While it may seem impossible when you're surrounded by battered and fried food on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair, it is possible to make healthy food choices.
Jennifer Menk and Cassie Rood with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities joined us at the KARE Barn with tips for making smarter food options at the state fair.
1. Skip the dip. Resist the urge to soak up the added butter, sauces, dips and glazes. Often the food item is just as good (or better) without the added dressings. Spare the added calories altogether or save them for your favorite indulgence.
2. Suggest a fair share. Plan to share splurges like this year's must-sample new foods with a friend (or two). Rather than eating all of everything you want, try eating a smaller portion of the things you want most. Sometimes a bite or two can be satisfying enough
3. Water while you wait (and walk). Yes, the State Fair is a lot of good food, but don't wait until it's too late to hydrate. Drink plenty of water while you wait between meals, while in line and while walking throughout the fairgrounds.
4. Feed your brain. Take the emphasis off of food and place it on enjoying the experiences and people (especially family and friends). The State Fair has various arts, science, agriculture, entertainment and plenty of new exhibits and experiences to enjoy.
5. Choose healthier helpings. Look for vendors that offer things like fresh fruits, frozen yogurt, pickled or roasted veggies on a stick and grilled fish or lean meats. Making healthier food choices might be easier to do when you consider what it takes to walk off the treats you do splurge on. For example:
State Fair Food Calories Steps (to burn calories) Miles (to burn calories)
Corn on the cob 150 3,000 1.5
Corn dog 260 5,200 2.6
Pork chop on a stick 290 5,800 2.8
33-ounce regular soda 400 8,000 4
Deep-fried Snickers 450 9,000 4.5
Cheese curds 650 13,000 6.5
Funnel cake 720 14,400 7.2
Giant turkey leg 1,140 22,800 11.4