Wondering what's what at fairs, carnivals and amusement parks? HG is here with the 411...
FRY, OH WHY?! COUNTY FAIR SHOCKER!!!!
Where is the human being who decided it was a good idea to take a Twinkie, dunk it in batter and shove it in a deep fryer? Well, whoever is responsible for making these 420-calorie-34g-of-fat creme-filled monstrosities so popular at carnivals and fairs needs to be dealt with accordingly (not that a life lived exclusively in stretch pants isn't punishment enough). FYI, the king size deep fried Snickers are WAY worse for you, packing in a whopping 700+ calories each!
CANDY IS DANDY?!
While fair fave cotton candy isn't exactly good for you (oh come on - you CAN'T really be surprised that spun sugar isn't nutritious, can you?!), a 1 oz. cone of the stuff only contains around 100 calories or so, no fat and less sugar than a can of soda. So while we're not saying you should eat it every day, cotton candy might be a more sensible choice than a lot other carnival treats. WOOHOO...PAR-TAY!
It may seem like sno-cones would be relatively light on calories--after all, they're made mostly of ice, which is, of course, non-caloric (it's just frozen water, don't get all excited). The problem is all that sugar-laden syrup the crushed ice is drowned in. If you want to keep your sno-cone calorie counts low, you need to do one of two things. You can either a. use sugar free syrup (which means your treat will likely be calorie-free), or b. carefully monitor the amount of syrup that is poured over your ice. Remember, a 12 oz. sno-cone with 6 oz. syrup contains a shocking 540 calories! Yikes. Stick with half the amount of syrup and your "cone" will contain half the calories. HG Tip: Sno-cone syrups usually contain 80-100 calories per ounce.
BURGERS VS. DOGS
Ahh--the age old question -- burgers vs. dogs? To be perfectly honest, neither one is a great option for you. And there are burgers that are healthier and lower-cal than dogs and vice versa. Unfortunately, the worker at the food stand isn't going to know how many calories these things have and if you ask, you'll likely get laughed at. So save yourself from public humiliation and be smart. If you do cave and order a burger or a dog, get yours without cheese or mayo, and eat only half the bread. Order extra pickles to fill you up if you're hungry. And If you're lucky enough to find a grilled chicken option, grab it, as it will likely be lower in calories and fat than any other available meats.
Need something cold to cool you down? Choose carefully. Ice cream sold at carnivals is often premium (aka full fat) stuff served in sugary waffle cones. That adds up to a ton of calories--close to 1,000 of them for a large sized, jam-packed cone. Many vendors do carry individually wrapped frozen novelties, though. So if you absolutely MUST have ice cream, consider getting one of those. At least you'll have built in portion control. Treat yourself to one if you're dying for it, otherwise, if you can, try to stick with some ice cold water or a diet beverage and hold off on the frozen treats until you get home.
FAIR IS FARE...
Wondering about the nutritional info on some other popular carnival foods? Take a peak...
Soft Pretzel: 340 calories, 2g fat
Funnel Cake (whole): 760 calories, 44g fat
Fair Popcorn (7 cups, no extra butter): 400 calories, 27g fat