How can I eat healthy at summer festivals?

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Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

Summer festivals are a lot about the food and these days fried butter, candy bars and pickles seem to be stealing the show. Try these tips to enjoy the festival but avoid doing something you and your waist will later regret.

  • Walk or bike to the festival if possible or park far away instead of paying for upfront parking. This will save you money and it’s built in exercise.
  • Eat before you leave and go between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Arriving full is a great way to resist the wafting aromas and temptations of funnel cakes, chili cheese fries, corn dogs and the world’s biggest margarita.
  • Look for vendors that sell roasted corn on the cob, chicken kabobs, crepes filled with vegetables and fresh fruit and tacos using grilled meats and veggies.
  • For a refreshing treat, opt for fruit ice or a frozen lemonade. While these may have a little more sugar, they take a while to eat and don’t have the additional fat and calories you’d get from ice cream or milkshakes.
  • Order the smallest size available.
  • Share your treats with family and friends to cut back on calories. 
Doreen Rodo
Nutrition & Dietetics

Avoid all fried foods, items with large amounts of cheese, and foods with heavy cream sauces. Have fruit, low-fat frozen yogurt or fruit ice for dessert. However, if really tempted, split a dessert. Try to stick to grilled items, healthy salads (with the dressing on the side) and load up on vegetables served without butter or margarine. Most importantly, stop eating if you feel full or you will be uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

Summer is full of festivals and events where healthy food options might be hard to find. Make the most of the situation when enjoying outdoor fare with these tips:
  • Choose grilled over fried food whenever possible.
  • Avoid processed meats products such as hot dogs and brats. Opt for chicken or fish instead.
  • Look for vegetable offerings such as roasted corn on the cob, grilled zucchini or asparagus.
  • Season foods with olive oil, herbs and spices instead of loading them with condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce, which have added salt and sugars.
And if you can't find any healthy choices, remember, it's okay to treat yourself at special events as long as you maintain a balance. Make healthier, portion-controlled food choices throughout the rest of your week.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.