Gluten Free at the Ballpark | Rachel Begun, MS, RD

Guest Blog Post By: Alexandra Oppenheimer, RD

The Gluten Free RD here–I’d like to thank Alex, today’s guest blogger, for writing this post.  She does not have Celiac Disease nor is gluten sensitive, but took a lot of time to research this topic, ask questions of me, and write a post that would be truly helpful to the gluten free community.  I think she did a great job of accomplishing that.  Happy Opening Day all you baseball fans!

 

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME!  The stadium gates are open, the stands are packed and the concession stands are filled. While trips to the ballpark (Go Yankees—sorry, had to go there) are a blast, concessions packed with gluten-containing foods can be quite scary.  But I have good news to share!  With increasing awareness and advocacy, ballparks are becoming more accommodating to the needs of the gluten free! 

Whereas the food at stadiums used to be off limits, now there are more options.  Many stadiums across the country are now serving gluten free snacks, hot dogs (with gluten free buns) and beer, so everyone can enjoy the stadium’s offerings.  While there are gluten free options available, that does not necessarily mean they are always safe to eat.  Ask the same questions you normally do at restaurants and cafes and pay heed to your instincts. Here are some things to consider before ordering a tray of food:

  • Are you purchasing gluten free foods from a dedicated concession stand, or are gluten-containing foods being prepared in the same area?
  • Are the employees trained and knowledgeable about celiac disease and gluten cross-contamination?
  • Is it a packaged food item?  These are probably OK at a non-dedicated stand if you will be the first to handle them.  (Note: Monitor for cross-contamination if employee are required to open the package for you.) 

New York Yankees

If after doing your homework and asking these questions you decide the food offered by the stadium is not safe,  look into the stadium’s policy on bringing in foods. Many ballparks allow you to bring in your own snacks.  Coolers and alcohol are usually NOT allowed, so keep this in mind when planning out your day.  Try to have a meal before you head into the stadium, so you are not too hungry inside and can stick to portable snacks while in the stadium.  You can, however, bring a cooler in your car to eat perishables before the game.  Some great snacks to bring into the stadium are homemade popcorn, nuts, homemade trail mix, fruit, gluten free snack bars, cookies or crackers.  Remember, you will likely eat the majority of whatever you bring in, so pack in moderation!  Also, no throwing half-eaten fruit at the opposing team.

Here are a few gluten free friendly stadiums with resources on how to find their gluten free fare:

New York Mets: Citi Field has a Kozy Shack Gluten Free Stand on the Field Level within the World’s Fare Market.  This stand is said to have Kozy Shack pudding, hot dogs, burgers, beer and more. 

*Minnesota Twins: Target Field has gluten-free products at various concession stands. 

*Seattle Mariners: Safeco Field has Gluten Free Awareness Night on Friday, August 26th, 2011 (that night is also fleece blanket night)! 

*Philadelphia Phillies: Citizens Bank Park has foods like hot dogs on a gluten free buns, barbecue and gluten free beer. 

*Chicago White Sox: U.S. Cellular Field has gluten free options at a variety of concession stands. 

*Chicago Cubs: Wrigley Field just announced they are offering Enjoy Life Foods gluten free/allergy friendly foods. 

* Make sure to clarify that the stands are dedicated gluten free.

Many other stadiums also offer gluten free options, so be sure to check your favorite team’s website or contact the concession managers before game time!  Last year’s press release from ARAMARK, a food service provider, announced a number of ballparks with gluten free offerings.  As baseball season gets started and May (National Celiac Awareness Month) draws nearer, I’m sure we’ll hear from more parks about their gluten free fare. 

 What gluten-free experiences have you had at the ballpark?

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6 Responses to Gluten Free at the Ballpark

  1. John says:

    Hi and thanks for making the effort to describe the terminlogy towards the rookies!

  2. Martina says:

    Helpful related information! I have been searching for something such as this for quite a while currently. Excellent!

  3. Pingback: A Hot Dog for Every BallPark | Kettle's Edibles

  4. Pingback: Homemade Gluten Free Hot Dogs | Gluten Allergy

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