The Best and Worst Fair Foods

Monday, August 26, 2019

Part of the fun of going to the fair is sampling the variety of foods. Many of these are deep-fried, sugary or both. And they're packed with calories, fat, sugar and sodium.

However, it's possible to come out of the experience not too far off your healthy diet. You just need to look for the more nutritious choices.

Check out the healthy eats you can find at the fair — and those you probably want to avoid.

The Best

Corn on the cob: If you can do without the butter, this is one of your healthiest fair food options. You'll enjoy fiber, protein and potassium. A large cob has about 113 calories, 25 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fat.

Watermelon: Many fairs offer slices of watermelon. It has about 86 calories, no fat and 22 grams of carbs. The water content in it also helps you stay hydrated as you walk around.

Roasted nuts: Peanuts pack a punch with vitamin B3. A cup of peanuts out of the shell has 853 calories, 73 grams of fat and 31 grams of carbs. Stick to about an ounce, or 28 peanuts, to keep the calorie count down.

Pickles: A pickle on a stick fuels your body with fiber, iron, potassium and vitamins A and K. A dill pickle has about 16 calories and 3 grams of carbs. A sweet pickle has 32 calories and 7 grams of carbs. Be sure to drink plenty of water, though. Pickles can be high in salt.

Grilled chicken and kebabs: These are also healthy choices. They're packed with protein and low in fats thanks to the grilling. You'll get zero carbs from these meats, and the veggies in kebabs add vitamins and minerals. A grilled chicken breast has 142 calories, 3 grams of fat and 27 grams of protein.

The Maybe

Turkey leg: Giant roasted turkey legs give you plenty of protein and zero carbs. They also add 1,136 calories and 54 grams of fat along with sodium and cholesterol to your diet. If you share, you can cut those numbers in half.

Hamburgers: Burgers are high in protein. They may also be high in fat. The bun adds about 117 calories and 21 grams of carbs. If you can do without the bun, an 80% lean patty has 307 calories, 20 grams of fat and zero carbs.

Kettle corn: Popcorn is a whole grain, which gives you lots of fiber for good digestion and energy. The sugary coating of kettle corn adds 35 calories, 3 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fat per cup.

Caramel apples and other dipped fruits: Here, you get the benefits of fiber-, vitamin- and mineral-rich fruit. The caramel coating on an apple, however, adds about 50 grams of sugar for a total of 280 calories. A chocolate-dipped banana has around 331 calories, 15 grams of fat and 48 grams of carbs.

The Worst

Cotton candy: This fun fair food is 100% sugar, so there's virtually no nutritional value. You'll take in 171 calories and no fat with your average serving of cotton candy.

Corn dog: This hot dog on a stick dipped in cornmeal batter is always popular. One corn dog has about 460 calories and 19 grams of fat plus 973 milligrams of sodium.

Deep-fried: Anything deep-fried at a fair is a recipe for lots of saturated fat entering your system.

  • A fried Twinkie has 420 calories and 34 grams of fat.
  • A fried Snickers has 444 calories and 29 grams of fat.
  • Fried cheesecake has 655 calories and 47 grams of fat.
  • A fair-favorite funnel cake has 760 calories and 44 grams of fat.

Although many traditional fair foods are unhealthy, it's possible to find healthy eats while you enjoy the rides and games.

Click here to learn more about digestive health.

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