Take Me Out to the Ballpark

DCJArticles by Judy

By Judy Weitzman

Once upon a baseball season, I discovered a way to cut a few calories by simply ordering from the right person. There are so many culinary speed bumps at stadiums but there are ways to enjoy the games without expanding your waistline.

When my husband and I go to Cubs games at Wrigley Field, I usually come prepared with either Tootsie Roll pops or See’s suckers. They both last a long time and keep my taste buds happy. They also keep me from indulging in the typical stadium fare like hot dogs, big fat pretzels, cotton candy, peanuts or beer. It boggles my mind how fast the calories and fat grams add up while you are watching a game. It can be any sport, at any stadium, the treats are pretty much same across the board.

For the record, a stadium hot dog rings in at 488 calories, which is about the same as a large soft pretzel. Luckily the mustard used for dipping is free! Peanuts are lethal. A bag of peanuts in the shell has over 1000 calories and over 100 fat grams. My arteries hurt just thinking about it. Beer is not a problem if you limit your consumption and order a “lite beer”. It is not cool to stack your cups to show how many ‘brewskies’ they have downed. Especially since a regular 16 oz beer is about 193 calories and a 16 oz lite beer is 147 calories. Any of these items are okay to eat/drink as long as you limit the portion sizes and limit how many items you eat at the game. Another factor is how you eat the balance of the day.

For a healthy food choice I saw Greek salads being sold and eaten last summer. However, I have a vision of a foul ball coming my way and watching olives, veggies and feta flying in the stands. Not pretty.

In recent years they have added soft serve ice cream to the treats offered at Wrigley Field. They serve the ice cream in adorable little plastic Cubs’ hats….so cute. This is where I found a new way to cut calories. On a hot day I find the soft serve treat to be very satisfying but since some stadiums do not offer a low fat version, I usually share my ice cream (and the calories) with my hubby. One day I went to the counter to order and when the skinny little server gave me my cup, it seemed like a skimpy amount. My first reaction was a feeling of being ripped off. How can they charge five bucks for such a small portion? After I thought about it for a minute, I decided it was a good thing since it would be fewer calories. A week later I was at another game and went to purchase my new-found favorite treat at Wrigley. This time I was at the game with my nephew and I once again planned on sharing it with him. I ordered my vanilla soft serve in the cute little cup and this time the cup runneth over. Drum roll please……when I looked up, I observed the server was a much larger woman than at the last game, she was tipping the scales at well over 300 lbs. I pondered what just happened on the way back to my seat and came to the realization that to this server, this was a reasonable serving. I must admit I appreciated the extra ice cream but was haunted by all of the extra calories. Luckily my nephew has a good appetite and was able to finish this ample serving. So, in my unscientific survey, what I learned was that thin people eat smaller portions; therefore, serve smaller portions. Larger people obviously have a distorted perception of what a proper portion should be.

In the future, when you go to a concession stand, if you are trying to eat healthy, my advice is to always order from the thinnest person available to ensure you receive an appropriate serving of what you are ordering. And I hope your team wins!