What to Eat—and What to Avoid—at 13 Major League Ballparks
Most baseball stadiums have upped their food game. You can get garlic fries, chicken fajitas, and even organic salads. So what's the best and worst on the menu at the ballpark? We'll break it down for you.
Home of the reigning world champion Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field offers plenty of healthy meal choices, such as chopped salads, veggie dogs and veggie burgers, and a tempeh barbecue sandwich. For the baseball fan who’s also a gourmet, tasty meal options include a chicken breast sandwich with Asian slaw, or barbacoa tacos on corn tortillas with pickled onions and avocado. Snacks round out the long game with nuts and a unique kefir starfruit frozen treat. But the health conscious should steer clear of the famous cheese-laden Chicago-style pizzas and endless variety of high fat sausage sandwiches. Overindulged? Check out these fat-burning workouts.
The Los Angeles Dodgers organization offers up innovative healthy food options from around the world. For your consideration: The tuna poke bowl (Ahi tuna, rice, edamame, cucumber, carrots, wakame, sesame seeds and ponzu sauce), teriyaki chicken, Vietnamese rice noodle bowl, Mediterranean quinoa salad, strawberry and beet salad, and grilled vegetable flatbread. Veering into foul territory: The Dodger Burger (1/3 pound Angus beef patty with caramelized onions, beer-batter fried jalapeños, BBQ sauce AND a Dodger Dog loaded onto a burger bun) is certain to bust your waist line. Tack on a dessert of deep-fried Oreos or Twinkies and you may need to be carried out of the place. (These are nine moments that changed baseball history.)
The Boston Red Sox offer a few decent noshing choices at Fenway Park, including a build-your-own vegetable salad and fruit bar, grilled surf and turf kebabs, and veggie burgers. Be wary of Fenway’s take on a Canadian treat: The lobster poutine is a pile of steak fries covered in lobster, cheese curds, bisque, and chives. Needless to say, the fried potatoes with fried cheese covered in high-fat gravy drowns out any healthy fats you might get from the shellfish.
Globe Life Park
Texas does everything bigger, right?! And the Texas Rangers are no exception. At Globe Life Park, you can enjoy black bean tamales (and check out how healthy those beans can be) or Mediterranean nachos, which are relatively healthy for ballpark fare. Vegan burgers and hot dogs, a variety of salads, and veggie snack cups are available for the truly health-conscious baseball fans. Or you could embrace the Texas ethic and gorge on the MVT (Most Valuable Tamale)—a two-foot long tamale stuffed with a 1-pound hot dog. Just don’t be tempted to finish the game off with the Texas Snow ball—a mound of brisket, battered with funnel cake batter, deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar. It’s like a meal and dessert rolled into a not-so-neat, high-calorie package.
Minute Maid Park
The Houston Astros play here and folks who attend their games are treated to some lighter ballpark fare, such as grilled beef and veggie kebabs, seared tuna over steamed fresh spinach, chicken fajitas and vegetables, or a Mediterranean chopped salad. On the flip side, the Astros offer their fans the Crown Maple barbecue burger—a burger with whiskey-barbecue sauce, pepper bacon, fried onions, cheddar, lettuce, tomato served on a Challah roll). For a strange twist, a sweet waffle cone stuffed with mashed potatoes and fried chicken is topped with honey mustard. Steer clear of this bizarre meal-dessert hybrid.
The Arizona Diamondbacks rely on their southwestern locale to influence their menu. Chase Field sells healthier versions of classic ballpark burgers with a spicy twist: the Sonoran Vegan Burger topped with guacamole, vegan pepper jack cheese, vegan chipotle mayo and soy chorizo. (By the way, don’t miss these vegan comfort foods everyone will love.) Looking for the dark side of nutrition? They offer an 18-inch chicken enchilada dog (enough for about 4 adults), which includes chicken sausage, queso blanco, enchilada sauce, sour cream, pico de gallo stuffed into a super-sized hot dog bun. The “meat-with-dessert” theme is alive and well at Chase Field: You can get a funnel cake fried chicken sandwich that uses funnel cakes as the bun, and it’s topped with strawberry jam, maple syrup and powdered sugar. If that’s not enough dessert for you, try the churro dog – a cinnamon churro sandwiched into a chocolate glazed donut for a bun, topped with three scoops of frozen yogurt, whipped cream, caramel and chocolate sauce. Yikes. Want a sense of how long it will take to work that off?
