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Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners)

Healthier options: (some are sold in the "health hut" in Safeco Field)

  • Veggie dogs
  • Gardenburgers
  • Vegan soups
  • Caesar salad (there are a couple of reduced-fat dressings to choose from at the "club" level of the stadium)
  • Blackened salmon Caesar salad
  • Hummus platter

Most popular food items:

  • The Major League Mariners' Hot Dog
  • Ivar's Fish & Chips
  • Pizza

Recent trends:

  • A big shift toward light domestic beers

Shea Stadium (home of the New York Mets)

Healthier options:

  • California roll (sushi made with cooked crab and avocado) and shrimp roll
  • Chicken parmesan pizza
  • New York-style cheese pizza

Most popular items:

  • Italian sausage with onion and green peppers, served in a bun
  • Chicken tenders and fries
  • Hot dogs

Ameriquest Field (home of the Texas Rangers)

Healthier options:

  • The "Kids Stand" area offers fresh fruit, fruit juice, and milk
  • The stadium smokehouse serves turkey legs
  • Chicken Caesar salad with a light dressing
  • Fresh soft pretzels
  • Cheese pizza

Most popular food items:

  • Jumbo hot dogs
  • Pretzels
  • Garlic fries
  • Smokehouse brisket

Recent trends:

  • Low-carb cola, beer, salads, and wrap sandwiches are more popular

I was thrilled to see that many ballparks are making an effort to offer more healthful concession options. The standards, like hot dogs and French fries, aren't going anywhere -- but isn't it nice that there is room on the menu for veggie kabobs, light Greek salads, Gardenburgers, and sushi?

The way I see it, there are four basic keys to more healthful ballpark dining:

1. Choose the lower-fat, lower-calorie concession selections.

Every time you buy something at a ballpark, you are placing a vote to the management, telling them what you like to see on the menu. Shea Stadium added a Gardenburger to its menu last year, but it was taken off for this season due to insufficient sales.

So if your stadium offers a healthful menu option, show them that you are all for it -- order that instead of the hot link sandwich.

2. BYOP (Bring Your Own Produce)

Fruits and vegetables are much better to mindlessly munch than peanuts, chips, Cracker Jacks, etc. With their high fiber and water content, they help fill you up so you will be less likely to overeat ballpark fare.

Let's compare a cup of the traditional munchies with a cup of assorted fruits and vegetables:

  • 1 cup peanuts: 854 calories, 72 g fat, 10 g fiber
  • 2 ounces potato chips: 305 calories, 19 g fat, 2 g fiber
  • 1 cup Cracker Jack: 169 calories, 3.3 g fat, 1.5 g fiber
  • 1 cup carrot sticks: 31 calories, 0.1 g fat, 2 g fiber
  • 1 cup celery sticks: 12 calories, 0 g fat, 1.2 g fiber
  • 1 cup jicama sticks: 45 calories, 0.1 g fat, 6 g fiber
  • 1 cup strawberries: 43 calories, 0.5 g fat, 2.2 g fiber
  • 1 cup grapes: 114 calories, 0.9 g fat, 1 g fiber
  • 1 cup cherries: 104 calories, 1.4 g fat, 2.5 g fiber
  • 1 cup cantaloupe cubes: 56 calories, 0.4 g fat, 1.3 g fiber

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