Spring training is in full swing and the start of the baseball season is right around the corner. Many families will be heading to Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers this spring and summer. Going to a baseball game is especially a treat with a variety of salty and sweet food options. With so many goodies to choose from, it’s important to keep your family’s health in mind while at baseball games and other sporting events.
Going to a game and indulging can be a treat for many, but as you consume the traditional favorites keep in mind that nachos alone can contain more than 1,000 calories. Now add in a hot dog, a soda drink, a large bag of peanuts and a bag of cotton candy, that’s more than 2,800 calories. Think about it, you’ve easily topped the daily-recommended calorie intake before you even make it to the seventh inning stretch. Here are some tips to enjoy the game and keep the experience healthy for you and your family.
Prepare before you head to the game:
There are many things you can do to keep a trip to the ballgame a healthy one that does not have to center around eating junk food. Here are a few suggestions to keep you and your family on track:
• Do not go to the game hungry. Feed your family a sensible and well-balanced meal before you head out.
• Drink plenty of water. Many times we eat due to thirst, rather than hunger.
• Plan ahead. If you know your family is going to eat at the game, make sure you eat well beforehand and get in exercise earlier in the day.
• Get active. Take the family on a couple laps around the venue before you settle in into your seat for the game.
Make healthy decisions at the game:
Here are some things to consider when you are choosing what to feed your family while at the ballpark:
• Watch your portions. One of the biggest causes of weight gain is due to out-of-control serving sizes. For example, 1/4 cup of peanuts is 1 serving; therefore, the bag of peanuts that you purchase should be shared between at least 4 people. The same thing goes for popcorn. A single serving of popcorn is 3 cups popped.
• A typical ballpark hot dog has just under 300 calories after you add ketchup, mustard and relish. This is the equivalent of about 3 miles of walking or running. Some better choices with fewer calories could be a slice of cheese pizza, veggie pizza or a soft pretzel. Typically, even a plain hamburger has fewer calories than a hot dog from the ballpark.
• Stay away from fried food such as French fries, onion rings and funnel cakes – they are loaded with calories and fat.
• If it’s a hot day and that sno-cone is looking really delicious, ask for less sugary syrup – it’s a better option than many of the other desserts found at the game.
• Anytime vegetables are available, it’s a more nutritious option; but, beware of condiments that add extra calories and fat quickly, such as sour cream, cheese, guacamole, croutons, dressing or bacon – just to name a few.
• Comerica Park does have some healthier options with fewer calories and some good nutrients.
o chicken fajita wrap
o chicken stir fry
o veggie stir fry
o soft tacos
o grilled chicken sandwich/wrap
o gyros with grilled vegetables
o salad with light or fat-free dressing
To help kids stay healthy during the spring season, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is calling all Michigan kids to lace up their cleats and train like an all-star. Michigan kids, ages 5-14, have a chance to win an on-field experience at the Detroit Tigers Kids’ Opening Day on Sunday, April 19 by completing weekly wellness challenges. Your child could win a spot to attend the game and use all these healthy tips. For more information, visit AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan.
Vince McKinnon, wellness & engagement center operations manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more information and tips on your child’s health, and to sign up for the #MIKidsCan Train like an All-Star Challenge, visit AHealthierMichigan.org/mikidscan.
By: Vince McKinnon, wellness & engagement center operations manager, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.