Some sushi during the seventh-inning stretch? You could get that at Yankee Stadium. Refreshing fruit kabobs on a warm day? It's an option at Target Field in Minneapolis.
But for some traditionalists, nothing says baseball like a frank and some snacks. In fact, more than 20 million hot dogs were consumed by baseball fans last season, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. That's enough to feed all 56,000 spectators at L.A.'s Dodger Stadium, the major leagues' largest ballpark, for 361 straight home games.
Of course fruits, fish and veggie wraps are the most waist-friendly ballpark menu items, but you can still enjoy more standard stadium fare without derailing your diet. The trick is to watch your portions and choose wisely. Here's some help:
Hot dog vs. nachos
Better choice: Hot dog
You figure some chips and cheese can't be that bad, but munching on nachos can cost you from almost 700 calories to well over 1,000, if you eat a concession-size container on your own. And that nacho cheese is made largely from oils, dyes and other chemicals; according to the FDA, anything labeled "pasteurized process cheese food" is required to contain only 51% cheese.
A hot dog isn't a health food by any stretch, but a regular-size frank on a bun is roughly 300 calories. Just pass on the footlongs and be selective on toppings. Mustard is pretty much calorie-free. A little sauerkraut or relish isn't bad either. But skip the cheesy sauces.
Pretzel vs. Cracker Jacks
Better choice: Cracker Jacks
There aren't many nutrients in one of those large, salt-covered soft pretzels, and each one has about 480 calories, more than 780 mg of sodium and nearly 100 g of carbohydrates. Dip it in cheese, and it's even worse for you.
Cracker Jacks, on the other hand, have only about 120 calories per half-cup; though the popcorn is coated in sugary caramel, the nuts that are mixed in offer some protein and healthy fats. Plain peanuts — another baseball staple — are also a filling and vitamin-packed snack, but calories add up quickly: A half-cup of dry-roasted nuts has more than 660 calories.
Soda vs. beer
Better choice: Beer
It must be in moderation — one or two 12-ounce pours, max. The calories in regular soda and beer are about the same, but 12 ounces of cola contains almost 40g of carbohydrates (and about 10 teaspoons of sugar); the same amount of beer has just over 12 g, To save some calories, choose light beer for about 100 calories per can.
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