Do You Know How to Avoid Overindulging at the State Fair of Texas?

Do You Know How to Avoid Overindulging at the State Fair of Texas?

You can have your hot dog and eat it too with our healthy tips and nutritious, delicious fair food makeovers.

Have you spent the last few weeks convincing yourself that corn dogs qualify as vegetables? Is your mouth watering for one of the Big Tex Choice Award finalists like the Deep Fried Bacon Burger Dog Slider on a Stick (a ground beef patty stuffed with a hot dog, cheese and bacon packed inside a Hawaiian roll skewered and topped with a pickle, dipped in tempura batter and deep fried)?

If so, then the State Fair of Texas must be upon us — it runs September 30 through October 23 — and you, my friend, are gleefully planning to derail your otherwise healthy eating habits with these and other artery-clogging, emergency-room-worthy, deep-fried fat-laden fair foods.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can avoid the heartburn and indigestion (or worse) of a post-fair-fare coma (as well as a mad dash to the restrooms) and still enjoy your fair experience. Last year, one family did it “Amazing Race” style by splitting into teams and agreeing to share just one fried specialty item, choosing healthier options for main meals, skipping sodas and counting steps — with the winning team scoring extra tickets for rides and games.

If competition or food sharing isn’t your thing, try our tasty recipe substitutions that will leave you just as satisfied as their calorie- and fat-laden inspirations. Bonus: these original recipes were created by DFW-area high school culinary students, are easy for younger kids to make, contain at least half a cup of fruits or veggies per serving and are delicious and nutritious enough to be served year-round.

Kids Teaching Kids delicious, nutritious fair food makeovers.

We asked Amy Haynes, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Medical City Dallas and Medical City Children’s Hospital, to help us choose a few fair-worthy Kids Teaching Kids recipes you can make at home. Here are her picks.

Vanilla ice cream cone vs. Berry Cone

Ice cream cones aren’t just for ice cream in this tasty, low-fat Kids Teaching Kids fruit-filled cone, with only 2 grams of fat. Fill that same cone with its namesake (ice cream), and you’re looking at 7 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar per serving, on average. Most important, our version provides valuable nutrients from the fruit and 9 grams of healthy protein from the Greek yogurt.

Original version:

DQ vanilla ice cream cone, small
230 calories/7g fat/26g sugar/6g protein/0g fiber

Healthier version:

Kids Teaching Kids Berry Cone
130 calories/2g fat/10g sugar/9g protein/3g fiber
By chefs Alexandra E. and Josh C. from The Colony High School

Chefs Dolly Hernandez and James Delory from The Colony High School demonstrate how to make Berry Cones.

Amusement Park Funnel Cake vs. Waffle Taco

Another deep-fried favorite providing an alarming 44 grams of fat per cake is challenged by this Kids Teaching Kids recipe with no frying required. Our healthier recipe uses waffles as the “cake” and offers nutritious and tasty toppings with significantly fewer calories and fat grams per serving as compared to this amusement park classic.

Original version:

Amusement Park Funnel Cake with Powdered Sugar
760 calories/44g fat/16g sugar/0g fiber

Healthier version:

waffle_tacoKids Teaching Kids Waffle Taco
150 calories/1.5g fat/14g sugar/3g fiber
By chefs Kayla Pinales and Ariane Mitchell from Mesquite High School

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 whole wheat waffle
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 oz. vanilla non-fat Greek yogurt


  1. Lightly toast waffle in the toaster
  2. After it has cooled, scoop yogurt on top
  3. Put blueberries on top
  4. Fold like a taco and enjoy

Corny dog vs. Dawg Wrap

This Kids Teaching Kids recipe reminiscent of a corny dog provides only 4.5g of fat and an impressive 8g of dietary fiber. Compare that to the traditional jumbo corn dog at 19g of fat and only 2g of fiber.

Original version:

Jumbo Corn Dog
460 calories/19g fat/10g sugar/2g fiber

Healthier version:

state-fair-dawg-wrapKids Teaching Kids Dawg Wrap
160 calories/4.5g fat/4g sugar/8g fiber
By chefs Kellie Baxter, Jesse Bellows, Jake Long and Hayden Hagmann from The Colony High School

Ingredients (makes 1 serving)

  • 1 low-calorie whole wheat tortilla
  • 1/2 slice 2% American cheese
  • 1/2 cup of fresh spinach, tightly packed
  • 1/2 turkey hot dog


  1. Place tortilla on plate
  2. Place cheese on tortilla
  3. Add spinach
  4. Heat hot dog in microwave for 15 seconds
  5. Place hot dog on the wrap and heat for 20-30 seconds; let cool 10 seconds
  6. Roll up the tortilla
  7. Wait 45 seconds before eating

We hope you enjoy our fair food makeovers and have a memorable trip to the State Fair of Texas, but if eating too much fried food leaves you in distress, one of our many Medical City Healthcare emergency locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.

Find a fast Medical City Healthcare ER near you or call our free 24/7 Ask-A-Nurse hotline.

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Revised 2/12/2019

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