County fair food: How to make healthy food choices

Stroll the fair midway for healthier food choices.

Fair season is here and for health consciousCounty fair fair-goers finding healthy food choices are next to impossible. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following tips that can help you make better fair food choices:

  • Don't arrive hungry. Eat before you go so you can limit your food to a few treats instead of grazing on food all day.
  • Go early in the morning, when you may be less likely to be enticed by the aromas of food.
  • Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated, especially when the weather is hot.
  • Check out all the offerings first, then choose three items over the course of the day.
  • Ask for an extra plate and share your food choices. This way, you can taste a variety of food without doing too much damage.

 According to the Calorie King website, fair food can range from 400 to 1,300 calories and 20 to 60 grams of fat per serving. Fair food is deep fried prepared in high amounts of butter, cheese, whipped cream and too much salt. Iowa State University Extension experts say a 150-pound person must walk one mile to burn off calories from consuming cotton candy; three miles for cheese on a stick; four miles for a corn-dog; five miles for a fried candy bar and 11 miles for a gigantic turkey leg.

There are a few healthier food options among corn dogs, funnel cake, cheese nachos, french fries, etc. Look for grilled foods like chicken, leaner cuts of meats like Philly steaks (without the cheese sauce), sandwich wraps, kebab’s, corn on the cob and sweet treats like fresh fruit, frozen yogurt, bananas, small portions of ice-cream and lemonade. Consider bringing your own healthy snack food as most fairs allow people to bring food. Pack water, unsweetened and low calorie beverages and include fresh fruit and veggies to nibble on. Remember to split and share those extremely large specialty fair items (like elephant ears!) with friends. Planning and having a strategy in place can help you make healthier choices as you walk the fair midway.

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