From veggie hot dogs to sushi: How to eat healthy at the ballpark
Our great American ballparks have become some major diet traps.
Just think: One-third of Major League stadiums offer premium “all-you-can-eat” seats. At U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, where the White Sox play, you can order a “walking taco,” which is chili and cheese sauce poured into a large bag of Fritos, with a fork tucked in the bag. Oh, and last season at the Texas Rangers’ home field — the Ballpark at Arlington — you could order up a $26, 1-pound burger topped with 8-ounces of bacon called the Beltre Buster burger, named after the team’s third baseman. Pass the antacid.
With baseball season now in full swing, we’re here to help make sure you don’t strike out on your diets.
We’ve got 5 healthy snacking tips for you:
- Scout out your ballpark’s concessions ahead of time to help you make healthy decisions on game day. Most parks have a map of food vendors online. Use it to find frozen yogurt instead of ice cream or veggie burgers instead of bacon burgers.
- Cracker Jack is actually fair game. The molasses flavored candy-coated popcorn and peanut mix is a ballpark classic, hence its mention in the 1908 song Take Me Out to the Ball Game, played at nearly every game. A half cup of the snack has 120 calories and 2 grams of fat. A half cup of roasted peanuts, on the other hand, has 432 calories and 38 grams of fat!
- Pack your own fruit and low-calorie lemonade. Most ballparks will let you bring in your own fruit (as long as it’s smaller than a grapefruit in size) and plastic beverage containers. Some will let you bring in soft-sided coolers. Just check the ballpark’s website ahead of time. Pre-pack a fruit salad with pineapple, grapes, strawberries, kiwi and raspberries. The mix will help satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you away from king-sized pouches of candy. Also, stay hydrated with water and, if you crave something sweet, bring low-calorie lemonade. The fresh-squeezed lemonade that vendors are slinging can contain as much as 300 calories for just a medium-sized glass.
- Load up your hot dog with veggies. The nutritional profile of your hot dog can be upgraded when you pile on onions, relish, pickled carrots, sliced red peppers, chopped tomatoes and pickles. Go ahead and pack some of your own veggies and avoid the ballpark chili cheese toppings. If you get a combo, opt for a diet soda and also look for low-fat and low-calorie hot dogs.
- Find the hidden healthy menu. Each ballpark has a super-healthy specialty item — whether it be the build-your-own salad bar at Coors Field in Denver, the veggie cheese steak at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia or sushi at Comerica Park in Detroit. Click here to find out the healthiest options at your own ballpark.
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