By Lacy J. Hansen for DietsInReview.com
Whether itís the majors or the minors, baseball fans fill the stands nearly every night of the season. While Iím not necessarily a huge fan of the sport, the experience is as American as they come. I like exposing my family to these activities. I love the singing of the National Anthem, the fun cheers and chants, and if your child hasnít run the bases with a mass of kids in a full-size stadium, youíve got to get them there. The cuteness is overwhelming.
The only tarnish on these nights at the baseball diamond is when the inevitable ďIím hungryĒ remarks start. Even for myself, I hate being hungry at a baseball game. I hate how limited the options are when Iím trying my best to always feed my son the healthiest I can. Additionally, Iím sensitive to gluten and I tend to avoid unknown meat sources. Given these restrictions, baseball games are never a satisfying place to eat.
Apparently, Iím not alone in my struggles. As of late many fields are promoting a whole new range of food that trumps the tired hot dog and nacho options that have ruled the concession menus for so long.
Recently Health.com compiled a list of healthy options at 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. Some of the most surprising options were:
- Veggie panini at Angel Stadium
- Veggie burgers at Phoenixís Chase Field
- Sushi at Comerica Park in Detroit
- Build-your-own salad at Denverís Coors Field
- Fresh fruit platter at Minute Maid Park in Houston
- Roasted tomato hummus at PETCO Park in San Diego
- Wild caught salmon at PNC Park in Pittsburgh
- Fish tacos at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg
These highlights alone would provide me and my entire family with satisfying, healthy options. If I wanted to avoid gluten or meat, I would be set. If I wanted to eat quality animal protein, the wild caught salmon would be a perfect choice, and Iíd much rather serve my son fish tacos than a hot dog. Many of the stadiums were offering a vegetarian version of all wraps and sandwiches, which would be a fantastic treat during the 7th inning.
Some fields are going beyond just offering a healthier selection, they are catering to those with very specific dietary needs. Three seasons ago, Denverís Coors Field launched the first ever gluten-free concession stand. The stand sells traditional baseball fare such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and even beer. All items are free of gluten and safe for those with sensitivities. Since 2009, many other stadiums offer gluten-free options too. Most are offering a gluten-free version of the old standards, but some have unique options like Citi Field in New York where they serve Kozy Shack rice pudding to fans.
To those who want to abstain from meat altogether, many stadiums have specifically vegetarian options for the fans. Just this past week PETA released their 2012 Top 10 Vegetarian Friendly Major League Ballparks list. The stadiums to make the top 10 this year are:
- Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park
- Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field
- Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park
- Oakland Athletics’ O.co Coliseum
- Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dodger Stadium
- New York Mets’ Citi Field
- Los Angeles Angels’ Angel Stadium of Anaheim
- Washington Nationals’ Nationals Park
- Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park
- Minnesota Twins’ Target Field
Clearly, Iím not alone in my desire to eat better food at baseball games. Once upon a time hot dogs and baseball were synonymous. If baseball wants to get families like mine to keep coming and spending our money, low quality hot dogs and other junk options will just have to be a thing of the past at the ‘ole ball game.