Healthy swaps for your family’s favorite ballpark snacks

March 22, 2019 Providence Health Team

Baseball fans everywhere are counting down the minutes until March 28th, when the season kicks off with the 2019 MLB Opening Day. This day marks the true start of spring for people all over the country, calling them outside to enjoy the sport and the sunshine with their friends, family, and fellow fans.

Part of the allure of a day at the ballpark is the promise of classic snacks like hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, soda and beer, but for those looking to watch what they eat, there may not appear to be many health-conscious options. 

While it’s generally accepted that we all treat ourselves to our favorite seasonal guilty pleasures every once in a while, it may be time to start bringing some healthier alternatives from home if you find yourself — and your kids — indulging more often than you'd like.

If you're a popcorn fiend, for example, try picking up a low-calorie bag of air-popped popcorn instead of the buttery ballpark variety that's high in both carbohydrates and fat. Air-popped popcorn can be found at just about any grocery store in a variety of flavors, like white cheddar or salt and pepper, or you could simply buy the kernels and make your own version at home!

If you've got your eye on a ballpark hot dog, we recommend bringing a hearty homemade sandwich instead. But if you don't have time to bring food from home, or just can't resist the treat, simply be smart about your toppings. Say no to the chili and cheese that add unnecessary fat and calories, and instead smother on the mustard and relish to your heart's content!

And finally, if you just can't keep from munching while you're watching the game, try to bring plenty of healthy snacks from home to keep your mind off of the man touting cotton candy in the stands. Bring your favorite trail mix, fresh or dried fruits, or even whole wheat, high-fiber crackers so you always have something on hand — but remember, even healthy foods should be eaten in moderation!

Now that you have a better grasp on how to snack healthier while enjoying America's favorite pastime, it's time to tackle the drinks.

Our first tip is simply to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated while you spend nine innings sitting out in the sun. But beyond that, staying hydrated can keep you feeling fuller, and less likely to order that extra snack or be enticed by what's on draft near your section.

 If your vice is more of the sweet variety, then perhaps you're instead craving a milkshake. One way to curb that craving for something sweet, ice cold, and delicious is to instead order a fresh fruit smoothie!

 If your ballpark allows you to bring drinks from home, you could also whip up your own at home, allowing you to not only save some money but also customize it exactly to your preferences. If that doesn't do it for you, try blending up a healthy shake using almond or coconut milk and a scoop of your favorite protein powder — with so many flavors to choose from, like chocolate, strawberry, or even peanut butter, you're sure to find one that leaves you wanting more.

As you come out of your winter hibernation to welcome the warmer weather of spring and the sports and family outings that come with it, consider scheduling a check-up to discuss your health goals.

Whether you're looking for preventative solutions, health exams, nutrition guidance, or anything in between, Providence St. Joseph Health is your trusted partner in health and wellness. Get started by signing up for My Chart, our online patient portal, or downloading our Health Connect app today. Looking for a family doctor? Find a Providence St. Joseph Health provider near you:

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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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