Funnel cakes, food on a stick and deep fried “anything,” — those are all staples of a county fair.
Local patrons flock to the campgrounds, looking for a week’s worth of indulging fun, either through endless entertainment or mouth-watering pleasure.
However, after the thrill rides have been disassembled and the brights lights have dwindled, many individuals are tasked with erasing those empty calories.
According to research provided by Malissa Sarver, a registered dietitian with Kings Daughter Medical Center in Ohio, average fair food can range from 400 to 1,300 calories and 20 to 60 grams of fat per serving. Fair food is deep fried prepared in high amounts of butter, cheese, whipped cream and too much salt.
“It’s not to late to get back on track (after the fair),” Sarver said. “Keeping a positive attitude and realizing that everyone is going to indulge every once in a while, even dieticians. But just getting back on track and knowing that fairs are a great way for walking. You’re going to look at all the farm animals and going through all the booths, and walking around with your kids and going through all the rides, you’re going to get in a lot of steps without even realizing it.”
According to Sarver, Experts estimate a 150-pound person must walk one mile to burn off calories from consuming cotton candy; three miles for cheese on a stick; four miles for a corn-dog; and five miles for a fried candy bar.
“I would look at some of your healthier choices. Fairs are starting to offer grilled, lean meats,” Sarver said. “You have places that offer sirloin tips, so that’s a great source of red, lean meat. The Christ Sanctuary booth (at the Scioto County Fair) offers a grilled chicken. You can choose two sides with those if your wanting to make it a dinner … “
While there are healthier options, certain patrons look forward to purchasing the one vice at the fair every year. Sarver said that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if it’s portion controlled.
“I think the important thing with living a healthy lifestyle is to never feel like you’re on a diet,” Sarver said. “I never tell my patients they’re on a diet — it’s a lifestyle. So, I think you shouldn’t deprive yourself. If you want to have that special item, just don’t over indulge. If you want to have one for the week and you’re going with a friend, share the item.
“And if you’re just looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, there is a couple out at the Scioto County Fair that makes their own ice cream. It’s all fresh. You can buy their ice cream and it’s a small serving. That’s something that’s going to satisfy that sweet tooth, but you’re not going to feel to guilty for it afterwords either.”
While the heat hasn’t been an issue this season, past fairs have been difficult to navigate because of the heat index. Everyone should have the presence of mind to stay hydrated when enjoying the festivities.
“I would say drink plenty of water while you’re out there,” Sarver said. “You have the heat, plus you’re moving around. Most of the fairs will let you bring water in your bag or in the bottom of your stroller. A lot of times, they’ll even let you bring in snacks, so you can plan ahead of time. Staying away from the sugary beverages is important. Staying away from the sodas because they contain the sugar and staying away from the caffeine because caffeine is a diuretic. That could potentially cause you to dehydrate quicker.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.