33 No Grease, No Mess Snacks For Board Game Night

emily mini profile pic By Emily

You need some snacks for board game night that aren’t going to make a mess and get all over the games. Getting greasy finger stains off tokens, cards and boards is not easy!

hard candy sweets

You’ll want to avoid snacks which can drip on things or leave grease and sticky coatings on people’s fingers. That means no chips, crisps, chocolate or anything with a sauce or dip.


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Ideally, you’ll want snacks for board game night that you can prepare in advance, that take up little space on the table, and can be eaten while gaming. Anything that can be eaten using chopsticks, skewers or toothpicks are a good choice too because then people’s hands aren’t actually touching the food so it can’t leave a residue.

You’ll want to cater for everyone’s dietary requirements too – vegans, vegetarians, gluten free, allergies. But have no fear! There are lots of ideas here and there’s something for everyone.

1. Jelly sweets

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

Jelly sweets like Haribo and Gummi Bears are perfect snacks. They are sweet, but not sticky and look fantastic in a bowl on the table. You’ll only need one bowl for these, saving on table space because people won’t need side plates to eat them. Just don’t get Tangfastics, the little granules of sugar that cover the sweets will drop all over the place!

2. Crudites

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Humble sliced vegetable sticks are a party time classic for a reason. They are healthy, meet all the dietary requirements and are conveniently bite-sized. Guests will be eating the carrot, cucumber, celery and pepper sticks with their fingers, but because they are mostly water and low-sugar they won’t leave a sticky residue on their fingers. Just don’t provide dips for these unless you want drips on your table games!

3. Grapes

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Grapes are a perfect snack for board game nights. They are perfectly sized, take no time to prepare and people can eat them whole. I think they fit really well with games based on ancient civilizations like Roman, Greek and Egyptian themed games like 7 Wonders and Senator. For me, grapes always bring to mind images of nobles eating grapes on chaise longues.

4. Dried fruit

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Dried raisins, sultanas, apricots, banana chips – these are all great options for board game night snacks. They are nice and small hits of sweetness without all the colourings from sweets and candy. Just put a few little dishes on the table with different dried fruit in and people can nibble on their favourites.

5. Pre-popped salted popcorn

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Popcorn is a great option if done well. It’s quite low in calories and the good ones contain very few ingredients – corn, salt and a little oil. The trick with popcorn is to get the pre-popped salted variety. The popcorns that you do yourself in the microwave tend to be covered in butter, oil and lot of sugar – all which mean sticky, greasy fingers!

6. Oreos

Usually suitable for: dairy free, vegans, vegetarians,

Oreos are a great vegan suitable snack we stumbled upon when a vegan joined our regular gaming group. The biscuit part of an Oreo is quite dry so it’s not too greasy. Yeah, you will get crumbs but crumbs can be brushed away and not cause any lasting damage to your games.

7. Sugar coated chocolate

Usually suitable for: gluten free, vegetarians

Sugar coated chocolate like peanut MnMs, chocolate MnMs and Smarties can work really well. It keeps the sticky, melty part – the chocolate – inside the crisp sugar shell so the chocolate doesn’t melt on people’s fingers!  

8. Pretzels

Usually suitable for: dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

A classic party time finger food, pretzels are a good, non-greasy option. They have all the salt and crunch of crisps but without all the grease that goes with them. Pretzels provide a really nice salty snack option on the gaming table to balance out the sweeter snacks.

9. Veggie crisps

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Less greasy than their potato counterparts, veggie crisps like dried sweet potatoes or parsnip crisps are a good crunchy option. You used to only be able to find these in health food shops, but they are becoming more mainstream now and can be picked up in many regular shops too.

10. Crackers and cheese platter

Usually suitable for: vegetarians

A nice bit of cheese and crackers! You can feel fancy with your crackers and cheese platter. Avoid pickles and relishes though, they are sticky and messy. Instead, go for creamy cheeses like Brie and Gournay. They will stop the crackers from tasting too dry. If you’re catering for vegetarians then check the cheese ingredients for animal rennet. You could have crackers and cheese as an option for cealiacs by finding gluten free crackers.

11. Snacks on toothpicks

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Remember cheese, pineapple and sausages on sticks from parties? You can prepare some of these for game night. They don’t take very long and you can vary the options according to who you have in your group. Having the food on toothpicks is great because people don’t need to touch the food with their fingers.

12. Fruit skewers

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Chopped fruit on kebab skewers can work really well. It means that you can serve the juicier fruits without people getting their hands wet and sticky with fruit juice. Fruit like melon and mango work really well on skewers, you can make decent sized squares with them so they don’t fall off!

13. Cups of chilli

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Chilli is a good option because it’s something you can prepare ahead of time and just heat up when people are ready to snack. You can change your recipe depending on who is coming to game night too – a meat-free 5 bean chilli is a great option for vegans. Serving everyone an individual potion in a cup with a spoon is a nice way to eat at the table without any risk of people splashing chilli over everything.

14. Plain nuts

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Providing there are no nut allergy gamers in your group, a plain old bowl of nuts is an awesome game night snack. Get the ones that aren’t covered in oil, salt or fancy toppings though – those are messy. Walnuts, peanuts, cashews and almonds are quite easy to find without any coatings.

15. Dried meats

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

Salami, pepperoni and chorizo make good snacks. Especially if you combine them with the cheese board! What a lovely treat. People can use toothpicks to skewer and eat the meats so that they aren’t touching them with their fingers. One tip though, keep the meats cold in the fridge until you are ready to serve them, otherwise, they sweat and go oily.