The inviting home of the Baltimore Orioles boasts that its chicken sandwiches, burgers, and beefsteak tomato sandwiches are made without artificial flavors, hormones or antibiotics. Turkey or veggie burgers also appear throughout the ballpark. On the flip side, we find the bacon pork rind chipper—fried pork rinds topped with cheese sauce, diced bacon, shredded cheddar, sour cream and scallions. So many high calorie ingredients in just one dish. Or, unique combinations of foods such as the Mac & Cheese Twister—macaroni and cheese topped with a choice of crab, buffalo chicken or pulled pork in a twisted bread cone. Each of these foods on its own isn’t horrible; put them together and your 7th inning stretch won’t be pretty.
The Colorado Rockies menus detail a wide selection of fresh made salads, veggie dogs and veggie burgers, as well as a spicy chicken breast sandwich with Sriracha aioli, lettuce and tomato on jalapeño cheddar bread. Find gluten-free options as well: chicken sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Beware the Colorado Queso Stak—a jumbo portion of waffle fries topped with house-made green chili queso, pork carnitas, freshly made pico de gallo, fresh-cut jalapeños and sour cream. For a calorie-bomb dessert, there’s the apple pie nachos, made of fried flour tortilla chips with cinnamon, caramel, apple pie filling, whipped cream and shredded cheddar cheese.
Citizens Bank Park
Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies play, boasts several nutritionally sound sandwich options from black bean burgers, garden burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches. Phillies fans will find a specific gluten-free dedicated stand, as well as a variety of salads such as kale Caesar, chopped, and cobb. Take a pass on the Italian Roast Pork Stak (French fried potatoes topped with roast pork, sharp Provolone cheese sauce, cherry pepper aioli and chopped roasted long hots), the hot dog topped with macaroni and cheese, and the chocolate peanut butter pie with Reese’s peanut butter cups. Your jeans will thank you.
You either love ’em or hate ’em: The New York Yankees offer their fans Bison or veggie burgers, and the delicious crispy buffalo cauliflower bao for healthier choices. On the flip side, Yankee Stadium sells a giant one-pound rib and brisket sandwich that could feed at least three people!
Menus at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, include perfectly healthy choices such as grilled mahi mahi tacos, build-your-own salad, and vegan or grilled chicken burgers. Fresh fruits are an optimal choice for snacking during an extra-innings game. To balance out the fare, check out the weighty Bavarian Stuffed Burger—a beef stuffed with macaroni and cheese, topped with bacon, and served on pretzel roll. Another example of combining multiple foods into one gut-busting dish.
A unique and lighter meal can be found at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves. Consider the Cumberland Wrap—a whole wheat tortilla packed with roasted veggies, arugula, and balsamic vinegar aioli. Take a pass on their Burgerizza (a bacon cheeseburger with two mini pepperoni pizzas as buns) and the Tater Top Chop (two waffles made from tater tots, with bacon, cheese, and Coca Cola infused ketchup).
The home of the San Francisco Giants actually houses a culinary garden that produces fresh produce and herbs used in various menu items. Certainly not typical ballpark food, the veggies end up on flatbread veggie pizzas and in tossed-to-order salads, smoothies, and fruit-infused spa water. Other healthy choices in San Fran include sushi boxes, chili, grilled eggplant panini, and build-your-own rice bowls with tofu and veggies. Not to be left out, SF also offers fried seafood specialties, creamy clam chowder in a dense sourdough bread bowl, or huge gourmet ice cream sandwiches garnished with candies.