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Slimmer Pickings at the Park

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By Bonny Wolf
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The good news: Peanuts are high in protein and fiber. The bad news: an eight-ounce bag of salted-in-the-shell nuts is 1,280 calories. Ditto for Cracker Jack (420 calories in a 3.5-ounce bag).

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So what do you do if you want to eat healthfully at the game but don't want to cheer Ryan Zimmerman with baby carrots? You grab a Miller Lite and burn off some calories in search of alternatives to the deep-fat fryer. There are options.

HOME RUN
Spicy turkey chili $6
On the Fly
Half Street corridor

Outside food had to be smuggled into RFK. Not here. So stop at the lime-colored, bug-shaped cart with wings outside the stadium entrance and pick up a generous "ecotainer" of sweet, spicy turkey chili. They also sell a nice vegetable taco on a soft flour tortilla with cabbage, zucchini, onion, beans and fresh cilantro, served with a lime wedge and squirt of crema ($3, two for $5).

HIT
Maryland crab soup $7
Greek salad $7
Dupont Deli
Section 227

Crab soup is usually a good, low-fat choice, but this version was a bit thin, full of potatoes and only microscopic bits of crab. They tried. They just couldn't hit it out of the park. The Greek salad comes prepared and shrink-wrapped, like an airport salad. But it is very pleasant: fresh leaf lettuce, feta cheese, olives, cherry tomatoes, red onions and shaved carrots with a container of herb vinaigrette.

HIT
Gluten-free pretzel $6
Noah's Pretzels
Section 105

These are named for the owner's autistic son, and a percentage of the proceeds goes to fight autism. Toward that end, gluten-free, casein-free pretzels are sold. (Gluten may increase the severity of autism.) This is the go-to food for anyone with food allergies since the pretzel is made in a facility free from wheat, dairy, fish, shellfish, egg, soy, sesame, peanuts or tree nuts. It was a bit taste-free, too, however.

ERROR
Veggie or chicken burrito $9
Capitol Cantina
Section 130

Either of these might be fine, but there was so much confusion putting one together it's hard to say. They start with a whole wheat or guacamole tortilla, add a spoonful of sauteed onions and peppers and then build, according to taste, from ingredient bins: olives, jalapeños, pickles, cheese, sour cream and nice-looking pieces of cooked chicken. The result bore no resemblance to the order, however.

HIT
Veggie taco $8
Capitol Cantina
Section 130

Unlike the burrito, the taco here was just fine. Hard corn taco shells are filled with refried beans, salsa, lettuce, tomato, olives and guacamole.


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