Game Day

University of Texas: 33

Iowa State University 7

Fans 3

 

I take pity on anyone who asks me to join them for a meal. It’s nearly impossible for me to suspend my intense occupation with food and sometimes, which must at times be almost unbearable, if not embarrassing.  My hosts at this weekend’s football game put up with my challenge to find healthy food at the stadium. At University of Texas at Austin Darrel K. Royal Stadium that weekend, the Longhorn football team emerged the victor over its rival, Iowa State University. But the fans lost when it came to eating a healthy meal.

If, while spending four hours watching the game, you become hungry, you are provided traditional fare for game day: popcorn, corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and French fries. But what if you’ve begun to care more about your diet, spend time at farmers markets, and hear how your food choices will either extend your life or lead to obesity or diabetes?

You prowl the stadium for a few green leaves that could resemble a salad or at least one yogurt or fruit smoothie stand. Alas, you will search the multiple floors of the stadium with little to show for your good intentions. Not only are hot dogs, pizza, and BBQ on fluffy white rolls ubiquitous, they are expensive. The standard price for a hot dog is $4 and a 44-ounce drink is $6. Forty-four ounce drink? What would Bloomburg do?

We decided to see if we could turn up some green lettuce or a tofu wrap. And we succeeded. One food truck, hunkered down on the visitor side of the stadium offered tofu tacos. And in the food court outside the end zone, Starbucks, a sushi stand, a local hamburger purveyor, and Quiznos offered their “game day menu,” which included at least a variation of their signature dishes The lines were shorter at these stands and the servers were delighted when even a short queue appeared. A lonely ice cream stand stood in the corner of the end zone area, offering scoops of locally made ice cream with flavors such as Madagascar vanilla, double dark chocolate and, oops, cotton candy.

Feeling sorry for the sushi guys, I purchased two California rolls for my husband and I (Total=$20). As I carried the sushi through the stadium on my way back to our seats, three members of the stadium security staff stopped to ask where I got the sushi, assuming that I must have brought in from outside the stadium. (The stadium regulations state that no food or beverages purchased outside can be brought into the stadium.)  The security guards quickly remembered the sushi vendor but after the third encounter, it was apparent that the sushi had become a security risk.

No wonder. A cursory look at what others were eating made it clear that French fries were the standard fare. The good news is that the stadium food managers made an effort to provide a few healthy options; the not so good news is that the spectators that day really want the dogs, burgers, and fries. So let’s not say that the fans lose when it comes to food options as at Darrell K. Royal Stadium; lets just say that they scored three, representing at least the sushi guys, Quiznos, and a hidden cooler behind one pretzel vendor stand that had some lonely whole wheat bread sandwiches.  And not to pile on, but the only ones getting any exercise that day, were the guys on the field.

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