Eating Healthy at the Fair

One of my favorite parts about the summer is going to my local fair. As someone somewhat far removed from the rural areas of America, I find it pretty neat to see farm animals face-to-face and learn about local agriculture. But let’s face it – that’s not all there is to see. I always drop some money playing carnival games, maybe check out a few rides, and indulge in some of the food offerings you can only get at the fair.

Every summer, the food options at the fair leave me with the same internal struggle: do I want to maintain my healthy diet or splurge on some greasy goodness? While it’s definitely OK to “cheat” once in a while, I find myself at the fair multiple times during its tenure. One day of garbage isn’t the end of the world, but what do I turn to when I have to eat healthy?

After a few years of fair-going, I’ve compiled a list of 5 go-to’s when I want to grab a healthy bite:

  1. Chicken dinner. While finding the local BBQ chicken stand is not as enticing as a deep-fried donut burger, your stomach and arteries will thank you for choosing the chicken dinner. Many BBQ chicken dinners serve up grilled chicken breast sandwiches, which are always a good option. But sometimes, you can only get a half-chicken meal. In that case – if you can muster it – scrape off the skin and eat the meat underneath! It’s a lower fat and healthier option than most of the entrees you’ll find at the fair – and a solid BBQ chicken is still something difficult to replicate at home.
  2. Kettle corn. When I want a snack or something sweet, I usually turn to kettle corn. Sure, there’s sugar, but the popcorn underneath is low-calorie making this one of the lower-calorie options you can find at the fair.
  3. Kebob. Kebobs are actually one of the healthiest options you can find at the fair. My favorite usually comes from the Greek tents. You can find some nicely marinated chicken, beef, or lamb on a kebob paired with tomatoes, onions, and other fun veggies. It’s a filling treat that’s actually not too terrible for you.
  4. Corn on the cob. One of the staples of most fairs, it’s pretty easy to find grilled corn on the cob. Lighten up on the butter and you’ve got yourself a fairly healthy side to your meal. It’s honestly no different than grilling corn at home, but you look way cooler carrying around an ear of corn on the midway than you do in your backyard.
  5. Chocolate-dipped fruit. When I’m hankering for some kind of sweet dessert, I turn away from the ice cream and elephant ears and look towards frozen, chocolate-dipped fruit. Chocolate covered bananas and chocolate covered strawberries are great alternatives. The only “bad” thing is the chocolate – so technically you’re even being super healthy by getting a serving of fruit!

What are your healthy food options that you turn to at the fair? What are some of the strangest fair foods that you’ve seen? Let me know down in the comments or on Instagram!


Feature Photo by John Jackson on Unsplash

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