Concession stand food is often the only option for amateur athletes and parents during day-long tournaments, and, unfortunately, most stands are bristling with foods that will sabotage your performance. Knowing this, you should have a plan of attack when you go to the concession stand, and a sense of what you want to order before you step up to the counter. Planning your meals and snacks will allow you to stay on track with your healthy eating habits and keep you feeling light and ready to perform throughout the day's events.
Rule 1: If the food does not expire within a year, it's probably not a great option. That should keep you away from processed foods and candy, which are usually little more than empty calories packed with preservatives.
Rule 2: Drink plenty of water. Athletes should drink about 4 ounces of water every 15 minutes during activity, aiming for a total between 80 and 120 ounces per day. Parents and fans should drink 0.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight (200 pounds = 100 ounces) per day.
Rule 3: Remember that protein-rich foods are important. This powerful macronutrient is known as the building block of the body. Protein assists the body with development and repair after a challenging game or meet. An easy concession stand option a few hours before a game would be water, 1/2 cup of peanuts, and a hamburger. If you're crunched for time between games, you can snack on a bag of peanut M&M's and wash it down with a bottle of water.
Parents and spectators, depending on their nutritional goals, need to decipher what they want to eat at the concession stand. Whatever your diet, you need to remember to eat. The idea is to keep your body hydrated and full of quality foods.
For handy reference, here is a list of items typically available at concession stands, ordered from best to worst.