Sussing Out Stadium Food


How do you eat at the ballpark and maintain good blood sugar control?

Stadium FoodLet's face it: Stadium food is not exactly healthy fare. Hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, nachos, pretzels, beer …. It's pretty much the land of high-carb health nightmares for anyone, not just people with diabetes.

Even the condiments can present problems — ketchup and relish both contain high fructose corn syrup and add not only carbs but extra sodium. Sometimes it's obvious (say, cheese fries?), sometimes not. Take Cracker Jacks, for example. You think it's just popcorn and peanuts with a little sugar coating, right? But one box has 80 grams of carbs.

So what should you do? Here are five great stadium food concession tips:

1. Do your homework. Before you leave for the sporting event, find out what the concession carries. Most stadiums have detailed websites with concession stand menus and locations.

2. Eat before you go. Fill up on healthy food so you're not ravenous when you get there and don't end up caving in to your cravings.

3. Pack your own snacks. Bring a small, insulated backpack and fill it with healthy, low-carb munchies such as a mix of raw carrots, sugar snap peas, and cucumbers (scoop out all the seeds and cut into sticks); string cheese or cheese cubes; berries; a small apple; watermelon; unsalted nuts; beef jerky; Greek or other sugar-free yogurt, etc.

4. Choose wisely.If you decide to indulge in some stadium food, know where the carbs lie. Peanuts and popcorn are the best snacks — very high in sodium, but at least these are whole foods with little carbohydrate. If you have a hot dog, hold it with the bun but eat the hot dog right out of it. With a burger, eat it on a plate or just take the top half of the bun off and eat it that way, pulling off bits of the bottom half as you go. If it's a sausage and pepper grinder or a messy steak and cheese, use the bun as your bowl and eat it with a fork. Same goes for pizza — use a fork and eat the toppings off, then toss the crust.

5. Don't drink your carbs. If you're going to drink beer choose light or low carb; a pint of light beer will have roughly half the carbs of regular beer or about 8 grams, and low-carb beer about 4 grams.

While these general rules also apply when you don't have tickets to the game and end up watching from your couch, you can do a lot better. Look in the "More on this topic" box (above, right) for some great game-day recipes you'll be happy to have on your coffee table.

Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 4/11

Last Modified Date: June 19, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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