Updated: Apr 30, 2019
It's time for the North Dakota State Fair! It started last Friday and goes through this Sunday. I went on Friday evening after work and then again for a day of fun on Saturday. There are so many things to do at the state fair from livestock shows, pig races, carnival rides, concerts, and of course eating every type of fried greasy food you can imagine! For me a fair is not complete without a corndog so that is usually the first thing I try to get before I have time to get too full on everything else.
Funnel cake, corn dogs, fried Oreo's, mini donuts, turkey legs, roasted corn, homemade kettle corn...the list goes on! It's easy for your eyes to get bigger than your stomach at the fair and everyone wants a treat all to themselves. Let me tell you, the serving sizes for everything is way more than you need. Especially if you are planning on chowing down all day. My fiance and I were at the fair yesterday and we split everything. Not only did it save us a little bit of money, but it also helped us to not eat as much and we were able to enjoy a wider variety of treats throughout the day.
To help you maximize your eating experience without busting the waist band, here are some tips for navigating state fair food:
First and foremost, DO NOT skip breakfast. I know this may be tempting as you prepare yourself for a day full of eating, but you aren't doing yourself any favors. Make sure you eat a balanced breakfast because you will be doing a lot of walking around in the heat and this will help ward off that ravenous hangry feeling to help you make more sound food choices throughout the day.
Speaking of walking around in the heat, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. I know it will be tempting to try all of the fancy drinks, but your body really needs water. You will be outside sweating and you need to replenish the fluid you lose so you do not become dehydrated. Every other beverage you purchase should be water. This way you can still enjoy your fun beverages while staying hydrated. Also, staying hydrated may also help you not over eat.
Make sure to get some protein in during the day. Most of the fair food items are deep fried carbs. But you can still find foods with protein like corn dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and turkey legs. Adding protein during the day will help keep you feeling full and energized and prevent you from wanting to buy every fried, starchy, carby food you can get your hands on. I don't know about you but when I get hangry I crave something starchy and carby, this is because my body knows that these foods will be able to quickly give me the energy I need. But only for a short while. Protein is what will help provide longer lasting energy, so don't forget about this food group during your day of fun.
Find fruits and vegetables to add some fiber to your day. Most all state fairs have roasted corn, and the North Dakota State Fair also had frozen chocolate covered bananas! These are both great options to add a little bit of fiber to the day.
Share, share, SHARE! My mom always said sharing is caring, and she wasn't wrong. At the fair they serve you very large portions that no one needs to eat by themselves. So if you're at the fair with a group of people share! Everyone can get something different and each of you can have one or two bites rather than the whole serving.
This tip is more so for skin health rather than food health. Do yourself a favor and please don't forget to put on sunscreen! I am very prone to sunburns and I forgot to re-apply my sunscreen and I am now paying the price. Every inch of my body that wasn't covered is now beet red. Don't be like me. Remember to apply, pack, and re-apply your sunscreen.
And last, but not least, HAVE FUN! This is what the state fair is all about, spending time with loved ones and making lasting memories.
I hope these tips are helpful for you this year at the fair and every other year! Have a great week! :)
P.S. I had never had cheese curds before I moved to North Dakota and they were kind of a big deal at the state fair!