Food and electronics are generally not a great combination, but let’s be realistic, sometimes you don’t want to stop playing for something as silly as your basic human nutritional needs. That’s where snacking comes in.
Here were my ground rules in making this list:
Obviously we want snacks that you can eat quickly, taking bites during load screens for example. Being able to eat with one hand is also a big plus.
We also want to avoid food residue, crumbs, and grease (sorry Pizza Rolls) at any cost. Controllers go for $60 these days, and my keyboard was almost twice that, so there’s no way I’m going to risk Cheeto-ing up those devices for a quick snack.
Basically, anything that crunches, crumbles, or leaves a dubious stain on your fingertips after you’re done is out; as is anything powdered or “flavor blasted.”
On a similar note, any foods that are juicy, slimy, covered in sauce, or could otherwise lead to accidental marriages of liquids and electronics were generally avoided (although we did make a few exceptions). This means that I didn’t include most dips, although they could still potentially work if you’re a very neat eater (I am not though).
Finally, I also left out anything that would require utensils to eat. If you need a fork and a knife, it’s probably not food you want to enjoy while also balancing a controller.
Grapes are fantastic because they’re already in small, manageable portions; and since they’re bite-sized, it doesn’t matter that they’re a pretty juicy food. Just make sure you’re buying the seedless variety.
The downside to grapes is that you generally need to wash them first, and water is not a great friend for your controller. To avoid getting your hands wet while you’re gaming, pat the grapes down with a paper towel before digging in.
Cut them into manageable chunks beforehand. Apples aren’t the juiciest of fruits, but even a little splatter can lead to a sticky controller, so you want bite-sized pieces as opposed to an entire apple.
If you want to make things even cleaner, you can also use a fork or a toothpick to pick the pieces up.
The holy grail of fruit snacking, bananas are basically perfect. They aren’t juicy, they’re soft enough that you don’t need to cut them up beforehand, they’re very filling, and they come in a convenient wrapper that you can pick up and put down without worrying about a mess. 10/10.
- Gummy Bears
Just in case you thought this entire list would be rabbit food, it’s candy to the rescue. Gummy bears are my personal favorite in this category, as they’re delicious, bite-sized, and shaped like tiny versions of nature’s finest killing machines.
Just be careful not to get ones with any messy flavor coating, like sour or li hing powder.
Skittles and other small, non-individually wrapped candies are good alternatives as well (I just have a special spot in my heart/stomach for gummy bears). Avoid chocolate if you can though, as it tends to melt.
- Soup (in a mug)
Skipping dinner for a gaming marathon doesn’t mean you need to be skipping a good meal. Heat some canned soup in a large mug (make sure it’s microwave safe) for a ridiculously convenient meal substitute. Just don’t spill, obviously.
- Peanut Butter (as a dip)
Unlike most other dips, peanut butter works great because it’s generally pretty hard to spill. Things like ranch and salsa tend to get all over the place if you’re not paying attention, while peanut butter sticks to foods a little more effectively.
As for what to dip, try vegetables like carrots and celery, you’d be surprised how well they go together. And for a classic combo, apples and peanut butter are a match made in snack heaven. Avoid crackers though, as they tend to crumble and make a mess.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous (or you’re just allergic to peanuts), you can swap this one out for other dips like Nutella, almond butter, and chocolate spread.
- String Cheese
I know it’s blasphemy in some circles to take a bite out of string cheese without… whatever that thing you do to string cheese is called (stringing it?), but if you can over that, it’s a pretty awesome gaming snack. It’s basically what bananas are to fruits, only with delicious, delicious cheese instead.
The wrapper means you’ll never have to touch it with your hands and even the sloppiest of eaters are going to struggle with making a mess with string cheese (that’s probably why they give it to children).
- Trail Mix
Trail mix is often great because it’s designed for snacking while being active. Sitting on your bum queuing your 10th game of Dota in a row isn’t especially “active,” but a lot of the same snacking principles apply. Namely, we’re looking for snacks that require utensils, aren’t messy, and won’t get gross if you accidentally let them sit for a half hour or so.
Trail mix is all of that in a convenient and tasty blend, and for some extra bonus points, some bags are even designed so you can pour it straight into your mouth, making them that much less messy.
- Mixed Nuts
If you’re looking for a slightly healthier alternative to trail mix, just grab a plain bag of mixed nuts instead.
Don’t get anything that you need to crack or shell yourself though (like pistachios or peanuts), and avoid any mixes that have been salted. Grains of salt are not a lot of fun to clean out of keyboard crevices.
10. Beef Jerky
I recommend getting the chunks instead of the traditional strips. Tearing at those strips of jerky tends to get little pieces of meat flying everywhere, and that’s way more clean-up than you want to deal with.
11. Smoothies/Milk Shakes
If you have a blender, grab a bunch of different fruits and/or vegetables from the grocery store and blend up a healthy snack. Or if you’re in more of a desert mood, swap those out for a nice milkshake with your choice of ice cream.
Combine with a straw (one of these preferably) to make things even more convenient.
12. King’s Hawaiian Rolls (or bread in general if you’re boring)
Bread is a great snack for gaming. It’s not messy (as long as you don’t buy a hard, crumbly bread like sourdough), it’s filling, and the carbs are way better for energy than sugar or caffeine.
Unfortunately, plain bread can be, well, pretty plain; and even toppings as simple as peanut butter and jelly are way too messy for what we’re looking for.
That’s where these delicious little treats come in. If you’ve never tried King’s Hawaiian bread, your mouth doesn’t know what it’s missing out on. They’re basically dinner rolls, but extra soft, sweet, and best of all, very clean to eat. You can buy them at pretty much any grocery store, and while most breads in general will make a good snack, these take my personal top prize.
Honorable Mention (To Never Try): Doritos
Despite being one third of the holy trinity of Doritos, Mountain Dew, and Call of Duty; these chips are probably among the absolute worst things to eat while gaming. They’re coated with a sticky residue that stains controllers, they’re nearly impossible to eat without ending up with a lap full of crumbs, and they’re loaded with sugar, which isn’t conducive to keeping your mind sharp over a marathon gaming session. Basically, they’re everything we’re not looking for in a snack.
Sorry Geoff Keighley.
Have any other ideas for gaming snacks that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!