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Healthy eating and exercise for life

Dining On The Go
Take Me Out to the Ballgame is here with its second installment of the “Dining on the Go” series. This week we take a look at satisfying appetites at sporting events. Read on for information on how to cheer on the home team, while not striking out at the concession stand.

“Take me out to the ballgame.
Take me out to the crowd!
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks.
I don’t care if I never get back…”

And so go the lyrics to the famous song written almost 100 hundred years ago, and sung at almost every major league baseball game today. Sporting events - whether played inside or outside; fall, winter, summer or spring; on the court, on ice, on grass or on water - are wonderful events to attend. They can be a fun and exciting way to spend an afternoon or evening. But what happens when the game is only half over and the hunger pangs begin to strike? Even in cheerful little ditties meant to energize fans, snacks seem to bombard us at every turn. Will this lead to striking out in the calorie department or is it possible to “hit a home run” of balance?

The Scoreboard

When visiting your local park, stadium or dome, the concession stands seem endless. Everywhere you look vendors are selling cotton candy, peanuts, pretzels, hot dogs, ice cream, beer and an abundance of other treats. Wonderful aromas of comfort foods fill the air. But don’t be caught off guard! Check the stats* for these popular sporting event treats:

Soft Pretzel   190 calories   Cotton candy   215 calories
Cheese Nachos   350 calories   Ice cream    
Pizza slice        
½ cup (1 scoop)
250 calories
180 calories   Beer
230 calories    
145 calories
100 calories
1 cup, in shell
210 calories   Bottled water
0 calories
Hot dog
    Soft drink
regular size, plain
300 calories    
regular, 12 oz.
150 calories
foot long
475 calories    
0 calories

Create A Game Plan for your

When trying to eat healthier, it is always a good idea to plan ahead. If you have your meals and snacks mapped out ahead of time, it is easier to stick to your guns when faced with an abundance of game-day goodies. What treat do you really want at the game? A sweet dessert? A salty snack? A cold drink? What about a larger-sized item that could serve as a meal? Make your decision before you leave the house so you can prepare ahead of time.

Want a Dessert?
Try eating a light meal before you go and enjoy a dessert at the game. Put together a salad with chunky vegetables and a light dressing, or a sandwich with lean meat on whole wheat bread – both of which will satisfy you and ease hunger pangs. Then once you are at the game, pick one treat, such as a serving of cotton candy, or a scoop of ice cream, and enjoy it slowly during the event.

Would a Snack Suit Your Fancy?
If you’d rather have a salty snack than a dessert at the game, decide ahead of time which snack you’d prefer. A medium-sized soft pretzel is only 190 calories. Are peanuts more your style? Order a bag and share them with a friend. Peanuts have many nutritional benefits (and because of the “good fat” and protein content they will help keep you feeling full), but are calorie-dense. One large bag like the ones sold at many sporting events generally contains more than 500 calories, so eat a smaller portion and share the rest with a friend.

Want to Satisfy Your Thirst?
If a cold drink is your idea of game-time satisfaction, be sure to set aside calories for a special drink. Or grab a cold refreshing bottle of water or diet soft drink and save your calories for another treat.

What About a Meal?
Perhaps you’d rather use your calories towards a meal. Decide before you approach the concession counter which item you will choose, such as one regular-sized hotdog, or one slice of pizza, and stand by your decision.

Or, if you know you will be hungry during the game, and eating beforehand isn’t an option, bring some healthy snacks with you. Pack low-fat cheese cubes, cut up raw veggies or fruit, perhaps a small serving of trail mix. This will satisfy hunger, and keep you from the temptation of the concession area.

Go for the Gold

Be confident in your concession choices. You are a strong individual who can achieve your goal of weight loss or maintenance. Choose something that is satisfying, and avoid additional calories where possible. If a hotdog is what you crave, get a regular-sized instead of a foot long. If pizza sounds good, go for plain cheese rather than the pepperoni. Or if nachos are your thing, get the cheese on the side, and add salsa if you can. Eat more salsa on your chips and less cheese, since salsa has fewer calories and is rich in other nutrients.

Regardless of your treat choices, remember to keep your focus on the event you are attending, as well as the company you are with. Have fun with friends and family while cheering on your favorite team, or experiencing a new game or match. By hitting a home run in the concession stand department, you will be able to bring home a win no matter what the final score of the game is.