Corn dogs and cotton candy---what trip to the fair would be complete without them? Ask anyone what they enjoy most about the fair and many will say ---THE FOOD! The once a year treat can pack some big calories into your regular diet, so here are a few tips. Most of us know that the "Doughnut Burger" is probably a bad choice (1500 calories). However, we might be surprised by the better choices. Are you a sweet tooth person ? Or is it the salty snacks that you crave? Either way be prepared to amp up your exercise routine to "pay" for fair food.
So, just what are we talking about? What's a few fair treats going to hurt? Well, for example, the fried onion blossom will set you back 1320 calories! You can have one and then walk around the fairgrounds for 4 hours and 25 minutes to burn it off! Are funnel cakes your weakness? A plain one with powdered sugar topping has 760 calories; a measly 2 hours and 50 minutes will take care of its calories. At this rate the 620 calorie curly fries seem almost like health food! Pizza on a stick, fried butter, chocolate covered bacon, the list is endless. What is a better choice at the fair? Remember anything you eat at the fair is classified as a "Sometimes" food, rather than an "Everyday" food—so know that you will consume some extra calories and fat. That being said you might opt for cotton candy at 171 calories or a chocolate covered banana with the benefit of a serving of fruit and 240 calories. Actually in the deep fried category, corn dogs weigh in at 250 calories—that's much better than a doughnut burger!
Am I saying that you shouldn't eat at the fair?---Absolutely NOT! The fair comes once a year, treat yourself to your favorite. Just remember to plan the days around your fair trip accordingly---increase your fruits and veggies along with exercise. When you go to the fair walk around the grounds, visit the livestock and then the memory of your trip to the fair will not be a bigger pant size, rather a mental picture of a time well spent.
This post come from Mary Liz Wright, the Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving the counties of Clark, Crawford and Edgar. Wright's expertise is in food preservation, food safety, school gardens, school wellness, and communication/demonstration. Wright is the host of a series of cooking videos, "What's Cooking with Mary Liz Wright" featured on the U of I Extension website, http://web.extension.illinois.edu/, under the Youtube icon.