Knock Nutrition Out of the Ballpark

The first pitch of baseball’s opening day brings to mind the smell of fresh-cut grass, the crack of the bat and all the foods you can find at the ballpark.

Peanuts and crackerjack are immortalized in the song, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” but whether you’re heading to a major league park or the concession stand at the softball field, you’re likely to find more culinary choices. While there are a lot of creative options, some are healthier than others and, as usual, moderation and portion control are important. If you want to research the nutritional aspects of various foods before you head to the ballpark, check out these resources:

To enjoy a day at the ballpark and not strike out on your diet, Best Food Facts registered dietitian Sarah Downs provides these helpful tips:

  • Bring your own snacks to the game. Check the ballpark’s policy on what they will allow you to bring into the stadium. You may find you’re able to bring some of your own snacks, which will be more affordable and will likely have a lot fewer calories. Peanuts are a great baseball game snack filled with protein, fiber and healthy fats to help keep you full in between innings. Be mindful of the portion sizes on the bags sold at stadiums, and share the bag to keep calories in check. You can also create your own snack mix at home to bring to the game. Include different types of nuts, dried fruits and even a little dark chocolate if you want!
  • Moderate your beverages and be sure to hydrate. There’s nothing wrong with a beer or soda or two, but don’t forget to hydrate in between. Because baseball games (and especially youth baseball and softball tournaments) can be long, it’s important to stay hydrated throughout. Check to see if your stadium allows you to bring in a bottle of water, or bring in your own empty water bottle and fill it up at the game.
  • Stick to one round. Don’t limit yourself if you want to have a hot dog and a beer — just try to stick to one round. Still hungry? Munch on pre-portioned snacks brought from home. Fruits and veggies, mixed nuts and air-popped popcorn are all good choices to tide you over.
  • Don’t come to the ballpark hungry. Fill up on a healthy meal prior to arriving at the stadium so you are less likely to indulge.
  • Split your ballpark treats with a friend. Sharing is caring, especially when it comes to ice cream and nachos! Instead of completely limiting yourself, try sharing your ballpark favorites to cut down on excess calories, sugar, salt and fat.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to score a nutrition home run!

The image “Baseball Food” by M&R Glasgow is licensed under CC BY 2.0.