It is hard to envision a summer season without picturing a visit to your county or state fair. Although the fair is known for deep fried everything and oversized portions, it is possible to indulge in your favorite treats while still maintaining healthy habits.
If you are considering a visit to your county or state fair, here are 10 tips for eating healthy while you are there:
1. Bring along a healthy snack
Packing a healthy snack for your trip to the fair is a good way to ensure you add nutritional value to whichever meal you choose. Snacks such as fruits and veggies are easy to pack and will pair well with almost any food item you are in the mood for.
2. Snack before you go
Don’t want to worry about taking your snack with you? No problem! Give yourself time before you head for the fair to sit down and enjoy a snack. Having a healthy snack before you go to the fair will take the edge off of your appetite, and you will be less tempted to opt for larger portions.
3. Don’t drink your calories
The fair is notorious for sugary lemonades, delicious milkshakes made from whole milk, and sweet slushies. These are all tasty options, but if you are planning to enjoy a meal while you’re at the fair, and are wanting to keep it on the healthy side as much as possible, try to avoid calorie heavy beverages.
Consider low calorie beverages to pair with your meal such as water, unsweetened tea, or iced coffee.
4. Make substitutions
Yes, the fair is known for all of its deep fried foods. However, you can still have delicious meals that aren’t fried and won’t make you feel guilty later. Try substituting grilled or roasted meat, such as chicken kabobs, in for the fried tenderloin.
The fair also offers vegetable options that make for great sides, such as roasted corn on the cob–a much lighter option than a fried onion blossom.
5. Go easy on the condiments
A simple way to keep keep your fair food on the healthy side is to take it easy on the condiments. Condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise are high in added sugar and do not add much in the way of nutritional value.
Pickles and/or salsa are good options for dressing up your meal without adding empty calories.
6. Sit down to eat
Sitting down to eat may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about healthy eating habits. However, when you sit down to eat, you instantly cut out the temptation to graze your way through the various food vendors, and you are able to enjoy your meal in a mindful way.
There’s no better way to practice portion control than sharing your favorite fair food with your friends. Sharing allows everyone to sample fair favorites without overdoing it.
8. Make a food wishlist
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the high volume of food vendors that line the fair, and jump in line at the first vendor you come across. Try making a list of the types of food you know you want to eat before you go, and then give yourself time to scope out vendors who offer the type of food you desire.
Most vendors have their menus posted outside of their food truck making it easier to find the food you are looking for.
9. Go early
Since our appetites tend to be lower in the morning, it can be beneficial to attend the fair of a morning when you are less likely to be tempted by food.
10. Drink plenty of water
Drinking water while you are at the fair will help to keep you energized as you peruse through the various vendor stands. Water will also help your caloric intake as it keeps you feeling full and is a good substitute for higher caloric beverages.