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Snacking at Sports Events, Plus Fast-Food Bargain or Bust?
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Snacking at Sports Events, Plus Fast-Food Bargain or Bust?

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11.03.10
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Hi HG,

What are some good food options at sporting events? Do concession stands have anything that isn't super-fattening?

Food Fan

Hi Food Fan,

I've got great news for you! These days, plenty of ballparks, stadiums, arenas, etc., are offering guilt-free food options. I've seen everything from salads and fruit cups to sushi rolls (eeks!?) and soup bowls. The tricky part can be tracking them down. My advice? Roam the stadium to find the best concessions. This is a MUCH better plan than relying on those vendors who stroll through the stands yelling about peanuts and hot dogs. So take a walk (bonus points for the exercise!) and survey all the choices. And don't wait until you're famished, or you're likely to wind up scarfing down the first thing you see. For meal-type food, seek out a grilled chicken salad with salsa. If you want something sweet, skip the Baby Ruths and opt for fat-free cotton candy. If you NEED a beer, stick to the light kind and save about 50 calories per pint. And if it's carbs you crave, go for a soft pretzel (if it's HUGE, share it with a pal) rather than nachos. I also like to smuggle in my own treats: sweet-n-salty snack bars with reasonable stats, baby carrots, jerky, and freeze-dried fruit are all good. I'm not sure why, but chewy and crunchy snacks are especially satisfying at sporting events. Also, CLICK HERE for an article I did for the New York Times about the food at Yankee Stadium, featuring a slew of shockingly bad selections (and some good options!). The most frightening find? A 1,066-calorie antipasto at a deli stand! And CLICK HERE to see what I scoped out at Nationals Park in DC. A turkey wrap got the thumbs-down, but a chili find scored big. HAVE FUN, FOOD FAN!

Hungry Girl,

I really want to try the new Wendy's Pick 2 combos -- are they deceptive or diet friendly?

Skeptical Sarah

Hi Sarah,

I'm really glad you asked this. For $4.99, the two-item custom combo is a good deal, but that doesn't mean it's a calorie bargain. Some of these items have fantastic stats while others are pretty awful in the calorie and fat departments. The good news is that a couple of tweaks can make a HUGE difference. Here are a few of the best choices -- mix 'n match!

Half-Size Apple Pecan Chicken Salad - The fruity dressing and the nuts come on the side, which is great. If you use just the dressing, this salad's stats will come to 240 calories and 9g fat (PointsPlus® value 6*) -- perfect if you plan to pair it with another food-type item. (Plus you get a pack of pecans for a snack later!) Or add the pecans too and pair the salad with a no-guilt drink -- then it'll come to 350 calories and 18g fat (PointsPlus® value 9*). The other three half-size salads have 230 - 280 calories and 13 - 17g fat before the dressing and crunchy extras. If you decide to get one of those, you might want to request the Pomegranate Vinaigrette, since it has WAY fewer calories and fat grams than the other standard dressings.

Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger - If you order this without mayo and sans cheese, you'll have a bacon burger for 300 calories and 13g fat (PointsPlus® value 8*). Or skip the mayo and the bacon, and you've got a cheeseburger with 290 calories and 13g fat (PointsPlus® value 7*). Or ditch all three for a basic burger with just 250 calories and 10g fat (PointsPlus® value 6*). Nice!

Small Chili - Without the extras (cheese and crackers), this hearty stuff has 180 calories and 5g fat (PointsPlus® value 4*). It'll have 250 calories and 11g fat (PointsPlus® value 6*) with the cheese. (Worth it? You decide.) And if you want those saltines, just go for it -- only 20 calories!

Grilled Chicken Wrap, HG-Style - Request mustard and ketchup instead of honey mustard, and this'll have about 240 calories and 7g fat (PointsPlus® value 6*). Not bad! But don't actually order it "HG-Style," because they won't have a clue what you're talking about...

BTW, you can also get a bottle of water or a small diet soda as one of your two items -- both good choices. Things to stay away from? The oversized baked potatoes; spicy, a.k.a. fried, chicken (whether in salads or wraps); and those delicious-yet-fattening Frostys (unless you get a junior!). There you go... Happy chewing!

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Today, November 3rd, is National Sandwich Day. Click here to see our delicious no-guilt swap for a crazy-fattening turkey sandwich sold at Jack in the Box... DO IT!

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*The PointsPlus® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.

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