Corn dogs. Funnel cakes. Farm animals. Amusement park rides that line the midway.
All these things probably come to mind when you think about the fair. But, what about the word "healthy?" Whether it's the state fair or your local county fair, healthy probably isn't the first word you think. But it is possible to do—and important!
Consider these five simple tips when you head to the fair this year.
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Tips to stay healthy at the fair
Be mindful about your food choices
We know what you might be thinking. The fair only comes around once a year, and now's the time to indulge in everything fried. Before doing that, keep in mind that just one funnel cake can pack 760 calories and 44 grams of fat. And, a fried Snickers® bar has about 444 calories and 29 grams of fat.
"When choosing what you want to eat at the fair, think about those foods you can't get outside of fair time," says Julie Enga, registered dietitian at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. "Many of the items can be enjoyed other times of the year, so be selective."
To watch your calories and still satisfy your fair food craving, try splitting it with friends and supplementing with some healthier options. Consider foods like corn on the cob, salad on a stick or sliced fruit. Believe it or not, there are a surprising amount of healthy food options at the fair. If you're heading to the Iowa State Fair, check out these healthy choices External Site.
When you do decide to indulge, take a break, sit down, and really enjoy. And, make sure to wash your hands before digging in.
Get to stepping
Get your pedometer ready — you're about to put it to work! Set a step goal for your day and stick to it. There's a lot to see around the fair, so a goal of 10,000 steps might be easy to reach.
Don't have a pedometer? As a Wellmark member, you can get exclusive discounts External Site on fitness tracking devices from brands like FitBit®, Polar® and Garmin®, through Blue365®. All you need is your Wellmark ID card to start accessing the deals.
Watch your sun exposure
You may also want to wear a wide-brimmed hat, loose, light clothing, and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays.
With all the food, walking around, and sun exposure, it's easy to become dehydrated. Be sure to keep a bottle of water handy and drink it frequently. Also, if you're drinking alcoholic beverages or drinks with caffeine, know that these can actually dehydrate you more. So, make sure you're mixing it up with water in between drinks.
Don't rule out healthy fruits and vegetables as sources of water, too. Consider salads and juicy fruits, like watermelon, to keep you feeling light and hydrated.
Take breaks when you can
Walking around the fair and taking in all the attractions can be exhausting — especially when it's hot. So, there's no shame in taking frequent breaks when you need to recharge. Look for areas with shade or even air conditioned buildings with places to sit down. Or, take advantage of the free entertainment stages that often include bleachers or extra places to sit and take a load off.
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