The Iowa State Fair is home to nearly 200 food stands and more than 60 notable items "on-a-stick". With all of the choices available here are some tips to stay healthy while enjoying your day at the fair:
The Iowa State Fair has a great food finder on their website; this is extremely helpful for those with food allergies, special diets, and health concerns. Use this to map your tip out ahead of time so you can indulge in the items on your must-have list and not waste them on foods that happen to cross your path. This site also has a downloadable PDF of all gluten free items.
The Iowa State Fair allows you to bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages. This can help save you calories AND money! Pack several healthy treats such as granola bars, fruit, or whole wheat crackers for treats. Having these on hand will also help you from getting too hungry and overindulging!
Liquid calories are still calories and alcohol, soda, and other sugar filled drinks can add hundreds of calories to your day. Try drinking water as much as possible or head to the dairy building for a glass of ice cold milk!
Some fair-goers make a habit of walking the grounds, then going back for the food they wish to try. This is another helpful way to avoid over-doing it in a moment of hunger or impulse. Plus, the extra walking doesn't hurt.
Just because food is advertised as fried in "healthy" oil does not mean it is healthy. It is still deep fried. And lemonade may be made with lemons, but it is full of sugar. Be conscious of what are actually healthier items.
At the end of the day, everyone wants to look back at your time at the fair with exhausted satisfaction-not remorse. As with all things, practice moderation and you'll be just fine!