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As my beloved Chicago Cubs celebrate their Opening Day, I thought I’d talk today about making healthier choices at the ballpark.  As a baseball fan and someone who used to work in professional baseball, I can tell you that part of the overall experience is the food and drink.  It just isn’t realistic to expect anyone to just drink water and stay completely away from the concessions – not with all the delicious smells that permeate the air!

But ballpark food is not exactly at the top of the list of healthy foods.  So if you’re concerned about eating healthy, or worried about staying on your diet, here are some methods you can employ that won’t make you regret heading to the ballpark.

Beverages:

If you don’t mind drinking water, this would be the first choice.

Consider water too bland, at least for the ballpark?  Try unsweetened iced tea with a lemon wedge.

Are you craving a soda?  Rather than going for the diet option (which are filled with unhealthy artificial sweeteners), go for the “regular” option instead.  The trick is to fill the cup with as much ice as possible.  Your soda craving will be met, but you will be consuming a lot less than you would have otherwise.

If you feel that a beer is in order, try to limit yourself to no more than two 12 oz. servings.  The best option is Guinness, which is naturally lower in calories.

Food Options:

If you must eat a hot dog, find out if turkey is an option.  I would stay away from ketchup, which is mostly sugar, as well as cheese or chili.  If you can’t go plain, stick with mustard and a little relish.

My son likes deep dish, personal pizzas.  These are a Chicago favorite, but they are filled with calories and fat.  If you must have pizza, try just having a slice without sausage or pepperoni.

Avoid cotton candy, Cracker Jack and other sugary snacks, nachos and pretzels with cheese.  If you must snack, ballpark peanuts are a good option.  But understand that a bag of ballpark peanuts is enough to feed four people.

Believe it or not, more and more ballparks are trying to cater to those who seek healthy options.  If your venue offers salads, go for it.  Just make sure you going easy on the dressing.

Baseball is the American pastime.  But it doesn’t have to be a reason to throw off your diet or risk your health.  Plan ahead and you’ll be ready to watch your favorite team play ball!!

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