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Is fair food healthy? It depends on the choice

A trip to the county fair wouldn’t be complete without fair food like deep-fried cheese curds, cotton candy or a funnel cake, but are these foods healthy?

Don’t worry – you don’t have to skip the cream puff.

“You go to the fair to treat yourself, but it’s a matter of not overdoing it,” Marshfield Clinic Health System dietitian Ashley Short said. “You don’t want to leave feeling remorse about what you’ve eaten.”

Fair food may taste delicious, but overindulging will leave you feeling sluggish. You may see the scale inching upward if you do it several weekends in a row.

Next time you’re at the fair, try these tips to enjoy your favorite foods without overindulging.

Fit fair food into your diet

  • Have a treat or two. Pick one or two fair foods you’ve really been looking forward to and indulge on those instead of snacking all day long, Short said.
  • Eat a healthful meal at home beforehand. Go to the fair hungry and you’ll find yourself eating more high-calorie foods than you expected.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirst often is mistaken for hunger.
  • Share food. Pick something the whole family can enjoy and split it.
  • Swap fried or sugary foods for more healthful options with vegetables or protein. A bratwurst, french fries, a medium soda with deep-fried Oreos for dessert packs a 2,500-calorie punch. Short suggested having water instead of a soda and a side salad (if available) instead of fries. Try corn on the cob without butter, a pickle or a soft pretzel instead of something deep-fried.
  • Keep moving. Walking around the fairgrounds will burn some of the extra calories you consume.

How do your favorite fair foods stack up?

Knowing how many calories are in your fair favorites may help you decide when to splurge, share a plate or skip it.

You may be surprised at how your favorite fair foods stack up.

7 responses to “Is fair food healthy? It depends on the choice”

  1. Rose

    Cream puff? where? Elephant ear? Guess that means -0- calories! 🙂

  2. Josh Dick

    I liked this short, interactive, currently applicable email. Nicely done. Keep up the great work!!!

  3. Patti

    I am suprised by the Gyro's numbers I always thought of that as a healthy choice.

    1. Kathleen Hasenohrl

      I also liked the gyros and thought them a healthy choice. Maybe I can take half home.

      1. Jake Miller

        That's a great approach. I'm a big fan of the gyros, too. Our dietitians talk regularly about the importance of portion control being such an integral part of a healthy diet.

  4. Melissa

    Yes! Some of my favorites (corn on the cob, and caramel apples) are lower on the list. I don't even want to know about the cheese curds. They are too good to pass up on!

    1. Sheri

      I agree Melissa! Sometimes you just have to indulge a little, as long as it's a rare treat! 🙂

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