For fans who watch their nutrition, live sporting events can be a challenge because there are so many tempting foods that are high in fat, carbohydrates, salt and sugar.
According to Sherri Flynt, a registered dietitian at Florida Hospital, throwing in the towel is not the only option.
"I always tell people that, while it's definitely harder to stay on your nutrition plan 100 percent at a game, shooting for 95 percent is better than giving in and eating less nutritious food all day," Flynt said. "And you can still treat yourself to some of the fun food at the concession stand and have a good time at the game."
The key, she said, is to plan so that you're not trying to figure out your order when you're at the front of the concession line.
"You know that your options will be limited so you have to have an idea how you're going to get to that 95 percent goal," she said. "One of the most important things to do is stay hydrated while watching an outdoor event in the Florida heat and humidity. If you're drinking anything but water, and eating food with a lot of salt, you'll need to drink plenty of water. Avoid sports drinks because they contain a lot of sugar and salt."
Tips for Making Healthy Choices at the Concession Stand
Flynt recommends scoping out the venue when you get there to see what healthier options are available. You may also be able to check out the menu online. "If you haven't thought about what you want until you get there, it's a lot easier to be tempted by less nutritious food choices," says Flynt.
Other helpful tips that Flynt recommends include:
- Look for little ways to cut back that can offer a big impact nutrition-wise.
- Nachos: hold off on the extra nacho cheese or chili and don’t add salt.
- Soft Pretzel: try it plain without salt or brush the salt off.
- Popcorn: Order a smaller portion and don’t add butter or salt.
- Nuts: Whole peanuts in the shells are a good option in moderation, but stay away from the sweet, sugar-coated nuts.
- Split treats with a friend to control portion sizes.
- Order sandwiches and burgers with extra vegetables like green peppers, onions, lettuce and tomato.
- Avoid adding extra mayonnaise, cheese and bacon to your food.
- In some cases, cheese pizza might be a healthier option, especially compared to an item like french fries loaded with bacon and extra cheese.
- Don’t sit the whole game. Get up and walk around during breaks in the action.
- Eat a healthy meal before you go so that you aren’t as tempted to overindulge.
Enjoy the game! It’s okay to splurge a little. But if you can do it without throwing caution to the wind in terms of your nutrition, you'll be 100 percent glad that you did!