When you think of stadium food, you probably think of hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, beer...food that's fun to eat but threatens to set your diet back several steps. Believe it or not, there is a way to enjoy game food that is both healthy and delicious. Here's a sample of the most health-conscious food choices at Washington DC area stadiums.
The home of the Major League Baseball team the Washington Nationals since March 2008, Nationals Park offers a variety of unique, fun, and healthy food options. The stadium boasts a branch of the famed DC landmark Ben's Chili Bowl. Yes, I know chili isn't generally thought of as "health food." However, Ben's offers a $7 vegetarian bowl that will please your palate and your waistline. Competing with the Chili Bowl, the "On the Run" cart outside the Half Street Corridor entrance offers spicy turkey chili for $6-yes, Nats Park allows you to bring in outside food!
Since Washington is not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, a Nats game would not be complete without sampling one of the park's crab dishes. Try a bowl of Maryland crab soup for $7. The stadium also offers a crab cake, but at $12.50 for a small fried patty, it is neither the most frugal or the most healthy of options. If you're in the mood for Mexican, Capitol Cantina offers healthy choices like veggie tacos and burritos made from whole-wheat or guacamole tortillas. When you get thirsty, pass on alcohol and sugary sodas and grab a bottle of Honest Tea, a reported favorite drink of Obama.
Located at the heart of DC's Gallery Place/Chinatown, the Verizon Center is playing grounds for the NBA Wizards, NHL Capitals, Washington Mystics, and Georgetown Hoyas basketball, as well as a frequent concert venue. The Center's vendors have also recently come under fire for numerous health code violations. They are reportedly cleaning up their act, but I might pass on concessions next time I go to a Verizon Center event. If you do try the food, head to Noah's pretzels, which features a gluten and casein free pretzel and donates a portion of the proceeds to autism charities.
The Washington Redskins' home base is FedEx Field, located not far from the beltway in Prince George's County, Maryland.Kosher diners and those looking for healthier choices than the stereotypical football fare will appreciate Max's Falafel Stand, an outpost of Silver Spring's Max's Kosher Cafe. Falafel, made from chickpeas, is one of the healthiest game foods around. Or try a schawarma, a type of Middle-Eastern pita similar to a gyro.
Grilled sausage is a stadium classic, and topped with peppers and onions, it is a relatively health conscious choice as well. Johnny Rockets is a crowd favorite generally more known for fattening fare like fried onion rings and milk shakes, but if you opt for a grilled chicken sandwich you should be fine. Healthy drink options throughout the stadium include hot chocolate, coffee, and bottles of Vitamin Water.
When you know where to look, you really can enjoy stadium food while remaining health-conscious.