The Nebraska State Fair begins Friday, Aug. 24, which means you will soon be overwhelmed by the fresh aromas of fried foods and farm animals.
Although fried food doesn’t pass my lips that often and I’m not an animal person, I LOVE the state fair!! I love the people watching, I love the Ferris wheel, I love checking out all the 4-H projects and I love the exhibition building where people sell the most random products (visors with spiky hair sprouting from the top! Come on!!).
While at the state fair it is inevitable, you will eat.
The state fair is not a friend to a healthy diet. Nearly everything is fried and served on a stick - fried cookie dough, fried bananas, fried Twinkies, corn dogs, fried Oreos, etc.
The newest on the list of fried fare - fried Girl Scout cookies and deep fried Kool-Aid. The fair will have nearly 70 food vendors this year.
So how do you navigate your way through this fried food fiasco?
- Plan ahead. Bring your own snacks. Pack some almonds, granola bars, bottled water, string cheese, etc.
- Eat before. Go right after lunch or dinner and eat a healthy meal before you head to the fair. If you’re full, you’ll be less likely to head for the food carts.
- Pick a splurge. The state fair is the only place around here you can get authentic falafel, so that is always my food splurge. I eat healthy the entire day, hit the gym and allow myself to enjoy falafel without guilt. Pick something you love that you don’t get to eat that often.
- Be picky. When I’m at a fair or festival, I walk past all the food vendors, read the menus and then decide what I’m going to have. Don’t just go for the first thing you see.
- Pick the lesser of the evils. If you have to choose between a corn dog, corn on the cob on a stick, fried cookies and a turkey leg, choose the corn on the cob and turkey leg. Peel the skin off the turkey leg before digging in and go easy on the butter on your corn.
- Share. If you really are dying to try a fried Girl Scout cookie, order one and cut it in half and share with a friend.
- Get back on track. Last year, I had fried pineapple on a stick. It was good, I felt gross and I got back to my healthy eating habits right away. Just because you eat one cholesterol bomb doesn’t mean you should give up. You will feel better if you get back on track.