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Closeup of person standing in packed sports stadium holding a plate of loaded nachos

Dietitians Dish: Stadium Eats

Football season is back in full swing! That means tons of tailgate treats and enough snacks to fill a stadium. We were curious about what OhioHealth dietitians choose when they’re at the game, and asked their advice for those of us trying to stay in shape. Here are their picks and passes.

Hand holding a variety of raw nuts

“It just depends what I am in the mood for. It could be some popcorn, a soft pretzel or a LÄRABAR I find in my bag. But if it’s cold out, it will always be hot chocolate to warm me up. Try to practice moderation and splitting something with a friend. Browse the stadium for a grilled meat option or a bag of nuts. Also use this as an opportunity to walk around and get some extra steps!” – Susie Schneider, RD


Container with assorted fresh fruit sitting next to a water bottle

“We try to have a well-balanced meal or snack prior to going to a game to reduce cravings. Most often, we aren’t hungry when we’re there, our senses just get enticed by the smells. Try half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk, cheese and crackers, tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, Greek yogurt with dark chocolate chips, celery with tuna salad or fresh fruit. We also try to pack quick items like cucumbers and sliced peppers, fresh fruit or a snack size of gummies to have while in the stadium.” – Marlys Slone, MS, RDN, LD


Hotdog or sausage sitting on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut

I get a hot dog with stadium mustard and sauerkraut if it’s available. It’s not that often that I get to go to a stadium, so it is a treat! If you’re trying to be healthy, stick with grilled hamburger or chicken. Ask for additional lettuce, tomato and onion and just eat half of the bun.” – Jenalee Richner, RD, LDN


Grilled chicken sandwich on wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and onions topping it

“It can be hard to find healthy options at the stadium, but many are starting to change their vendors to offer more choices. Make sure to take a lap around the stadium before you choose something because each section usually has different options. I would stick with something simple that you can alter so you’re in more control of what you’re eating. For example, get chicken or some type of meat that is plain, take away half of the bun and get the sauce on the side.” – Emily Monfiletto, RD, LD, CCMS


Water bottle sitting on its side with a drop of water coming out of top spout

“It’s nachos and cheese, or pizza for me! It’s a sporting event, you are allowed to have fun with what you eat every now and then. But it’s best to purchase water to drink. The main way people go above and beyond their calorie intake on game day is with beverages like pop and alcohol. Some stadiums do offer healthier options like salad, but if all else fails, save a good amount of your daily calories for the game.” – Ashya Walden, RD


Hand holding a burger in bun topped with cheese, tomato and onion

“I tend to look for something grilled, such as a grilled chicken sandwich or hamburger. I also remove the top bun to cut down on carbohydrates, and add vegetables if they are available. Start by checking out all of your options. We assume everything at a stadium is fried and bad for us, but if you look around, you are likely to find something rich in protein that will help to fill you up instead of empty carbohydrates, like nachos or French fries.” – Brittany Smith, DRD

Good advice, right? Want to talk nutrition with one of our dietitians? Give the McConnell Heart Health Center a call!