State fairs seem to be an all year event, highlighting carnival games, vertigo educing rides, world record size animals, artist exhibits, and music concerts. Perhaps even a greater draw than those listed above is the food. Anything fried or artery clogging, from batter fried beer, to fried pats of butter. Perhaps it is time where people defiantly claim their freedom from intentionally seeking out non-GMO, organic and seasonal foods. (Perhaps not). At any rate, there is an up side to the 24/7 health conscious and perhaps overly nutty (by mainstream middle-America terms) foodie; there is a growing trend for health fairs to carry healthier food options! Let’s look at examples and ways you can eat healthier at local and state fairs (if you choose to).
I have been labeled “not fun” by family and friends whenever I forgo the fried funnel cakes, beer batter onion rings, corn dogs drizzled with mustard and pint of cold beer on draft. There is definitely a social pressure to eat these types of fair foods (similar to eating your hearts content of junk food at Disneyland because those fried and overly sweet decadents are paired up to amusement parks and having fun).
It takes a lot of self confidence to stand your ground on your personal health beliefs–whether they are healthy and against the norm or a must-do, as people with specific allergies must make. I have always dodged places like the state fair, (even vegetables like zucchini pictured on the left is fried) or eaten my own food before arriving because I did not want to subject myself to eating what I have researched, read and know to be harmful to the body (even if eaten seldom). What most people forget, is that the typical American and western developed world diet is generally not free of fried, processed, overcooked, over sweetened, over salted, meats and BBQ foods. It is exactly that! So going to the fair and eating the same foods will do more damage than people think.
There are better options than the traditional grilled corn on the cob without butter (who knows if that ear or corn is GMO?). There are more cooking demonstrations, food samplings, educational seminars, and exhibits about foods and eating habits. Food trucks showcasing the organic sides of “fast foods” are making their way next to the traditional fair favorites. Here is a list of popular trending healthier foods making appearances at local and state fairs:
Salad on a Stick-An iceberg lettuce wedge with carrots and tomato served kabob-style, with dressing for dipping
PB&J on a Stick-Skewered fresh grapes wedged between the peanut butter and sandwich pieces
Gluten Free Chicago Style Hot Dog-Udi’s gluten-free hot dog bun with Chicago-Style hot dogs and brown mustard, diced onions, green relish, diced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, sport peppers, a dill pickle spear and a dash of celery salt.
Frozen Greek Yogurts
Frozen Apple Cider Pops
Fresh Fruits (seasonal)
Freshly Made Trail Mixes
Free Range and Organic Bison Burgers
Smoked Salmon on a Stick
Roasted Peanuts and Almonds
Edamame Corn Salad
Whole Wheat Seafood, Vegetable and Portobello Mushroom Pita
Pickles on a Stick-Good source of fiber, vitamins A and K, calcium, iron, and potassium. Low in cholesterol and saturated fat.