Striking Out at the Ballpark
With baseball season underway, I recently found myself cringing while recalling an ill-fated bus trip to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to see the home town Phillies play ball. So, how could such a fun outing transform into a diet-busting melee?
I packed my cooler with way more beer than water – and I tapped into it way too soon. Sure, beer can be part of a healthy diet. But only when you drink it now and then … and you exercise moderation when drinking it.
I didn’t bother taking healthy snacks on the bus. Then, what normally should have been a two-hour trip turned into a 3.5-hour adventure because of a run-in with a car on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
With little to do to keep occupied while we waited for the police to finish their paperwork, I imbibed with the boys on the back of the bus – and I helped myself to some pizza brought aboard by a friend.
I dined at the stadium. Not that there aren’t any healthier choices available, but with my head start of beer – and my complete lack of dieting resolve – I went straight for the fried foods and supersized boxes of Cracker Jacks.
As I already noted, drinking does not have to be a no-no for the person following a healthy lifestyle. The calories in a few drinks can easily be overcome with a little extra exercise.
It’s when you drink to the point that you lose your inhibitions that trouble arises. Suddenly, those “bad” foods smell alluringly good and your brain tells you that you MUST have them NOW!
Truth is if I had used a little common sense and a bit of restraint, I could have enjoyed the outing without abandoning my diet or suffering so much next-day guilt.
For starters, I should have packed a few healthy snacks like fruit, string cheese, veggie sticks and maybe a salad with lean turkey. I should definitely have refrained from drinking alcohol until at the ballpark or maybe on the bus trip home.
I threw caution to the wind and drank on the way to the game, at the game AND on the way home from the game. No need to berate me. I’ve already beaten myself up for such behavior!
Hindsight is 20-20, but I could have burned off a few calories and kept busy by walking around the stadium a time or two – or maybe 10 – and spent more time mulling over souvenirs rather than my next meal!
At the stadium I should have sought out healthier food options. After all, the stadium features a wide variety of food and beverages, from traditional ballpark fare to foods with Philadelphia flavor, including healthier and gluten-free food. In fact, Citizens Bank Park is rated among the top vegetarian ballparks in the country.
Most ballparks offer foods that won’t run up your calorie count. Do a little online investigating before you strike out on your next trip to the ballpark.
Here’s something else to chew on: Outings like bus trips to a ballgame are a great way to catch up with friends and fellow fans. In other words, you don’t have to eat or drink to excess just because you can. Instead, pass the hours using your mouth for chatting rather than chewing.
John McGran has been writing about health and weight loss for several national companies since 2000. He brings his knowledge of diets — and his passion for dropping pounds — to Meal Plan Map because he believes it is the future of smart, stress-free eating and improved health.