I might be in it for the snacks and commercials, but I LOVE a good Super Bowl Party! We’ve spent the past couple of years developing a snack spread that minimizes waste and includes everyone’s favorite goodies!
In general, here are my strategies for picking the best (and lowest waste) super bowl (or, erm…. Saturday afternoon or Friday night movie night) snacks:
- Choose homemade snacks – homemade is almost always going to be lower waste than the pre-made alternative (in fact, if you can think of a single example that breaks this rule, tell me in the comments and I’ll figure out some sort of prize!). Think about a bag of potatoes vs frozen tater tots, potato skins or French fries and “naked” avocados, garlic and tomatoes vs the plastic tub of remade guacamole
- Look for “naked” ingredients – meaning those you can buy without any packaging. Vegetables and fruits are perfect examples of this. Look for them in bulk bins and DON’T use the plastic bag. You can either bring your own produce bag (see my recommendations here if you want to purchase a few) or just throw them into your cart without a bag… trust me, the cashier will be able to ring them up for you like this just fine!
- Buy local – this is a great opportunity to support your favorite bakery, local farmer, cheese shop, or neighborhood restaurant. Lots of times, businesses like this would be happy to cater your party, make a cheese tray (hint, hint, the Rockford Cheese Shop) or create a large quantity order, but you’d better call ahead… the sooner the better!
- Buy in recyclable packaging – remember that metal and glass can be recycled endlessly (meaning over and over and over and over and… you get the idea), paper 5-7 times, and plastic only 2-3 times. I use this order to guide my packaging selection when I have choices.
- Buy in bulk – More food in the same container slightly reduces the packaging:food ratio. This is my last ditch effort to make a more sustainable choice, but this ONLY WORKS if you EAT ALL THE FOOD! Buying more than you eat (to save on packaging) and then throwing away the excess food COMPLETELY defeats the purpose!
OK, on to our favorite snacks! Here they are, in no particular order…
- Guacamole (my favorite) – we’ve already talked about buying the
avocados, garlic, and tomatoes “naked” from the grocery store. Bonus points if you’ve grown any of these ingredients yourself. I go the extra mile and walk to the little Mexican restaurant down the road from my house and buy fresh tortilla chips in a paper bag… they’re SO delicious!
- Kale Chips (my oldest daughter’s favorite) – we’re still getting kale from our winter CSA farm share, so February is the perfect time for kale chips! We use this recipe. Even if you can’t buy it from a local farmer right now, kale is one of those vegetables you can usually find “naked” in the grocery store.
- Popcorn (Robbie’s favorite) – this simple snack is our go to for almost any lazy time around the house. Friday night movie night… is better with popcorn! Thursday night dinner when everyone is too exhausted to cook (or eat a real meal)… popcorn! I make it on the stove and don’t follow a recipe, but this one is pretty close to my routine if you’ve never cooked popcorn before. We buy our popcorn kernels in bulk (25 pound paper bag), but you can usually find kernels in glass jars in the grocery store. I use coconut oil, again purchased in a glass jar, and season with sea salt.
- Bean Dip (my youngest daughter’s favorite) – we nearly always have a batch of cooked black beans in our house (my favorite recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, in her first cookbook The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, but you can also find the recipe online here) so we can easily whip up a dip with beans + cheddar cheese + sour cream + salsa. I can’t tell you the exact amounts of the ingredients, in part because Robbie always makes this dip and in part because he doesn’t measure, so you’ll have to experiment to find your favorite combo. Again, we eat this with chips from our favorite local restaurant. We buy the beans in bulk (25 pound paper bag) and have a bunch of frozen homemade garden salsa from last summer (but you could buy this in glass), but the cheese and sour cream usually come in plastic.
Please add your favorite waste-free, low waste, local or sustainable snack suggestions in the comments!!