How To Be Health Conscious At Fun Summer Events

It is the time of year for carnivals, festivals, fairs and more. If you’re looking to slim down for summer and you’re trying to make healthy lifestyle choices, then picking from these event menus can be a tricky task. 

Here are comparisons of various menu options you’ll see this summer. There are ways to enjoy yourself, while also keeping your health in mind.

Hot Dog vs. Corn Dog

Believe it or not, the corn dog is actually the better option with 250 calories, opposed to a carnival hot dog at 290 calories. Although a corn dog may be within the suggested 500 calorie a meal allotment (which is the standard for most people), keep in mind they provide very little nutritional value and they likely won’t keep you feeling full for long.

Candy Apple vs. Caramel Apple with Nuts

The candy apple wins this one with 215 calories where an apple decked out with caramel and nuts can carry as much as 380 calories.

This treat you can feel a little less bad about, though. The apple itself provides essential nutrients the body needs like:

  • 2-4 grams of fiber
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A, and 
  • Potassium (just to name a few)

If you go with the caramel apple and add about 2 tsp. of nuts, you are also adding protein, Vitamin E, potassium and folate.

Elephant Ear vs. Funnel Cake

The trusty elephant ear wins this one by a landslide at 310 calories ,where the funnel cake has a whopping 760 calories. But let’s be honest – while they do taste good – neither of these provide any nutritional value so just be aware when choosing your sweet treat for the day.

Onion Rings vs. French Fries

Three onion rings are about 309 calories, but who eats just three onion rings? Consider the fact that you may have more like five or six. That puts things into perspective, ay?

French fries in the carnival size (7 ounces) can hold up to 560 calories. 7 ounces of sweet potato fries is a good alternative to regular French fries. This one may be a draw – so it all depends on the serving size you choose.

Kettle Corn vs. Popcorn

To no surprise, popcorn with no butter wins at 400 calories for 7 cups, where kettle corn has 490 calories for the same 7 cups. Add butter and you really load on the calories, and buttered popcorn will have more calories than kettle corn – depending on the amount of butter. 

It’s Doable

Really, the best option would be to eat your main meal before going to the fun event. Also, you could bring a cooler – if you can –  with your own meals and snacks. Remember that the way carnival and fair food is prepared is not the healthiest, and the portions are huge. So, eat light while you’re there – maybe share with a friend , or choose one of the healthier options mentioned above. Always avoid deep-fried foods as much as possible, too

Here are some other healthy choices, if they are available at your fun, summer event of choice:

  • Cheese pizza (thin crust if possible)
  • Hamburger
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast (if BBQ, ask for sauce on the side)
  • Soft pretzel
  • Roasted nuts
  • Small baked potato
  • Corn on the cob
  • Salad with light or fat-free dressing
  • Smoothie
  • Frozen yogurt

Photo credit: Michael Connell

References: www.livestrong.com, www.myfitnesspal.com

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