Can Concession Stands be Healthy?

This past weekend, my daughters and I had the honor of being in charge of our end-of-season tournament concession stand. We’ve helped out before, but this time, all products and items for purchase were up to us. As a health coach, one of my biggest concerns is the foods young athletes eat while playing anywhere from 1 to 5 or more games in a single day. The fuel they get is critical to how they will perform in those games. So, to say I was excited to take on this challenge was an understatement. While my 2 younger girls were playing and couldn’t help much till they got done, my older daughter was who took charge and invited a friend to help her. She was a real trooper, too – staying for two straight days. All in all, we had an absolute blast! Not only were people pleased with our selection, we had the usual treats as well so that we didn’t get thrown out of the park!

One of the first goals of mine in taking on this job was to add a few healthy options to the menu. The usual items of pretzels or nachos with cheese were still there. We still had candy and soda. But, I wanted to experiment! I contacted a local mom and pop restaurant and asked if they would give us a deal on their amazing sandwiches. They were happy to oblige and we added them to an amazing “sack lunch” deal where our customers got a 3-inch sandwich, a piece of fruit (apple, banana, grapes, or clementine) or carrots & hummus, a granola bar, and drink. This was hugely popular because it was cheaper than any fast food option and the food included was the perfect size for the kids playing and watching the games!

The addition of the fruit was a huge success. Next time, I may handle the bananas slightly differently, as it was a pretty warm weekend and by the end of the first day, the portions of the banana that the sun could see began to get mushy. The most popular fruits by far were apples and grapes. For the grapes, we washed and packaged them in small plastic bags and weighed out 6 ounces. They were the perfect portion and the players kept coming back for more and more! In fact, we sold out of them the first day and decided to get a few more the day after. Big win. I brought my apple slicer, too, so we could slice apples on request, which was a real hit when the kids were in a hurry!

We added granola bars and the carrots and hummus, too, as well as 100% fruit juice boxes. People were impressed with the variety of our options.

 

We even got super creative and used a hanging shoe rack to contain our candies. It freed up a lot of counter space and gave the smaller kids the ability to see all that we had available.

 

We are looking forward to the opportunity to help with the concession stand again! And are hopeful that word travels fast about the different healthy options we brought with us. I think that if more stands followed suit, players all across the country would be happy about forgetting to pack something to eat.