What to Eat? Thousands of books have been written on this topic.
What to eat at the ballpark? Well, that remains a mystery if you want to eat healthy.
As a nation we are celebrating the opening of another season of America’s pastime. If you are planning on going to a ballpark to view a game, you are likely to participate in the festive atmosphere and join the thousands of fans who consume food and beverages. If you are hoping to eat a healthy meal at the game, be prepared for the daunting task of hunting for a decent meal.
If you choose “standard” ballpark food, expect to consume predominantly unhealthy fats, sugary, and refined carbs that silently promote inflammation and, for many, digestive distress.
For those of you who count calories, check out the “calorie count” of a typical stadium meal. Here are a few examples:
- Pizza: 700 calories
- Nachos and cheese: 1,000 calories
- Cheeseburger: 450-550 calories
- Hot dog: 450 calories
What about beverages? If you go with a beer (120 -180 calories), try having just one! Perhaps you want a sugary soda. Well, they range from 150-300 calories a “cup”. So be careful.
Snack? Give me some “peanuts and Cracker Jacks”. Peanuts a baseball tradition are 200 calories an ounce while cracker jacks are 140 calories for a small box.
Of course, the vendors also sell giant pretzels (500 calories) which are loaded with salt (2,000-2,500 milligrams)! Enough to send your blood pressure to the roof!
What other snacks are commonly available? Helmet ice cream. I remember my first Carvel Stadium ice cream treat on a July day. It went down well–all 550 calories.
It’s easy to leave the ballpark and gain a pound of fat from binging on gut-busting, high-calories food. Remember, it only takes a day to turn your gut microbiome upside down!
Finally, there is the GMO popcorn tradition, again loaded with salt and fat with a whopping 550 calories and 47 grams of coronary clogging saturated fat, just for a small box!
Many ask me what is oakyto eat at ballparks such as Camden Yards in Baltimore or other local stadiums. I first share with them my own challenging experiences visiting local stadiums and arenas. For many years I found myself bringing my own food and snacks.
Nowadays healthier foods are more readily available due to consumer demand and more awareness about the connection of food to health and disease. Even gluten-free options are now in vogue at some ballparks.
Personally, I’d rather eat smart at the ballpark than add more travel baggage, waiting on long security lines etc. Fortunately times are changing and ballparks have more healthy food options than ever, but oftentimes you have to look for either a food court or a stadium club in order to find them.
When I visited Wrigley field a few years ago they had a wonderful grilled Angus buffalo burger (grass fed, lean) and fresh pickles (not doused in high fructose corn syrup). Not bad for fast food.
Camden Yards has a cafeteria style place to eat located in right field that provides fresh roasted turkey and chicken, fresh veggies, salad bar, and even seafood. However, it tends to be quite empty while the lines for Boog Powell’s barbeque pit are constantly long.
There is a nice resource for consumers (and foodies) to refer to prior to traveling to the ballpark which has a nominal fee ($8.99) for print and download.
My best suggestion to you is to eat prior to coming to the ballpark. Don’t come hungry! This is your best option. Whether you eat at home or dine out your choices, costs, and quality of food is likely to improve.
Your body and your wallet will thank you.
To your good health.
Dr. Gerry Mullin
The Food MD