Even if you’re not a baseball fan, one of America’s greatest pastimes is going to the ballpark in the middle of the summer. Between the crack of the bat, the roaring crowds, and the stadium workers hawking beer, it’s the perfect way to spend time with friends or family, no matter which team you’re rooting for.
Undeniably one of the highlights of going to the game is eating ballpark snacks. After all, the song does say, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack.” But you may want to consider instead bringing your own food from home, because the calorie counts of classic ballpark snacks, from hot dogs and chili cheese fries to beer and salty peanuts, really do add up.
Ballpark snacks have definitely evolved since “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” was written in the early twentieth century. Nowadays, major and minor league baseball teams seem to be taking their munchies to new heights with highly caloric foods. Take, for example, the Diamondbacks’ churro-stuffed doughnut or the bacon-topped hot dog with a Krispy Kreme bun you can get at the Kansas City Royals’ minor league team’s games.
We calculated the calorie counts of popular ballpark eats, so if you want to enjoy the game without going overboard, you’ll be covered.
1. Hot Dog
Hot dogs, along with beer, are definitely the snack of choice for hungry ballpark fans. But hot dogs vary wildly when it comes to nutritional content. Your run of the mill Nathan’s hot dog is 290 calories (and that’s not counting the toppings). The healthiest hot dogs you can get are Oscar Meyer’s extra-lean cut at 50 calories each, if your ballpark carries them.
When you’re talking ballpark calorie counts, don’t forget everyone’s favorite game day libation. An average 12-ounce can of beer has 153 calories, which doesn’t sound so bad, but most stadiums will sell you 16-ounce, 24-ounce, and even 32-ounce cups of brew. You’ll also want to stay away from these especially unhealthy 12-ounce beers: Heineken (166 calories), Sierra Nevada (176 calories), and Samuel Adams Boston Lager (180 calories).
3. Chili Cheese Fries
You knew this one was going to be bad. Sinfully delicious fries topped with nacho cheese and chopped meat can’t exactly be healthy. We don’t know exactly what your local ballpark will be serving, but Applebee’s chili cheese fries, for instance, are a whopping 629 calories, according to Calorie King, while a plate of chili cheese fries from Steak n Shake is 790 calories.
4. Cracker Jack
When it comes to ballpark snacks, it seems that the way to go is the classic. Cracker Jack is made simply from caramel-coated popcorn and candied peanuts, and a regular box only contains 120 calories and 15 grams of fat. Compared to chili cheese fries, Cracker Jack is a home run.
5. Cotton Candy
Popular with kids, these sweet fluffballs don’t seem to be made anything but air and sugar, and you’re mostly correct. One serving of cotton candy will only cost you 220 calories, but contains an alarming 56 grams of sugar. That’s more than twice the daily recommended dosage.
6. Corn Dog
This fried ballpark treat, often spotted at carnivals, may not be quite as synonymous with baseball as its cousin, the classic hot dog, but it’s still popular. According to the USDA, the average corn dog is 460 calories, while the smaller Nathan’s corn dog on a stick, an option sold at Yankee Stadium and many other ballparks, is only 380 calories.
Check out more of your favorite stadium snacks.
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