This is for you Halo 3 addicts:
The weekend is coming and you and your friends have an all-night gaming session planned. You know you're going to get peckish or even hungry at some point, but not enough for full meals - which would leave you dull afterwards. What do you eat instead?
Here are a variety of choices, many of them fairly light but deliciously satisfying. We can't promise every item on the list is healthy, and some require a touch of preparation, but they're all worthwhile just the same!
Pizza Rolls. They're easy to pop in the microwave or toaster oven. Since they can be eaten with one hand with little mess, they're a popular choice for gaming. There are great pizza roll recipes online if you want to make your own.
Gummy Bears. Gummy Bears are chewy and delicious. They don't melt and the good quality ones won't leave residue on your hands - making them perfect for continuing your favorite games uninterrupted.
Bawls Mints. Every video gamer knows about Bawls Mints. These mints contain caffeine and pack a unique fizzy flavor. The caffeine keeps you awake and alert so you can destroy the other team.
Energy Drinks. Pulling an all-night gaming session means being able to stay awake. Gamers often turn to highly-caffeinated Jolt Cola or their favorite energy drinks, also over-caffeinated. Recognizing this, manufacturers are marketing new soda flavors specifically to gamers.
Popcorn. Includes just a few minutes of prep time, can be found at home, and comes in several flavors of cheesy and buttery goodness. Leave fingers greasy and corn kernels for clean-up, but can definitely be eaten one-handed.
Frozen pizza. Frozen pizza is ideal for gaming, as it's easy to prepare and easy to eat one-handed - not to mention, comes in many brands and flavors. Unfortunately, it has a bad habit of leaving grease and cheese on the controller and keyboard.
Nachos and cheese. A combination of chips and hot cheese. Inexpensive, prep time includes heating cheese, and they can be eaten one handed. Hands might become greasy or cheesy, and be sure to have drinks on hand.
Potato Chips and Doritos. Potato chips are quick - whether you make your own or buy - can be eaten one-handed, can be found easily in cupboards, and don't require prep time. They also come in several brands and flavors. Unfortunately, like pizza, they can be greasy, and they make gamers thirsty.
No Preparation Required!
Nuts. Nuts are popular gaming snacks: just toss a few into your mouth. Most are not so greasy that your equipment will suffer, and nuts are healthy, unless you eat an entire can. You need protein to stay awake anyway, which nuts have in droves. The popular brand, Planters, offers games online, if you tire of the games you're playing.
Pretzels. For a less greasy but still salty snack, pretzels are a favorite. While original pretzels are a nice treat, the flavored kind are even better. Hot Buffalo Wing flavor is a favorite among gamers, as well as Honey Mustard and Onion.
Beef Jerky. Beef jerky is dried out, salted meat, which doesn't spoil short-term — as long as you seal the bag. It requires no preparation and almost no clean-up time, unless you make jerky at home.
Bagels and cream cheese. This combo is satisfying if you're feeling more than peckish but not all-out hungry. You have lots of flavors to choose from, and you could replace the cream cheese with smoked salmon (above), or tomato or cuke slices sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. Buy or make your own bagels.
Cheese and Crackers. Can be quick or gourmet, often found right at home, so they don't take much prep time, and they're inexpensive. They can be eaten one-handed, but are prone to making gamers thirsty - thus requiring another hand for a drink.
Healthy Snacks to Keep On Playing
Salsa. Salsa is easy to make fresh - or buy - and offers tasty nutrition with the right ingredients. Be adventurous, try some that combine sweet fruits and hot chilies. Serve with corn chips, mini tacos, quesadillas, or as an all-around sort of condiment.
Hummus. Hummus is healthy, high in protein, inexpensive and easy to make at home . Use pocket breads to keep gaming equipment clean, fill with hummus, thinly sliced cucumbers and red onions, a squeeze of lemon or lime, a drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of coarse fresh ground black pepper.
Feta cheese. Crumble or cube calcium-rich feta and serve with sliced or chopped red onion, Greek olives, and chopped or wedged tomatoes over puffy, middle-eastern style pita breads. Run this under a (toaster) oven broiler for a minute or so, drizzled with the best olive oil you've got. Fast, simple, nutritious and delicious.
Rich, crusty, whole grain breads. Cut thick slices. Let gamers make their own hearty snacks, choosing from such things as asiago cheese, sharp Italian provolone cheese, roasted red peppers, prosciutto, salami, extra-virgin olive oil and cracked black peppercorns. Or keep it simple –- a rich, whole grain bread has a flavor all its own. Spread with real butter — warmed to room temperature — and put out some good quality preserves, and perhaps a plate of fresh fruit and cheese.
Fruit and Vegetables. Mostly for the health conscious gamers, fruit and vegetables make the list of top snacks. They are easy to eat and provide nutrients to keep you going. Mix it up and add dips for a real vegetable platter, and you have yourself an excellent snack
A Taste of the More Exotic
Yogurt Dip. This is a magnesium-rich energy food, a tart and tangy yogurt dip is great for a vegetable platter of endurance, enhancing broccoli, cauliflower, carrot sticks, celery, and cherry tomatoes. A sweeter yogurt dip complements an energy boosting fruit plate of kiwi slices, grapes, strawberries, banana rounds, and pineapple chunks.
Pakora. Yes, these vegetable treats are fried, but fats have some energy giving value, too. Serve with a selection of delicious chutneys for dipping or drizzling. Easy to order in, but best made at home. (Caution: frying in hot oil when you've been up all night may be dangerous!) Pakoras are beginner-friendly, but be sure to use Indian style chick pea flour, called besan, which is very high in protein. Try banana pakora, made with sweet, ripe bananas rolled in besan, with hot spices mixed in, and then fried.
Smoked salmon bites. Feed the brain while impressing the taste buds with this fast and easy 15-minute finger food. Saute a skillet of whole, fresh mushrooms in butter, perhaps a splash of wine, to go along. Complete the table with a tray of chilled cut fruits.
Sushi. Fish is brain food, but if eating it sushi-style doesn't appeal to you, try the "spring" rolls. These veggie options are wonderful and if a healthy dose of wasabi doesn't make you feel alert and alive, nothing will.
Dim Sum. These tiny, tasty treats are perfect for gaming. Whether you order from the local Chinese take-out or make them at home, offer a broad variety or just a few favorites. Players are going to enjoy them. Some varieties can even be made ahead and frozen until game day.