What to Eat at the State Fair

It’s that time of year again – the Great Minnesota Get Together has arrived and with it many tasty, fried foods-on-a-stick to tempt our taste buds. While the lure of the food at the state fair can be enticing, alas, most of it is not the healthiest and is hard to fit into a day of macro tracking.

Don’t despair! We’re certainly not here to say you can’t eat your favorite state fair treat, but here are some tips and suggestions on how to enjoy the fair without blowing up your nutrition goals.

State Fair Food Hacks

Go in with a plan. Decide before you arrive at the fair on one or two items you want to splurge on. Enjoy those couple items and keep the rest of your food choices for the day balanced and healthy.

Share with friends. If you’re going to the fair with friends or family, order one food item for the group to share. That way you can try several items without overdoing it on any one thing.

Sit down to eat.  Mindless eating is a major pitfall of outdoor festivals. Even if you choose some kind of “food on a stick,” sit down and savor it slowly. Pay attention to what you’re eating, and you’ll be less likely to overindulge.

Drink water!! Keep your tummy full and stay hydrated.

Don’t drink your calories. Calories from drinks will not satisfy hunger, and it’s always better to choose water to hydrate you, especially when walking all day in the sun.

What to eat

Below are some of the healthier options available at the state fair this year:

Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is one of the lowest low-calorie options, clocking in at about 110 calories with light butter. Besides, corn has more nutrients than your typical deep-fried Twinkie.

While not low in calories (around 390 for a medium-size), pretzels are much lower in fat than most of the items found at the fair. Add some spicy mustard instead of salt for an even healthier option (and stay away from the cinnamon sugar and cheese).

Fruit on a stick
We’re not talking about caramel apples here. Pineapples, strawberries and various melons are often sold skewered, and unless they’re drowned in chocolate, are the healthiest fair edible.

Grilled chicken/Porkchop/Turkey Leg
Grilled is always preferable (health-wise) to fried, and chicken is very lean meat. Use a nicely seasoned grilled meat on a stick to take the edge off your hunger before delving into the more indulgent offerings. And if you can, choose a wrap over a sandwich.

Baked potato
Choose toppings that are healthier at the BBQ Baked Potato stand.

Pickle on a Stick

Vendors to consider:

Big Pepper – green peppers stuffed with ground beef, rice & tomato sauce

Charcoal Hut – grilled chicken & turkey dishes

Corn Roast – sweet corn on the cob

Mickey’s Grill & Kabobs – grilled and smoked chicken & turkey entrees

Patinella’s Chicken Grill – chicken & rice bowls

Pork Chops & Chicken – chicken breast on a stick

The Produce Exchange – fruit bowls, kombucha, fresh fruit

That’s A Wrap – wrap sandwiches & watermelon

Turkey To Go – all kinds of turkey options, including breakfast

What is your favorite state fair healthy food tip? Let us know!


Happy eating to all the fair goers out there!