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4 Tips for Eating Healthy at the Concession Stand

May 10, 2024

From hamburgers and hotdogs to peanuts and Cracker Jacks, a day at the ballpark isn’t complete without a trip to the concession stand.

But cheering on your squad doesn’t have to cost you points at the plate.

We asked Shannon Haynes, RD, a registered dietitian at Backus Hospital, for advice on healthy eating at the concession stand.

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1. Eat before you go

Going to the grocery store hungry can be dangerous, and the same goes for the concession stand.

“The best advice is to eat before you go so you’re not starving,” says Haynes.

Try to have a balanced meal before you head to your concert or ballgame. Be sure to include protein, carbs, and healthy fat to help you stay fuller, longer.

> Related: 4 Tips for Eating Healthy at Fast Food Restaurants

2. Pick one thing you really want

Sporting events and concerts are fun activities and you’re entitled to enjoy special treats from the concession stands, Haynes says. The trouble is when we go overindulge.

“I tell people to pick one thing they really want, not three or four. You don’t want to go overboard,” she says.

The problem is that many options are “ginormous” in size and contain way more calories than needed in one portion.

“These places just kill us in portion sizes. Even ice cream – when served in a waffle cone it’s double the regular portion!”

3. Share your concessions with someone

One good solution to portion control is bringing a friend or loved one.

“Pick something you love and share it,” says Haynes.

Haynes, who usually splits a soft pretzel with her husband, says it allows you to enjoy something you wouldn’t ordinarily have at home.

“It’s all about moderation,” Haynes says.

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4. Look for healthy options

Some healthy choices to look for at your local concession stand include:

  • Popcorn, either regular size or shared.
  • Chicken wraps, keeping in mind that sauces can add extra calories
  • Turkey burgers, which are a lower fat option than regular burgers
  • Soft pretzels, with or without salt.
  • Light beer or seltzer, rather than heavier craft beer or mixed cocktails.

“Even a regular hotdog is not the end of the world. It’s when you add things like chili or cheese that they get extra high in fat and sodium,” Haynes says.