State Fairs have been a place to enjoy junk food since the early part of the 20th century. In fact, they were probably the only place to find these foods at that time, which made them a true treat once a year. These days, we are bombarded by junk food at the grocery store, concessions stands, fast food joints, and social functions, so the excuse “Well, I just eat this once a year at the Fair” probably isn’t cutting it.

I want you to enjoy your County or State Fair, but don’t go overboard.  Follow my tips before you head out the door to the Fair this year:

  • Try to think about which treat you really want before you go, and then stick to that plan
  • Do as much walking as you can while you’re there
  • In fact, Fair Week is not a good time to skip your regular exercise. If anything, ramp it up!
  • Share a treat with your whole family. Instead of pigging out on a four funnel cakes (and maybe throwing some away), buy one and share
  • Arrive to the Fair hydrated by drinking adequate water before you go and while you’re there
  • Think balance – sure there’s loads of high fat options, but at least go for a sandwich, instead of just sweets for instance
  • Allow one deep fried item only
  • Eat lightly at home the day you’re going to the Fair. Be sure to include eat some fruits and veggies at home – snack on fruit, raw veggies with a hummus, or have a tossed salad for lunch

Here’s my estimate for calories (and some for fat) in some common Fair Foods (you’ll see why I recommend “share”):

Chili cheese dog, 350 calories (17 grams fat)

Nachos with cheese, 300 calories (17 grams fat)

Funnel Cake, 250-300 calories (15-20 grams fat)

Sausage sandwich with peppers, 650 (40 g fat)

Kettle Corn, 2 cups, 80 calories

Fried Snickers Bar, 450 calories (30 grams fat)

Deep Fried Chocolate Chip Cookie dough, 180 calories each, 12 grams fat

Deep Fried Oreo®, 95 calories per cookie

Lemonade, 12 ounces, 225 calories

A slice of cheese pizza, 250 calories (10 grams fat)

Cotton candy, 100 per ounce calories (0 fat)

Medium ice cream cone, 350 calories (9 grams fat)