Lemond Nutrition Articles

State Fair of Texas: Mindful Eating

By Cristina Puga, RDN, CSP, LD // Oct 02, 2017

The start of Fall brings lots of great traditions for individuals and families. One of my favorite tradition, that happens this time of the year, is the opening of the State Fair of Texas. The moment Big Tex gets to say “Howdy Folks” to welcoming visitors.

Big Tex

Most people think of one thing when they hear the State Fair of Texas is open….FOOD.  It’s hard not to get drawn to the unique food options like Bacon Wrapped Turkey Legs and Fried Twinkies.  It amazes me how something you didn’t think could be deep fried…is deep fried on the menu!

You would be surprised to know that, along with your traditional fried food options, there are some healthier choices that you can purchase at the fair that does not ruin your diet or provide you with excessive number of calories. Even the foods that are in high in calories can still be experienced without tipping over your calorie limit for the day.

 

First, let’s talk about a few of this 2017 New Foods to State Fair of Texas

1.     Deep Fried Chicken Noodle Soup on a Stick

Sherry and Chris Howard created this unique food item that consist of homestyle chicken noodle soup deep fried and served on a stick. Each bite size ball will have an indention for a spoonful of savor broth sauce to complete the harmony of the best chicken noodle soup you’ve ever had, and certainly the first on a stick.

2.     Deep Fried Froot Loops®
This sweet dish was created by Gracie and Milton Whitley. It is a classic cereal with a State Fair of Texas twist.
Sweetened Froot Loops® are folded into whipped marshmallow, dipped in a creamy batter, fried to a golden brown, and then topped with a drizzle of glaze and powdered sugar. Breakfast cereal just got better!

3.     Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger

I am honestly speechless, with Ah, after seeing this item on the menu.  It’s like TexMex just got better.  This item was created by Tom Grace and Edna Sutton and was Big Tex Choice Award Winner for Best Taste: Savory and for Most Creative.
The Funnel Cake Bacon Queso Burger begins
with two funnel cakes that are fried to a golden crunch (aka “buns”). The first funnel bun is topped with a juicy, freshly-grilled burger patty, a heaping helping of crispy bacon, and gooey queso!! It is completed with another funnel bun and generously dusted with powdered sugar.

4.     The Tamale Donut
This interesting creating was made by Justin Martinez. Justin took a traditional tamale and turn it into a not-so-traditional donut! Our “Classic Pork” Tamale Donut starts with slow-cooked pork carnitas, blended with authentic “made-from-scratch” masa. Each dish is hand-formed into the donut shape and fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The “Classic Pork” Tamale Donut is finished off with a drizzle of homemade creamy jalapeno salsa.

5.     Fat Smooth
Café Du Monde® visits Texas! This sweet sensation was created by Tami Nevins-Mayes. This dish consist of Three delicious Belgium mini cream puffs on a skewer are dipped in a Café Du Monde® beignet batter. They are then fried until golden brown, dusted in powdered sugar, and drizzled with a chocolate and caramel sauce. The perfect combination to create bring-you-to-your-knees goodness.

I wanted to provide you with the calorie content of each of these food items, but I have not been successful in finding the adequate calorie content of these items. I can guarantee they are well over 500 calories per food dish and most possibly up to 1000 calories.

 

Now here are a few tips that will allow you to enjoy these new food items without overdoing it on your calorie intake.

  • Do NOT arrive hungry!  With the smell of food in the air it will be hard to control your appetite if you arrive hungry. Have a plan to try 2 or 3 food items and stick to your plan.
  • Share the Wealth -  Take a few friends or family members with you and each purchase a food item to share (a bite or two). You can enjoy the taste of these new foods without indulging in too many calories.
  • Skip the Alcohol and Sugary beverages – If you really want to experience the food without putting in too many calories, opt out of the alcohol or sugary beverages and just drink water and stay well hydrated (especially in the heat)
  • Balance your diet the rest of the day – It’s okay to have a moment of enjoying some fair food, after all it only happens once a year! If you don’t want to overdo it with your calorie intake than balance out the rest of your meal intake for the day with lean protein and fresh vegetables (ex: Grilled Chicken Kale Salad with low calorie dressing).
  • Count your steps – There is a lot of walking involved with visiting the fair so keep track of your steps and appreciate the opportunity to walk off those calories.   

Some traditional foods you can find at the fair, that are much lower in calories include:

1.     Regular Corn Dog: ~250-300 calories/serving and about 30 gm of fat.

2.     Soft Pretzel: ~350 calories/4 oz serving and about 2-5 gm of fat.

3.     Cotton Candy – 220 calories/2 oz serving and about 1 gm of fat

4.     Dill Pickle – 20-30 calories/0.5 gm of fat

5.     Corn (Hold the butter): On the cob 60 calories; in a cup 153 calories and about 1 gm of fat

6.     Carmel Candy Apple: Small to Medium apple is about 215-280 calories and 0 gm of fat

 

If you get a chance to visit the State Fair (or any other fair near your hometown), I hope you will be able to enjoy your time and your taste buds get a little treat without racking in too many calories.  Have fun Ya'll!

 


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