It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that autumn means the State Fair of Texas® is right around the corner (September 29 through October 22). But it does take some pretty fancy science-y stuff to create the Big Tex® Choice Award food and drink finalists. Who else but a bunch of culinary geniuses would pair bacon cheeseburgers and funnel cakes, blue alcoholic punch with Nerds® and Swedish Fish® or cover Froot Loops® with whipped marshmallow and deep fry them in creamy batter?
These are some of the new tastes you’ll find at the fair this year, which makes it a dangerous place to be if you’re watching your waistline or counting sugar grams.
There are also other concerns when planning a trip to the fair, but we’ve got the inside scoop that’ll help you navigate this North Texas fall favorite safely. To get started, try Whitney Novak’s sugar detox. Whitney is a patient advocate at Medical City Las Colinas and the host of Whitney’s Wellness Wednesday videos.
Face it … the State Fair of Texas is about the food … and the rides … but mostly the food.
We’ve already established that the food is the thing. But there are options to breaking your weekly calorie bank in one meal and maybe paying for it later.
Steven Kaster, MD, a gastroenterologist at Medical City McKinney, says that the combination of fatty fair food and alcohol can cause stomach distress. He encourages fairgoers to eat more fruits and vegetables and to minimize fried foods and adult beverages.
How to eat healthy at the State Fair of Texas.
Here are more tips to help make sure a trip to the fair doesn’t end in the ER
- Do what one family did and choose just one specialty fried food item to share. They also incorporated a step challenge to make sure everyone got a healthy workout.
- Eat before you go or better yet — bring your own food and water to the fair! It’s true, you can bring food and non-alcoholic beverages and even a cooler. Just be sure not to bring metal knives or glass containers. Find out more at the fair’s FAQs page.
- So that you don’t feel too deprived, forget the same-ol’ PB&J sammies (unless that’s all your kids will eat). Instead, try some of our fair food swap-outs from last year or choose one of the recipes below
Kids teaching kids to eat healthy at the State Fair of Texas.
Once again, Amy Haynes, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Medical City Dallas and Medical City Children’s Hospital, helped us choose a couple of kids teaching kids recipes your kids can make for themselves.
Chef Maria Guevera
What a creative and delicious snack packaged in a hot dog bun with only 4g of fat per serving! Could our good ol’ State Fair of Texas food vendors resist the temptation to deep-fry it? One taste and they would surely agree it’s perfect as is.
Ingredients (makes 1 serving)
- ½ banana
- ½ hot dog bun
- 1 Tbs. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. strawberry jelly
- ¼ kiwi, skin removed
- Cut hot dog bun in half
- Cut banana in half
- Cut kiwi into small cubes
- Spread peanut butter on one side of bun
- Place banana on bun
- Drizzle/spread strawberry jelly on top of banana
- Sprinkle kiwi on top of jelly
168 calories/4g fat/1g sat. fat/2g fiber/14g sugar
Apple Pops (follow link for recipe)
Chefs Taelor Rankin, Hailey Watters, Riley Cole
This traditional fall favorite gets a healthy makeover while maintaining deliciousness! Fat grams are slashed in half at 4.5g per serving compared to the traditional recipe at 9g per serving and sugar grams are significantly lower at 15g in the ktk recipe verses 40g in the traditional recipe. Calories are cut from 300 in a typical caramel apple to just 130 in our version.
Fair safety tips.
- When driving around Fair Park and crossing streets on foot, be watchful for drunk and distracted drivers
- Don’t get caught texting and driving — it’s now illegal in Texas and besides, it’s just not safe for anyone
- Make sure your family washes their hands before and after eating and using the restrooms — anywhere crowds gather brings an increased risk for RSV and the respiratory conditions it causes
For fast, emergency care when you need it most, look to one of our many Medical City ER locations across North Texas. 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.