Sussing Out Stadium Food
How do you eat at the ballpark and maintain good blood sugar control?
Let'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
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