Whether you’re heading to a professional football game or your kid’s T-ball tournament, healthy options can be hard to find. Sometimes you have to give up the search and settle for the least of the worst when it comes to available food options. Keep in mind these tips to make the best out of a bad situation.
All-Star Beverage: WATER
It can be tempting to order soda or an ice cold beer, but making the wrong beverage decision could cost you several calories that you may want to use elsewhere. Water might be the only healthy item at some sports games – so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to hit your thirst out of the ballpark with a calorie-free option.
Strike Out All FRIED Foods
There is an endless amount of fried options at sports games – fried chicken tenders, French fries, funnel cakes, onion rings, chips and so on. Fried and fatty foods take a long time to digest and often leave you feeling drowsy and stomach-heavy after consumption. Keep your energy level and your sports enthusiasm high by cutting down on all things fried. If grilled or baked options are available, then choose those over the items covered in grease. A napkin test provides a good gauge on whether there’s a ton of oil in a food.
Defend Against Foods Covered in CHEESE
Add cheese to anything and instantly it becomes so enticing! Pizza, nachos, chili cheese dogs, or loaded cheese fries are the rage at sporting events, but these options are poor food choices for young athletes and hard-core fans. Cheese means heaps of fat, tons of salt and possibly even more guilt. Ask for cheese on the side or when able to defeat temptation, then skip it all together.
- Eat before you go – you won’t be tempted by the concession stands if your stomach is already full.
- Tailgate before the game – though tailgating often means less than healthy food, at least you have more control over what you eat and how you cook it.
- Bring healthy snacks – some stadiums don’t allow outside food but if one does, bring in a granola bar or a piece of fruit to keep your hunger tied down during the game.
- Don’t be a boring spectator … get excited! If you splurge on those chili cheese fries then take advantage of the opportunity to burn off those extra calories by celebrating every pass. Jump up from your seat at every shot, walk around at half-time and between innings. It’s OK to splurge every once in a while, but it is never ok to be a couch potato at a sporting event.
- Eat a hot dog or hamburger without the bun to shave off a few calories.
- Ditch the butter-drenched popcorn for a healthier bag of peanuts.
- Jumbo dill pickles are the low-calorie, slam-dunk snack providing only a measly 20 calories per pickle, but they foul in terms of sodium that could range well above 1,000 milligrams.
- Follow the two drink maximum regulation – beer and sports tend to go hand-in-hand, so keep your alcohol intake in check by limiting yourself to only two alcoholic drinks per game. Your head and your waistline will thank you the next morning.
- Be the voice of change at your local concession stands. Talk with your local league about providing healthier options for both parents and kids. You are likely not the only parent searching for healthy options at the game, so don’t be afraid to pitch for healthy changes.
Jordyn Forsyth is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She specializes in weight management, chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Jordyn strives to educate, empower and encourage others to make sustainable lifestyle changes. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from Baylor University and a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Texas Woman’s University.