Don't Strike Out When Eating at the Ballpark

Happy Opening Day of Baseball!  This is the day baseball fans wait for all winter long.  It brings us hope that warm summer days are just around the corner.  While the temperature in Pittsburgh today doesn’t even hint at summer (or spring for that matter), I am super excited to be attending my 16th straight Opening Day.  It’s always a fun day for my family and we’ve got a big group going to the game again this year.  Should be a blast.

Going to the ballpark brings so many smells, sights and sounds to enjoy – The crack of the bat, the sound of the vendors shouting “cold beer, peanuts here”, the cheers and chants we all know so well, the crowd singing and swaying to “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, and yes . . . the food.

I love my baseball and my Pittsburgh Pirates, but I think the food vendors must hate us.  Why else would they be trying to kill off their fans with disgusting caloric disasters such as the Cracker Jack & Mac Dog which is being sold at the Riverwalk Grill in PNC Park?  It's a foot-long hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese, salted caramel sauce and fried jalapenos on naan bread served with a side of Cracker Jack.  Now I don’t even know what “naan” bread is, but I’m guessing it isn’t healthy.  Yuk!  If that doesn’t put you over the edge, they’ve also got fried Oreos and fried chicken and waffles among other artery clogging options.  And don’t even get me started on the “all you can eat” seats.

When did baseball become less about the game and more about food? 

The good news is that many major league parks are adding at least of couple of healthy options to their offerings, but you have to find them.  Most MLB websites have a section about the ballpark that lists amenities including food locations and menus.  If you think you might be eating at the game, do your homework before you go.  You will most likely be able to find a salad, a grilled chicken sandwich or veggie burger if you know where to look. 

If you must get a hotdog, skip the chili and cheese and opt for the kraut and veggies instead.  At least you’ll be getting some protein and probiotics.  Also, go ahead and indulge in a handful of peanuts in the shell.  Peanuts are low in carbs, high in protein and full of healthy monounsaturated fat.  Oh, and cracking open those shells is considered exercise, right?  Probably not, but it might at least slow you down a bit and keep you from eating too many.

My advice?  Eat before you get to the ballpark.  However, if you must indulge, be smart about it and you’ll hit a home run without committing any errors!

Play Ball!