The 10 Best Snacks for Clean Fingers During Board Games and Cards

Tired of your cards and components getting dirtied up after every game night? Try serving these cleaner-to-eat foods instead.

We often recommend media and products we like. If you buy anything through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

The other day, my friends and I busted out an old card-based game that we hadn’t played in quite a while (it was Codenames, if you’re curious) and recoiled when we were hit by the heavy stench of moldy cheese and funk.

As it turns out, when food particles get smudged onto cards and stuffed into a box and stowed away for months or years, an odor develops.

Has this happened to you? You can avoid it by cleaning your cards (too much maintenance for me) or keeping your cards clean (much easier). Same holds true for board games with solid pieces.

How does one keep their board games and card games clean while snacking? It basically boils down to one of three options:

  1. Don’t eat while you play
  2. Eat foods with a utensil
  3. Eat dry foods that leave no residue

#1 isn’t really an option, and #2 can be annoying at times, so let’s focus on #3! Here are the cleanest foods to eat when playing card games and board games, based on our experiences.

1. Cut Up Fruits

This one’s my absolute favorite. There’s a little prep work up front, what with all the cutting of fruit, but the reward is worth it.

All you need is a fork to enjoy the deliciousness of strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, apples, peaches, pineapples, mangoes—it’s all fair game!

2. Veggies and Dip

If you don’t want to get utensils involved, grab a bag of baby carrots or celery sticks. Or cut up some slices of apples or pears—any fruit that’s relatively dry works.

Serve them with something tasty to dip into, like Greek yogurt or hummus. It’s insanely good, much healthier than bags of Doritos, and way cleaner on the fingers.

3. Corn Dogs

Looking for a no-effort food that’s more filling than simple side snacks? Corn dogs are super underrated. They come frozen, they can be microwaved, and they’re yummy, especially when served with a side of BBQ dip.

Do you really need to look any further than a food that has its own wooden handle? I mean, come on!

4. Pretzels

Pretzels are the next best thing when you want something like chips but none of the grease.

I prefer the thicker Utz Country Store Pretzel Stix, but pretzel twists, pretzel bites, soft pretzels—it’s all good as long as you avoid the chocolate-covered or flavored varieties.

5. Popcorn

Popcorn is the next best thing if you don’t like pretzels. Avoid any popcorn flavors that are buttery or powdery (like white cheddar).

My personal favorite is Angie’s Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn, but be aware that some brands of kettle corn may be oily and will get on your fingers. Caramel popcorn can also be a good option.

6. Nuts and Nut Mixes

Roasted almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, peanuts. Throw them all into a bowl and have at it. Salted nuts taste better than unsalted, but the salt does get on your fingers and will transfer to your cards, so you may want to stick with unsalted.

For those who want to take it up a level, try eating Wasabi Peas. They’re crunchy, snackable, and sharp. They’ll kick you awake when you’re dozing off because your buddy has been wrestling with analysis paralysis for the last 15 minutes on their turn…

7. Gummy Bears

Albanese Gummi Bears are the best gummy bears ever made, and they’re great if you’re into sweet chewables. Stay away from the sour types that are covered in dust and powder; prefer normal gummy bears because they’re much cleaner.

We don’t recommend sugar-free gummies because they can cause gastrointestinal issues like cramping and diarrhea.

8. Cheese and Crackers

Ritz Original Crackers make an awesome base for any kind of finger food creation because they aren’t as crumby as most kinds of crackers, and you can’t go wrong with tried-and-true crackers with cheese.

But instead of going with cheese cubes—which are totally fine if you like them—I recommend opting for a flavored cheese spread!

9. Individually Wrapped Snacks

Maybe it’s the Korean in me, but I think snacks like Choco Pie are perfect for game nights.

If you don’t have an Asian mart near you, you can always turn to Twinkies, Rice Krispies Treats, or even Granola Bars. Just use the wrapper to shield your fingers from food residue and you’ll be good to go.

10. Simple Sandwiches

When all else fails, you can whip up a few three-ingredient sandwiches—bread, cheese, and cold cuts—and cut them into bite-sized triangles. Anything else gets too messy: tomatoes, lettuce, and sauces are all no-go.

This is the ultimate finger food, but you’ll have to find a bread that isn’t too crumby—and nothing greasy, like oil or butter!

The 7 Deadly Sins of Game Night

Are you sick of people ruining game night with bad manners?

Maybe you’re reluctant to say anything because you don’t want to cause trouble. Or maybe you’ve already told them off multiple times and you’re starting to feel like a broken record.

We’ve created a nifty PDF that you can print out and stick on the wall. It highlights the 7 Deadly Sins of Game Night, which you can use as a reference for all players during game night.

Download the cheat sheet below and you’ll never have to directly confront anyone about their behavior. If anyone fights back, just tell them that whatNerd says they’re wrong!

Similar & Trending

The 10 Types of Board Gamers: Which One Are You?

10 Tasty Japanese Snacks You Have to Try If You Haven’t Already

10 Useful Board Gaming Accessories: Must-Have Game Night Essentials

How to Be a Good D&D Player: 5 Tips That’ll Make DMs Love You

The 10 Deadly Sins of Board Gaming

Are Dice Trays Worth It? The 5 Best Dice Rolling Trays

The 4 Best D&D House Rules and Ideas to Try at Your Table

How to Play an Evil Character in D&D (Without Losing Your Friends)

The Most Popular Types of Board Games: Board Game Genres, Explained