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Resist the urge to overindulge on unhealthy foods at fairs

Fairgoers walk midway during preview night for Lake County Fair held Lake County Fairgrounds Crown Point Ind. Thursday August 1

Fairgoers walk the midway during a preview night for the Lake County Fair held at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Crown Point, Ind., Thursday, August 1, 2013. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 8, 2013 6:11AM



We are fortunate to have several major festivals and great county fairs in our area.

One thing we all want to do when we get to the event is: eat!

Walking by the numerous food vendors, fair attendees might find a plethora of deep-fried foods including the likes of Twinkies, candy bars, Oreos, macaroni and cheese, butter (yes, butter!), pickles, sushi, onion blossoms, corndogs, and funnel cakes.

Just one serving of many of these deep-fried foods contains enough calories to meet a person’s daily caloric requirement!

And, this is not even considering the other somewhat crazy, yet tempting food choices that might be offered such as chocolate covered bacon, cotton candy, hot beef sundaes, chocolate covered popcorn balls, cheesecake on a stick, and a famous doughnut burger which weigh in at 1,500 calories each!

However, with a little planning and knowledge about where to find the healthy options, these fair food classics can still be enjoyed in moderation.

Here are some healthy eating tips to keep in mind when you attend festivals and fairs:

† Instead of the extra-large drink, opt for smaller sizes of sugary beverages such as soda, lemonade, and sweet iced tea. This will reduce the number of calories you are drinking giving you more flexibility with the calories you are eating. Better yet, choose water; it is calorie-free and will keep you hydrated in the heat.

† Avoid grazing throughout the day. Walk through all the food vendors and tents first and select the food items you really want and plan your meal(s) accordingly.

† Hold the butter on your ear of sweet corn and go easy on the salt. You might find that the big ear of sweet corn tastes pretty good without it!

† Jumbo turkey legs top off around 1,200 calories so find a friend and share. The same goes for onion blossoms and funnel cakes.

† Opt for a baked potato rather than French fries. However, be aware that many of the toppings used to “load” baked potatoes increase the number of calories dramatically. Check out the baked sweet potatoes.



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