How to Eat Healthy at the Concession Stand | STACK

Bring a Dietitian to The Ball Game: Kait's Concession Stand Pick & Pass

January 23, 2013 | Kait Fortunato

Must See Nutrition Videos

Eating at the concession stand stirs up thoughts of hot dogs and cheese-laden nachos, not necessarily the healthiest choices. An important part of eating healthy is learning how to navigate tricky eating situations, of which concession stands are prime examples. Let's face it: as an athlete; you'll probably have to grab something at the stadium or ballpark at some point, whether for your own game, a friend's or a tournament. (See 3 Simple Guidelines for Healthy Trade-Offs.)

Here are some of my go-to choices—and what I avoid at all cost—when grabbing something at the ball game or my local movie theater. In a style similar to STACK's Pick & Pass feature, here are some of my favorite things to order.

PICK: Grilled Chicken Sandwich or Plain Hamburger

These have adequate protein and do not add to your calorie count with something fried or battered. Plus you are allowed to "dress" your own, so you can go light on the mayo and other high-calorie condiments.

PASS: Chicken Fingers and French Fries

These are breaded and fried, contributing to excess carbohydrates and saturated fat.

PICK: Peanuts in the Shell

Although these are high in sodium, they deliver good amounts of protein and healthy fats that will keep you more full than chips or a candy bar. Also, when you have to shell the peanuts yourself, it helps you slow down your eating.

WAVER: Popcorn

This can be a whole grain healthy snack with loads of fiber or a giant tub of oiled and buttered corn totaling over 1,000 calories. But it is tempting. Sometimes you can't resist that aroma and satisfying crunch. IF YOU PICK THIS, choose a small size and avoid excess salt and butter.

PICK: Soft Pretzel

The soft pretzel is lower in calories than the following option and lower in fat. The unsalted version is more heart healthy, dropping the sodium from 2,220 mg to 300 mg. To add flavor, dip the pretzel in mustard, which is naturally low in calories. Even better: split it with a friend!

FROM AROUND THE WEB

PASS: Nachos with Cheese Sauce

This snack is packed with saturated fats and sodium.

PICK: A Scoop of Ice Cream

Satisfy your sweet craving with a small serving of chocolate ice cream. Ask for a child size and avoid toppings. Be cautious about those virtuous sounding fruit bars and Italian ices, which usually have more sugar.

PASS: Sour Patch Kids and Other Fruit Snacks


Sometimes these are viewed as good snacks, especially if they are "made with fruit." But they are often full of sugar.

PICK: Water

Especially on hot days, drink water before purchasing a snack in case you are thirsty and not hungry.

PASS: Soda and Sports Drinks

These provide empty calories leaving you still hungry.

Grabbing a bite to eat after the game? Check out our healthy choices at Wendy's and Burger King.

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Five Ways to Fuel Morning Workouts Early morning workouts are great because you get them done. On the downside, they are difficult to fuel because you'd...

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Foods for Athletes: Top Trends for 2014

The Case for Red Meat

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

The Boston Cannons'

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals