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Your guide to stadium snacking

March 31, 2014 General Wellness

a bag of caramel corn tipped on its sideUnfortunately for calorie-conscious sports fans, peanuts and Cracker Jacks aren't the only snacks being sold at ball games. It doesn't matter which sport you're in the stands for, the lure of endless concession stands can be a tempting one. Fortunately, we’ve got tips for how to make a healthy choice at the game.

Pass: peanuts
Pick: sunflower seeds

Peanuts are high in fat and can be filled with sodium. One cup serving of shelled peanuts will run you about 305 calories and 26 grams of fat. A better choice would be sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are packed with the heart healthy poly and mono-unsaturated fats, and they are high in vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, and may even help reduce the body's cholesterol level. One ½ cup serving with hulls will only run you 135 calories and 11 grams of fat.

Pass: chicken fingers
Pick: grilled chicken or veggie burgers

It goes without saying, but picking grilled over fried is always a healthier option. Most sporting venues now offer grilled chicken sandwiches and vegetarian options. Pass up the chicken fingers and opt for one of these. Toppings like lettuce, tomato, salt, pepper and mustard can add some added flavor without adding many calories.

Pass: cotton candy
Pick: Cracker Jacks

Cotton candy is not much more than pure sugar. Cracker Jacks are portion controlled and offer several grams of protein and fiber to help fill you up. Although they do have a fair amount of sugar, they are definitely an improvement over the cotton candy.

Pass: ice cream
Pick: snow cone

Whether it comes in a cone or a cup, ice cream usually comes piled high at sporting events. And with the option for sprinkles and chocolate topping, of course. If you're counting calories, choose a Snow Cone, which delivers a cold, sweet taste for only about 60 calories calories.

If these snacks don’t strike your fancy, follow a few general rules of thumb when you’re navigating the concourse. Pass up the temptation for a souvenir cup, eat your burger without a bun, and avoid the extra cheese, butter and toppings that come with some sporting event staples.

Want more tips like these? Check out our nutrition archive and follow Main Line Health on Facebook for wellness updates.