What Healthy People Eat at Ballparks and Other Tricky Venues

They let us in on their secrets to finding nutritious foods in places where you may think it's just not possible.

At the Ballpark

It’s no surprise nutritional experts skip the footlongs and nachos. Stella Metsovas, a certified clinical nutritionist and the author of Wild Mediterranean, keeps one key thing in mind when she’s looking for something to munch on during games: She looks for foods that are made with just one ingredient, such as unsalted peanuts or popcorn without butter (the nuts are better, since you have to shell them, making them harder to mindlessly eat by the handful). For a full meal, Lisa Lillien, author of the new book, Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry OBSESSED!, says she tries to find a grilled-chicken salad—or, if that’s not possible, she’ll order a chicken sandwich and ditch the bun, going straight for the protein.


At the Airport

If you’re not at America’s healthiest airport, you can still have a nutritional meal—it may just take a little more effort. Follow the advice of Nom Nom Paleo blogger Michelle Tam, whose new cookbook is called Ready or Not!, and check Yelp or another crowd-sourced reviews app before you go, so you’ll know if there are restaurants or kiosks in the terminal you’re headed to that other health-conscious travelers love. If all else fails, Metsovas says try a coffee shop like Starbucks; she has found their refrigerated-food sections stocked with healthy salads, fruit and cheese plates (sometimes with hard-boiled eggs) and wraps filled with spinach and egg whites.


At a Highway Rest Stop

Even if you’ve packed a cooler with good-for-you snacks, you’re probably going to have to pull off the road at some point to use the restroom and fill up on gas. If the munchies strike while Lillien’s at a rest stop, her first thought is to find a sub/sandwich shop, so she can create her own salad with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and rotisserie chicken. If there’s only a convenience store, she buys jerky, fresh whole fruit (not fruit salad, since it sometimes includes fruit that’s a few days old) or a 100-calorie pack of nuts. Metsovas likes to pick up a Greek yogurt from the refrigerated section, or a high-protein granola bar.


At a Fast Food Drive-Thru

As a mom of two, Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD/LD, a wellness manager for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, has definitely dealt with cries of “I’m starving and need to eat right now!” while cruising down the highway. If her family’s only option is a burger-fries type chain, she has two strategies for keeping her meal healthy. Her first plan is to only look at portion size, which rules out deluxe burgers with multiple patties and other 1,500- to 1,800-calorie items, and opt for something small—she’ll even order a kids’ meal for herself (a kids’ hamburger, fries, apple slices and lowfat milk clocks in at 480 calories). Her second approach is to rethink the menu. If all-day breakfast is served, Kirkpatrick will get oatmeal with fresh fruit, even if it is 5 p.m. Or, at a Mexican joint, she’ll ask for just one soft taco instead of defaulting to the three that the menu offers as a bundle.

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