Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Batter Hitting BaseballAs my beloved Chicago Cubs celebrate their Opening Day, I thought I’d talk today about making healthier choices at the ballpark.  As a baseball fan and someone who used to work in professional baseball, I can tell you that part of the overall experience is the food and drink.  It probably isn’t realistic to expect anyone to just drink water and stay completely away from the concessions – not with all the delicious smells that permeate the air!

But ballpark food is not exactly at the top of the list of healthy foods.  So if you’re concerned about eating healthy, or worried about staying on your diet, here are some methods you can employ that won’t make you regret heading to the ballpark.


If you don’t mind drinking water, this would be the first choice.

Consider water too bland, at least for the ballpark?  Try unsweetened iced tea with a lemon wedge.

Are you craving a soda?  Rather than going for the diet option (which are filled with unhealthy artificial sweeteners), go for the “regular” option instead.  The trick is to fill the cup with as much ice as possible.  Your soda craving will be met, but you will be consuming a lot less than you would have otherwise.  Although personally, I’d like to see you forego the soda completely!

If you feel that a beer is in order, try to limit yourself to no more than two 12 oz. servings.  The best option is Guinness, which is naturally lower in calories.

Food Options:

If you must eat a hot dog, find out if turkey is an option.  I would stay away from ketchup, which is mostly sugar, as well as cheese or chili.  If you can’t go plain, stick with mustard and a little relish.

My son likes deep dish, personal pizzas.  These are a Chicago favorite, but they are filled with calories and fat.  If you must have pizza, try just having a slice without sausage or pepperoni.

Avoid cotton candy, Cracker Jack and other sugary snacks, nachos and pretzels with cheese.  If you must snack, ballpark peanuts are a good option.  But understand that a bag of ballpark peanuts is enough to feed four people.

Believe it or not, more and more ballparks are trying to cater to those who seek healthy options.  If your venue offers salads, go for it.  Just make sure you going easy on the dressing.

Baseball is the American pastime.  But it doesn’t have to be a reason to throw off your diet or risk your health.  Plan ahead and you’ll be ready to watch your favorite team play ball!!

10 responses to “Take Me Out To The Ballgame

  1. People think I’m weird. I always pull out the wiener and toss the bun, so I’m sitting there with a big old fat wiener in my hand.!

  2. Love it Penny! There are so many healthy options now at most ball parks. I know I’m so grateful I have choices! I used to hate iced tea growing up. Well, I actually hated it as an adult too. I have made the choice to drink it when I just need a break from water and now I love it!!

    • Yes, thankfully ballpark officials have jumped on the healthy bandwagon and are at least offering better options. When I was growing up, the only iced tea I was exposed to was “sweet tea” – yuck!! Now, I like unsweetened tea with lemon. My guys don’t like it so much but they’ll stick with their water. Thanks for the comment!

  3. This is great info for anyone looking to eat/drink healthier while out and about! Going to save this for later!

  4. Anita’s comment made me laugh so hard! These are all good tips, Penny, but I have to disagree about choosing a turkey dog over an all-beef frank. Most of the time, they aren’t actually lower in fat, (people just assume they are bc they are poultry) and turkey meat is one of the WORST meat choices when it comes to being full of antibiotics and growth hormones. When I go to the ballgame I have nachos with the cheese sauce on the side, extra jalapenos. The spiciness slows my eating down. I bring my own water but splurge on a beer. Nothing beats a cold beer at a ballgame on a hot day! :)

  5. I know Lana – that was really funny. You do make a good point about the hot dog. Honestly, hot dogs of any kind are taboo in our house. But as soon as my guys smell them at the ballpark, they want one. We were just at a game on Friday and all beef franks were the only kind served. Thanks for pointing that out. And a cold beer splurge – nothing wrong with that!!

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