Make Healthier Choices at the Ballpark

Nothing says summer like watching a baseball game in person, but the snacks you enjoy at the ballpark don't have to be unhealthy.

When I was a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) in the 1990s, we did a media campaign on making better food choices at baseball games. I was amazed by the variety of foods offered at ballparks around the country: in Baltimore you could find crab cakes; in Houston, barbecue was on the menu; and in Miami, Cuban rice and beans.

But let’s get real. No one goes to the game for healthier food … but you could! To stay on track with your health goals the usual rules apply, whether you're tailgating before the game or eating between innings:

  • Go lean with chicken or fish.
  • Check out all your options before ordering.
  • Consider splitting a high-calorie sandwich or snack.
  • Mixed drinks and beer drive up your calorie count quickly. Grab a bottled water instead.
  • Eat a light lunch at home before an afternoon game.
  • Take advantage of the seventh-inning stretch! Stand up and take a walk. Working some deliberate movement into your day is one way to compensate for the additional calories you just ate or drank.

With four months left in the regular season, this will be a long ride to the playoffs. So the next time you're at the stadium, root for the home team — and keep your eye on your health.

Nadine Pazder on Twitter
Nadine Pazder
Nadine Pazder, LDN, RD, lives in Florida and has been in her current position as outpatient dietitian in Clearwater for the past 20 years. She also facilitates diabetes prevention groups for the YMCA in Pinellas County. Connect with her on her blog, How About Them Apples, or on Twitter.