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Game on — and it's your willpower up to bat! We asked nutritionists across the country how to hit concession stands without putting thousands of empty calories on the scoreboard.
Do: Choose Grilled Chicken
These sandwiches are a stadium slam dunk. A ballpark burger can pack up to 500 calories and as many as 10 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat (and that's before cheese and toppings), but the sandwich often comes in at around 300 calories with half the fat.
Do: Get Cracking On Peanuts
Craving popcorn or Cracker Jacks? Opt for plain, unsalted, in-shell peanuts instead, says Chicago dietitian Amari Cheffer, M.S., R.D., LDN. They've got heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E and magnesium—and the act of cracking the shell makes you work a little harder to enjoy them. The catch: A typical eight-ounce bag is much larger than one serving (it can have over 800 calories total), so don't eat more than a quarter of it yourself.
Don't: Sip Sugary Sodas
Save a cool 100-300 calories by sticking to sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea or ice water with lemon. But if a ballgame just isn't the same without soda, don't stress, says New York City-based Marissa Lippert, M.S., R.D. Just order a small size and fill it to the brim with ice. "You're addressing your craving strategically," she says, "since your body won't know you're taking in 10- or 20-percent less soda."
Don't: Get A "Personal" Pizza
Seek out a single slice of plain cheese or veggie instead of devouring a whole personal pan pie-size portion (which packs about 200 additional calories). The 'za can actually deliver heart-healthy benefits, since tomato sauce contains lycopene, an antioxidant. "Interestingly, it's been found to be especially well-absorbed in pizza," says Seattle-based Minh-Hai Tran, M.S., R.D., CSSD.
Do: Be Choosy About Beers
Love your ballpark brews? There's no need to deny yourself, just stop at one or two 12-ounce pours. Choose a low-calorie option like Amstel Light (which has just 95 calories), says New York City-based Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D., and author of The New You and Improved Diet. Or sip a stout beer: Guinness is another low-cal brew (you'll get 25-30 calories less than a regular beer) that also happens to be high in antioxidants.
Keep reading for five more do's and don'ts for the next time you are eating at the ballpark!