cherries in your gym bag for a quick pick-me-up, or to make your own power energy bars by mixing together almonds, almond butter, dried fruit, flaxseed and honey.  They’re great to have on hand after a workout or anytime you need an energy boost.”

Visit for Dulan’s fun, football-ready snack recipes for athletes of any kind, as well as the Pro Snacker page for snacking tips and more.

Cocoa-Almond Popcorn


  • 6 cups air-popped popcorn
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Combine the popcorn and almonds in a large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine butter, honey, cocoa, vanilla and sea salt. Boil 3 to 4 minutes; drizzle mixture over popcorn and almond mixture, stirring constantly until well-coated. Cool and serve.

Yield 12 servings

Calories: 210.70g Total Fat: 13.60g
Cholesterol: 2.54mg Protein: 5.97g
Carbohydrates: 20.30g Sodium:

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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