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July 11, 2019 | 3 minute read

Play Ball! AICR’s Guide to Cancer Prevention at the Ballpark

Summer is heating up, and so is baseball season. From little league games to professional stadiums, baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes. Here, AICR breaks down some of the most popular ballpark foods and offers some healthier alternatives to make sure you cover all the bases in eating a delicious, cancer-protective diet.

Hot Dog with Bun
There’s no denying that a hot dog is the most quintessential ballpark meal, but it’s also a major strikeout. Hot dogs are processed meat, which increases your risk of colorectal cancer. To reduce your risk of cancer, AICR recommends eating little, if any, processed meat. Instead, you can try a turkey burger or look for another healthy alternative that includes lean, unprocessed meats in a moderate portion.  

baseball park

Personal Pepperoni Pizza
According to a 2014 USDA study, the average American gets about one-third of their tomatoes from pizza. As a fruit, tomatoes provide fiber, vitamin C and lycopene and can be an important component in a healthy, cancer-protective diet. When you consider the additional calories and fat traditionally found in a personal pan pizza, you quickly realize there are healthier pizza choices. Also, pepperoni is a processed meat that should be avoided. Instead go for a slice of cheese or veggie pizza and enjoy a side salad filled with veggies to keep you full while you root, root, root for the home team.

During the dog days of summer, you might crave something a little sweeter than water. Lemonade —along with other sugary beverages—is readily available at almost all sports events. However, lemonade is generally only about 15 percent lemon juice, with a lot of added sugar. Sugary beverages, even the ones masquerading as “natural” choices, are a significant contributor to obesity nationwide. AICR recommends limiting your intake of these beverages to avoid weight gain and the increased cancer risk that comes with having extra weight. Instead, opt for infused water or unsweetened or lightly sweetened iced tea. And, as always, avoid alcohol. Alcohol is linked with seven cancers and can contribute to weight gain; body fatness is linked with 12 cancers. Three strikes!

Popcorn can be a nutritious snack choice. However, popcorn served at stadiums and movie theaters tends to be served in large portions with added buttery topping. Despite being touted as a snack, the calories in just a small portion of ballpark popcorn can add up to be as much as a meal. If you do decide to go for the popcorn, skip the bucket and get the smallest size, and share it with your fellow baseball fans. Many baseball stadiums also allow you to bring in outside food, as long as it’s sealed. Look up the rules at the stadium you’re planning to go to, if it’s allowed, bring some fresh fruit, or make some trail mix to bring to the game for snacking.

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