Healthy stadium food? Chef José Andrés battles childhood obesity

Spanish chef José Andrés is often credited with bringing small plates dining to America with his famed restaurants, minibar in Washington, D.C., and é in Las Vegas, Nevada. What you probably didn't know about the chef, though, is that he is dedicated to making America's stadium food healthier. I think the attention he's bringing to this cultural institution is absolutely necessary. The handful of times that I attended a baseball or hockey game, the food options were pretty minimal. It was either a hot dog, hamburger or pizza. If you wanted just a snack, your only real options are butter-soaked popcorn or french fries. So how can we keep America healthy while serving up junk during out favorite pastime?


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During a Politico Playlist breakfast this weekend, host Mike Allen gathered Green Bay Packers cornerback and noted do-gooder Charles Woodson and recent Time 100 honoree José Andrés. When Charles asked José how the two can collaborate, José had a very pointed answer about making stadium food healthier:

When you go to watch a baseball game, when you go to watch an NBA game, when you watch an NFL game, when you go to watch movies, the offering that those arenas are doing foodwise is 'all the hot dogs you can eat'; all the French fries you can eat; for $20 you can eat 20 hot dogs. You guys are, for us, the gods of Olympus . . . You send so many good messages of working hard, of reaching for the stars, of healthy lifestyles. . . . To me it is completely out of sync that when you go to watch your favorite players perform at their best, in the process of watching them reach for greatness, we are making America fat. It doesn't make sense. . . . What would you do to change that? Young kids are looking to you for inspiration, but then the NFL, the NBA, the stadiums are these money-making machines of fat and fries.

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I think José Andrés is right when it comes to the issue of stadium food being unhealthy. He makes a very good point about the hypocrisy of watching healthy athletes while letting our children gorge on junk food. And the problem is that, even if they wanted to, parents won't have many options for buying healthy food in stadiums. So what are we all to do? Support José Andrés as he battles childhood obesity by getting healthier food into stadiums. If we're going to spend hours on America's favorite pastime, then I at least want to be able to have a salad instead of a cheeseburger if I choose to.

Do you agree with chef José Andrés that stadium food needs to be healthier in order to help stop the childhood obesity epidemic?

Image via theqspeaks/flickr

Topics: latino health  overweight