Tips to for a healthy(ier) day at The MN State Fair

Tips to for a healthy(ier) day at The MN State Fair:  

  1. Get ready: Plan what to do before you go
  2.  Hydrate
  3. Walk  
  4. Healthy vendor/food choices
  5. Healthify the not-so-healthy food "must haves"  
  6. Laugh, don’t judge yourself, and remember “everything in moderation”
An Amazing Fresh and Tasty Fruit Kabob....vs. A Deep Fried Twinkie-We'll Take the Fruit Skewer

An Amazing Fresh and Tasty Fruit Kabob....vs. A Deep Fried Twinkie-We'll Take the Fruit Skewer

Yes, you can make The-Great-Minnesota-Get-Together aka the MN State Fair healthy.

We know, the “State Fair” and “healthy” are totally oxymorons; but we feel that depends on your approach.  With these 6 tips you can have a healthier (and fun) day at the State Fair, so you actually might want to go back for day 2!

First, and probably the most important thing you can do is to eat a healthy, nutrient dense meal before you go.  Odds are, unless you really go out of your way, the majority of the options are not going to be nutrient dense. By fueling your body with intense nutrients  (real veggies and fruits, clean protein healthy fats) before you go, you will build up the strong base you need to walk about 6 miles and keep you from overeating and feeling completely sluggish when you do indulge. Plus, as a bonus, you will rebound more quickly the day after. Try a veggie packed egg scramble topped with avocado and fresh salsa, a spinach and mixed berry smoothie with a scoop of protein powder and chia seeds or a raw veggie salad on a bed of baby kale and quinoa.

Second, hydrate before, during and after.  We are talking about just plain old H2O.  This is not the adult beverage or sugary soda hydration portion of your State Fair day!  Need convincing?  If you properly hydrate, you will first and foremost prevent an overdose of unhealthy foods from being consumed; you simply won’t have the excess room for them. As if that wasn’t enough incentive, you will help to avoid getting dizzy, having muscle cramps, getting swollen feet, feeling tired and having a headache; it will keep your blood pressure low and it will flush bacteria and other junk from your system. The easiest daily goal is to aim for ½ oz of water for every pound you weigh, more of course if you are in the hot sun.

Third, movement/exercise. The State Fair is all about moving and seeing things, yet we all know with the crowds your pace can be really slow at times.  So, while you want to see it all and take your time, try to get a decent pace going for intervals of time. You know, your own custom HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout- State Fair style!  Also, it won’t hurt you one bit to fit in a squat or two or a lunge or two.  By the way these are awesome full body workouts. A bench is a great tool for this. Sit down and get back up quickly, without using your hands and barely touching the bench with your butt. Do that about 10 times (no one is looking, we promise). A bench is about the perfect height for a well formed squat.  At the next bench you stop at hold on to the back of it and do stationary lunges- 10 on each side.  Now you have just earned some extra wine when you visit Leslee Miller of Amuseé at Wine Country (be sure to check her Facebook page so you know what days she'll be there)!

Fourth, you can always find healthy choices if you try. So we’re here to help.  How many deep fried things on a stick can you possibly eat in one day? Balance that out with a better choice, at least once.
New this year, try:
The Steak Taco Naan (San Felipe Tacos), Slow-Roasted Pork Mole Tamale (Tejas Express), Spicy Thai Noodles (Oodles of Noodles),  Swing Dancer Sandwich (The Hideaway Speakeasy), Wild Bill’s Breakfast Bake (The Blue Barn).  

Or try these returning favorites:
Fruit Kabobs (hold the chocolate! at Caribbean Smoothies), Chicken on a stick (Chan’s), Pulled Turkey sandwich (Charcoal Hut), Greek or Garden Salad (Demetri's Greek Food), Hawaiian buckwheat stir-fried Yaki-Soba noodles with vegetables (Island Noodles), Fajitas (Juanita’s Fajitas), Non-dairy gluten-free frozen fruit bar (Key Lime Pie Bar), Fresh pineapple in a cup (Manny’s Torta’s), Chicken or Steak Kabob (Minnekabob), Apples of all kinds (Minnesota Apples), natural fruit smoothie (Moe and Joe’s Coffee), Fresh Produce - try the peaches, they’re amazing :) (Produce Exchange), frozen yogurt with toppings (Starberi Frozen Yogurt), frozen grapes & corn-on-the-cob, minus all that butter (Corn Roast), Pickle Dog (Pickle Dog), Northwoods Salad-on-a-Stick (Giggles Campfire Grill).

Fifth, when all else fails and you just want to eat State Fair food since that’s likely one of the main reasons you are going to the Fair, mix in a few or at least one of the healthy options. Split your less than healthy choices with a friend/spouse/partner/kid/anyone; just don’t eat the whole portion of any of the food. By doing this, you can have multiple options and won’t overdo the damage. Skip the sugary drinks and really think hard about how many sweet treats and fried options you want to indulge in. You are better off going with more protein based/non deep-fried options and using the well...treats (it is a treat after all, not a main menu item). When picking a wine, perhaps try a spritzer for half the alcohol and calories. We are sure Leslee will still approve.  

Lastly, have fun! With a little planning and strategy you can indulge and enjoy.  No matter how you choose to enjoy your time at the Fair, don’t bring the guilt! Guilt is such a mood killer and won’t allow you to enjoy this time with your family and friends. Try your best to enjoy and not to judge yourself. The Fair is all about the experience and enjoying our great state and all the amazing food and beverages (and wine!), sights, games, rides, agriculture, horticulture, farming, livestock...the list is endless. Plan a little, enjoy a lot!