16. Sushi

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

A little unconventional for a gaming snack, but it can work brilliantly if you have sushi fans in your gaming group. A maki roll is effectively it’s own little wrapped up snack. Even better, guests can eat it with chopsticks – assuming the can use them and won’t just drop the food on the board!

Sushi is quite fun to make yourself or you could buy the pre-made lunch packs from your local supermarket. If you have vegans and vegetarians in your group you could serve some vegetable based sushi options.

17. Trail mix

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Yeah, it’s designed for hikers for energy on a long walk – but gaming sessions can be intense and burn a lot of energy too! It’s a great finger food that’s not too dry or oily and the mixed nuts, seeds, and dried fruit are quite a healthy choice.

18. Orange segments

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Peeled and prepared orange segments are hugely snackable – they are their own little snack parcels. Unlike whole oranges or peeling them while gaming which will just squirt sticky orange juice everywhere. Preparing the segments will take a little time, but you could look for the easy-peel varieties to save you some time and hassle.

20. Berries

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Berries like blackberries and raspberries are a good option. The berry skins keep all the juices in and they can be eaten whole. Berries could be an expensive snack option depending on where you live, but you can treat your friends every now and again to a super tasty super food.  

21. Strawberries and cream

Usually suitable for: gluten free, vegetarians

I’m a huge fan of strawberries and cream, especially in the summer when the fruit is in season! You can serve each person a portion in a cup so they can eat it at the table and not slosh it everywhere. If there’s vegans or dairy-free players in your gaming group you could get a dairy-free cream alternative for them.

22. Lollipops

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Not the healthiest of snacks compared to most on this list, but they are a great one. People don’t need to touch them to eat them so they won’t get sticky fingers.

23. Macarons

Usually suitable for: gluten free, vegetarians

These trendy little snacks are a good option for celiacs because they are made with almond flour instead of regular flour. They are just enough of a sweet treat and they come in all kinds of bright colours which look cheerful on the table!

24. Cherry tomatoes

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

A sweet and savoury favourite of parties, cherry tomatoes make a good snack. They are bite-sized, healthy and quite inexpensive. Cherry tomatoes tick all the common dietary requirements too!

25. Olives

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Available in all kinds of fancy stuffed varieties, olives are an ideal snack for eating with toothpicks. As a bonus, they will bring a sophisticated air to your board games night! The main thing to watch out for is the amount of oil. Drain the olives before serving if they are particularly oily – you don’t want oil dripping on your games!

26. Sandwich

Usually suitable for: dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

Did you know that the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, invented the sandwich because he wanted something he could eat without leaving the gaming table? There is a lot to be said for the humble sandwich. It keeps the fillings inside and can have some sauce without dripping everywhere. It’s reasonably healthy and everyone can choose a filling that suits their diet. You can even get gluten-free bread if needed.

27. Pesto pasta

Usually suitable for: vegetarians

A great dish you can prepare in bulk and in advance. Boil up some pasta and mix it in with some pesto. When it’s snack time, serve it in cups rather than on plates. Traditional green pesto usually contains cheese so isn’t suitable for dairy-free or vegan players, but you can find free-from dairy basil pesto varieties.  

28. Mediterranean vegetable couscous

Usually suitable for: dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

An alternative to the pesto pasta, you could cook up a batch of couscous with some small chopped vegetables like onions and bell peppers mixed in. Add some turmeric, paprika and other spices to give it a Mediterranean flavour. Serve it in some cups – delicious!

29. Spicy rice

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegans, vegetarians

A great gluten-free option is a spicy rice. Boil the rice and mix in some chilli spice and some vegetables for a tasty snack.

30. Meat skewers

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

A snack for the carnivores in your group. You can either cook the meats yourself or buy pre-cooked sandwich meats and put them on skewers to make some meaty kebabs. You could get some meat substitute for the vegans and vegetarians in your group, or make vegetable skewers for them.

31. Granola bites

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free, vegetarians

A lot of varieties of granola are not greasy or sticky, making them a great snack for board game nights. Granola bites are pretty easy to make. You just mix together a bunch of seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oats, oil or butter and a sugar syrup like honey or maple. Spread the mixture out on an oven tray, bake it until it is a little brown. Done! For vegan-friendly granola bites, leave out the butter and use maple syrup instead of honey.

32. Hard candy

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

Skittles and jelly beans are good to nibble on and don’t make a sticky mess. I’m a big fan of seeing these sweets in bowls they look so colourful. Be careful if you’re getting hard candy for vegans. While most sweets are vegan-friendly now, some still contain E120 which is made from beetles and some of them may contain gelatin.

33. Individually wrapped sweets

Usually suitable for: gluten free, dairy free

Blackjacks, refreshers, mini kinder bites are all small and snack sized. Hard boiled sweets like sherbert lemons, humbugs or chocolate limes are good too. Their individually wrapped packets are good for keeping sticky fingers off them, but the packets aren’t so great for the environment.

Bonus tips for no mess snacks on board game night

There are some general tips that will help to minimize mess no matter what snacks you serve.

  • Keep napkins to hand
  • Use small plates and bowls for people to put their snacks down
  • Have some hand sanitizer nearby
  • Use baby wipes for sticky hands
  • Use chopsticks (if your gaming group have the skills!)
  • Use toothpicks wherever possible

Nom, nom, nom

So there you have it. No mess, no grease snack ideas for board game night which don’t cause damage to your games!

After thinking about all those snacks – I’m hungry! I’d best go find something to eat!

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Emily
Hi, I’m Emily, the tabletop gamer behind My Kind of Meeple. If this article helped you, I’d be honoured if you’d say, “Thanks!” with a £3 coffee on Ko-fi.

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