Are you planning to enjoy America’s greatest pastime this summer? Whether you’re heading to a local minor league game or a big city to see your favorite major league team play, baseball games are a great way to get outside with your friends and family. But beware—stadium fare isn’t always the healthiest. If you’re watching your waistline, check out these tips for healthier eating at the ballpark!
Try these healthier choices:
- Grilled chicken or carved turkey sandwiches or wraps: These entrees feature lean protein and likely include veggies, too.
- Black bean burgers: These lower-fat burgers pack plenty of fiber and protein!
- Veggie sandwiches, kebabs, or wraps: These vegetarian choices are so delicious you won’t even miss the meat!
- Sushi (cucumber rolls, salmon rolls): Sushi is low-fat and often contains lean proteins and veggies.
- Fish sandwiches or tacos: These choices often feature heart-healthy fish like Omega 3-rich salmon and tend to be lower in fat.
- Salads: Many stadiums sell prepackaged salads, and some even have make-your-own-salad bars! Make sure to choose your toppings wisely. If you’re given a packet of dressing, use it sparingly; dressings often contain extra fat and calories. Avoid, or use in moderation, fattening toppings like cheese and croutons. Instead, opt for interesting additions like corn, beans, or berries.
- Fresh fruit or fruit cup: Not only is this a healthy choice, it’s also a refreshing treat on a hot summer day.
- Baked potato: Some stadiums have implemented baked potato bars where you can add your own toppings. The potato itself is a great choice—it’s packed with nutrients like potassium. Just be careful with your toppings. Opt for lower-fat toppings like light sour cream and chives, or try topping it with salsa.
- Peanuts or pistachios: You may not have to go far to get this snack—often, vendors walk around selling them during the game. Just make sure to eat proper portions, share the bag with others, and enjoy them in moderation. Nuts are a good source of healthy fat, but you don’t want to overdo it—too much of even a healthy fat is still too much!
For specific healthy meals and snacks offered at major league ballparks, click here to check out Health.com’s recommendations!
Foods to avoid, or to enjoy in moderation:
- Loaded hot dogs (especially the ones that are oversized)—a hot dog on its own isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but it becomes unhealthy when it’s packed with fattening toppings like cheese and bacon. If you want a healthier hot dog, order a standard-sized one and top it with mustard.
- Fried foods, like French fries and onion rings—they are high in fat and calories.
- Overly sugary snacks, like cotton candy—these offer little nutritional value and often won’t curb your hunger.
- Ice cream sundaes. If you just can’t resist, try a half portion—split a helmet sundae with a friend.
Bring your own!
Many, although not all, stadiums allow you to bring your own food and beverages to the game. Before you attend a baseball game, visit the home team’s website and read the specific rules that pertain to that particular stadium. Bringing your own food can not only help you eat healthier—it may also help you save some money!
If you are allowed to bring food and drinks into the game, consider these healthier options:
- Homemade sandwiches on whole grain bread, stuffed with plenty of veggies as well as lean meats like turkey or chicken*
- Fresh, whole fruit or fruit cups
- Nuts, like almonds or pistachios (be sure to eat proper serving sizes!)
- Sliced raw veggies with single-serve packs of hummus*
- Single-serve yogurts*
- Low-fat or light string cheese*
- Beverages: Bottled water, juice boxes, iced tea (unsweetened is best)
As a general rule, any beverages you bring should be nonalcoholic, in plastic bottles, and unopened prior to entering the stadium.
To reduce your risk of foodborne illness, the foods marked with an asterisk must be kept cold. Pack them in a canvas cooler or insulated lunch bag with ice packs. Consider freezing bottled water or juice boxes to act as additional cold packs (plus, this will help your drinks stay nice and chilled—perfect for hot summer days!).
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching program, call your coach for more tips to help you stay healthy this summer!