Don’t Strike Out with Snacks at the Ballpark. Peanuts are a Home Run.

Heidi Skolnik, M.S., C.D.N., FACSM

It’s time to swing into Spring, baseball and ball park visits. While you are keeping track of hits, runs and errors, let’s look at the statistics of the typical ballpark food. The clients I most often work with care about their health and well being. Their lives are busy and full of family events, business dinners, and general entertainment, and yet they are looking to make the best possible choices given the food available whenever they can. They know that all their choices contribute to how they feel and how they age.  So, don’t be thrown a curveball when it comes to fueling yourself.   Look below to find your own sweet spot when it comes to balancing taste, preference and health.

So let’s start where the song ends “Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, I don’t care of I ever come back…”  Great iconic song and actually great advice. Peanuts are high on the list of foods to choose when at the game.
Peanuts (1 oz.)
166 calories

Fat 14g

Carbohydrates 6g

Sugars 1g

Peanuts have more protein than any other nut—7 grams per serving and peanuts have over 30 essential vitamins and nutrients.
Peanuts are full of unsaturated fats, the good fats for your body and a positive when it comes to heart health. In fact, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Antioxidants are found in the skin of peanuts—which, when you buy that great bag and shell your own, you are getting the whole, roasted wonderful peanut-and all the nutrients it has to offer. This is the ultimate unprocessed whole food snack at the field.
Cotton Candy (1 bag, 28g)
180 calories

Carbohydrates 28g

Sugars 28g

Primarily sugar, after eating cotton candy there is a good chance you will soon crash and then crave something else, most likely high in sugar as well.
Cracker Jacks (1/2 cup, 28g)
120 calories

Fat 2 g fat

Carbohydrates 23g

Sugars 15 g

Yes, this treat has peanuts, but the popcorn part is covered in syrup and sugar! Still, enforced portion control provides fewer calories, fat and carbohydrates than a small popcorn! When buying a whole bag, the stats get much better if shared.
Buttered Popcorn (1/2 size small, 4.5 cups)
287 calories

Fat 18g

Carbohydrates 28g

Sodium 250mg

Air-popped popcorn is a nutritious whole-grain snack. But things can get out of control fast when lots of oil, butter and salt are added.

At Yankee Stadium a jumbo popcorn has 1,484 calories—70 percent of most people’s 2,000-calorie daily needs. Stadium popped popcorn is high in fat and carbohydrates and just one serving (1/2 a small size) gives you 10 percent of your daily value of sodium.

Peanuts and baseball have a long history together and it’s easy to see why. In addition to the delicious smell of roasting peanuts in the air, peanuts have the combination of good fats, fiber and protein to keep you satisfied through the 7th inning stretch.

About Heidi Skolnik, M.S., C.D.N., FACSM
Considered a thought leader in nutrition, Heidi has influenced millions through her media work, writing and thriving consulting business, Nutrition Conditioning. She has worked with the professional basketball, football and baseball teams in New York, as well as NHL, MLS, WNBA, Olympic competitors, professional cyclists, marathoners, and collegiate athletes. Heidi’s company oversees the Sports Nutrition program at The Juilliard School and the School of American Ballet and has consulted with numerous Broadway shows, as well as with movie and TV actors. 
Heidi is the author of Grill Yourself Skinny and co-author of Nutrient Timing for Peak Performance and The Reverse Diet. She has Masters degrees in exercise physiology and human nutrition and is a New York State Certified Nutritionist. Heidi is a Fellow with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and is also ACSM certified as a Health Fitness Instructor. 

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