Buy me some peanuts and...veggie dogs? Helping baseball fans eat better

Published April 9, 2014

Baseball is America’s pastime, but when it comes to making healthy choices at the ballpark, many fans strike out.  When presented with a smorgasbord of goodies, from donut burgers to pretzels the size of home plate, it’s easy to go from “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks” to “but it’s wrapped in bacon!”

It’s an all-too-familiar struggle for the more than one-third of U.S. adults who are obese and face an abundance of decadent dishes everywhere they go.  Obesity puts people at higher risk for potentially life-threatening ailments like heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, and opting for a sodium-filled ballpark frank and nachos dripping in saturated fat can be a setback to fans trying to maintain a healthy diet. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies are committed to helping people across America live healthier lives, but that doesn’t mean cutting out precious pastimes like grabbing a bite to eat at the ballpark. It means creating more fun, healthy options to snack on while rooting for the home team!  Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is leading the way to bring more healthy choices to ballpark concession stands, and they’ve teamed up with three of New Jersey’s minor league baseball teams to do it.

Horizon BCBSNJ opened Horizon Healthy Plate concession stands at the home ballparks of the Camden Riversharks, Lakewood BlueClaws and Trenton Thunder.  Fans at every game are now able to find nutritious alternatives to the traditional ballpark fare, like a turkey burger on a whole wheat bun, a vegetarian hot dog and baked potatoes with broccoli instead of French fries.

The process of creating the menu was a collaboration between the nutrition experts at Horizon BCBSNJ and the baseball experts at each franchise.  Horizon BCBSNJ presented the teams with a series of menu options that are heart-healthy and nutritious (low in calories and sodium) without sacrificing taste.  The ball clubs, in turn, suggested specific menu items that could be the healthy equivalent of typical ballpark fare. 

Each item is affordably priced and includes caloric and other nutritional information – and made a big splash.  During the grand openings of the Horizon Healthy Plate concession stands, the Horizon BCBSNJ team passed out more than 1,500 free samples and interacted with more than 1,800 baseball fans.

The Horizon Healthy Plate concession stand has been endorsed by the New Jersey Department of Health and its Shaping NJ program, a public/private partnership for nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. 

There’s no grand slam that will end the obesity epidemic in America, but this program is an effective - and tasty - example of The Power of Blue, The Blues® commitment to creating healthier communities.

To learn more about this and other Blue Cross Blue Shield community investments, download the full Investing in America’s Health report.