5 Tips on Eating Healthy at Your Local Fair
The cool, crisp air will soon be filled with the tantalizing
scent of fried candy bars, funnel cakes and candy apples. Local and state fairs
may offer thrilling rides and fun games, but perhaps the biggest attraction is
“For many of us, a trip to the fair isn’t complete without
at least one deep-fried treat,” said Annette Frain, registered dietitian at
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Who can blame us? Fair food tastes
delicious and tends to bring back fond childhood memories. But it’s important
to remember that the calories can add up quickly.”
Frain estimates that one giant turkey leg comes in at 1,140
calories, a funnel cake at 760 calories and a fried Snickers bar at 450
“You can see how easy it is consume a day’s worth of
calories in a short amount of time,” Frain said. “But that’s no reason not to
go to the fair. Just reason to eat in moderation when you’re there.”
Before digging in, Frain offers tips on how to enjoy the
food at the fair without going overboard:
- Stay hydrated: Bring an empty water bottle that you can fill
at a water fountain. Drinking plenty of water not only satisfies your thirst
but also fills you up so you’re less likely to make poor food choices.
- Don’t arrive hungry: Make sure to eat before you go. The
smells of the fair foods cooking can quickly derail any hopes of control.
- Look for healthier alternatives: Instead of buying food at
the first place you see, scope out all of your options. Higher-protein foods
like chicken or steak kebobs help keep you fuller longer. A lower-calorie treat
is roasted corn on the cob.
- Share the fare: If everyone wants a turkey leg, pull off the
skin and share it. It’s simple math: one-fourth of a calorie-dense treat is
better than the whole.
- Practice mindful eating: Yes, even at the fair. By sitting
down and paying attention to what you are eating, you will be less likely to
“A small portion of your favorite fair food once a year
isn’t going to hurt you,” Frain said. “For me, I would much rather have just a
taste than have to work hard over the next week to make up for my short time at