The Best and Worst Stadium Foods for Game Day

Get your game face on and learn how to stay healthy at the stadium

The Best and Worst Stadium Foods for Game Day

Summer is almost over, which means it’s time to enjoy good company and cheer your way through a game. With an exhilarating game comes a lot of mindless eating and unwanted calories. Except this football season will be different, because you will be equipped with tools for staying healthy before, during, and after the big game. We spoke with registered dietitian Chelsea Fuchs about which stadium foods you can enjoy and which foods you should stay away from.

Worst: Fries

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Say hello to fried carbs! “Eating fries at the stadium will certainly not help you to feel full, as white carbs spike blood sugar and have little to no fiber or protein,” Fuchs says. “In addition, fries are quite easy to overindulge in — you might find yourself springing for the large and sharing with a friend, or allowing yourself to have just a few more. Whether you are having fries plain, drenched in ketchup, or smothered in cheese, this popular snack food can pack on the pounds quickly.”

Worst: Nachos


Ooey, gooey, cheesy nachos might sound delicious, but you will regret the indulgence later. “The chips are loaded with sodium, which can cause fluid retention and make you look and feel bloated,” Fuchs says. “On their own, the chips are bad enough, but add some chemically processed cheese on top and you have an artery-clogging snack that is sky-high in calories and will wreak havoc on your waistline.”

Worst: Peanut M&M’s

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Add up peanuts, salt, and chocolate and you get one unhealthy snack. “In fact, one serving of King Size Peanut M&M’s contains 480 calories, 46 grams of sugar, and 24 grams of saturated fat, and let’s face it, they usually only sell the king-size package at the stadium,” Fuchs says. “The other problem is that this is an incredibly addictive candy — who stops after just 10 M&M’s?”

Worst: Popcorn


We are not talking about air-popped popcorn. “Stadium popcorn is cooked in tons of oil, flavored with butter, and incredibly salty,” Fuchs said. “If you decide to make it a combo snack and pair it with a medium Coke, you’ve easily put yourself north of 1,000 calories.”

Worst: Pizza

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Deep-dish pizza means loads of white, starchy carbs, globs of mozzarella cheese, and greasy toppings like sausage, pepperoni, and bacon,” Fuchs says. “Talk about a calorie bomb! Also, when you’re at the stadium, you usually have to order a small pie rather than an individual slice — another way to tack on calories quickly.”

Best: Cracker Jack

Photo Modified: Flickr / Mike Mozart / CC BY 4.0

“A half cup of Cracker Jack clocks in at around 120 calories,” Fuchs said. “Since this snack includes peanuts, you get some of those health benefits as well. Indeed, peanuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which can help to aid in management of type 2 diabetes. They’re also packed with vitamin E, which can help reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.”

Best: Frozen Yogurt

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“If you order a small size and get a fruit topping — skipping the candy — you will satisfy your sweet tooth without consuming a crazy amount of fat and calories,” Fuchs said. “Frozen yogurt typically contains live active cultures, which can help to increase the healthy bacteria in our gut and benefit our digestive systems. When compared to ice cream, frozen yogurt contains far fewer calories, fat, and sugar per serving. As long as you choose your toppings wisely, frozen yogurt can be a good choice.”


Best — Peanuts

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“Even better than Cracker Jack are peanuts on their own,” Fuchs said. “When peanuts are in the shell, they take some time to eat, so you can pace yourself.  Additionally, peanuts are rich in protein and fiber to help us feel fuller for longer, and make us less likely to overindulge.”

Best: Soft Pretzel

“A soft pretzel is about 450 calories, so if you share it with a friend and dip in mustard, it’s not a terrible choice,” Fuchs said. “Opt for a salt-free pretzel so that you are not overdoing the sodium. As an added bonus, mustard is rich in the minerals selenium and magnesium, and is also a lesser-known source of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.”

Best: Sushi

Believe it or not, sushi is becoming a popular option at the stadium. “Some places even have a brown rice option,” Fuchs said. “Just make sure you couple your sushi with some low-sodium soy sauce and go easy on the fried tempura rolls. Stick to rolls that are plain and simple, like salmon and avocado, shrimp and cucumber, or sushi pieces and sashimi.”