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Nutrition

The Best Foods to Eat at Sporting Events If You Have Heartburn

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People enjoying a sporting event

There’s just something about going to a sporting event that makes you want to indulge in some not-so-healthy food. You’re sitting in the stadium, cheering on your team, breathing in the fresh air…when suddenly the smell of fried chicken wafts by, and then the person next to you starts chowing down on a chili cheese dog, making your mouth water.

But while those kinds of foods might taste great in the moment, they don’t always make you feel so good afterwards—especially if you tend to suffer from heartburn. That’s because while there isn’t a list of foods that cause reflux in everyone, a lot of stadium fare falls in the list of common potential triggers for it. On top of that, it’s easy to overeat at games and the stress from seeing your team play can make symptoms worse.

That doesn’t mean you have to pack your own salad or skip eating at stadiums completely. Instead, get to know some of the common foods and drinks that can cause heartburn, as well as what safer options might look like. That knowledge will help you navigate the offerings knowing you’re doing everything you can to keep heartburn at bay. And if you have frequent heartburn (meaning you get heartburn two or more days per week), taking a medication like Nexium 24HR can help protect you from its symptoms (check the label for full instructions).

Foods to Avoid

Common heartburn triggers include alcohol, carbonated and caffeinated drinks, fatty foods, spicy dishes, tomato products, and onions. That covers a lot of common stadium food: buffalo chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken wings, nachos, onion rings, and chili cheese dogs are all firmly on the “better off avoided” list, as well as beer and soda.

Foods to Enjoy

Don’t worry, though. There are still plenty of options to eat (stadiums are huge, after all!). The key is remembering to look for high protein and low-fat options. Another way to think about it is to ask yourself if a food is relatively healthy. If the answer is yes, order away. Obviously, specific offerings vary depending on the location, but here are a few items to keep an eye out for:

  • veggie burgers or turkey burgers (which may be available at the same cheeseburger stand your friends are hitting)
  • grilled chicken sandwiches
  • grilled fish tacos
  • wraps
  • salads

 

Some newer stadiums even have food courts with options like rotisserie chicken or sushi! When in doubt, ask an usher where you can find vegan, Kosher, or gluten-free options, as you may be more likely to find some healthier options at the stands for special diets. 

For snacks, think popcorn (without the coating of movie theater butter or sugary glaze that comes on kettle corn) or fresh fruit. Peanuts are also a smart option. You have to crack them open one at a time, which keeps you from mindlessly shoving your hand in a box until you’ve over-eaten. Lastly, you’ll want to stick to drinking water for most of the game; it will also keep you hydrated, which is especially important on hot game days!

Instead of being frustrated that you can’t just eat all the ballpark favorites, try to think of it as a fun challenge. Get there a little early and take a lap around the stadium before the game gets underway —you’ll get some steps in for the day, too.