10 Healthy State Fair Foods You’ll Love

By Matthew Cenzon. May 7th 2016

A day spent eating at the state fair is typically regarded as caloric, and often times colonic, nightmare. Sugar-filled delicacies, deep-fried delights and roasted or barbecued meats offer a smorgasbord fit for people trying to eat themselves to an early grave. However, there is a myriad of healthy alternatives to deep-fried butter and donut cheeseburgers, all you have to do is pay close attention to what you're eating. If you're feeling a little unsure of what you should and shouldn't be eating, here is a list of 10 state fair foods that are healthy and delicious.

1. Peanuts

Yes, plain peanuts are a common, state fair classic that everyone can enjoy without feeling bad about it. Freshly roasted and available by the bag full, you can munch on these crunchy treats while enjoying the benefits of its many vitamins and minerals like:

These peanuts are quite tasty and are typically available with or without the shell, and sprinkled with a little salt for extra flavor. And in case you were wondering, peanut brittle is not considered a healthy state fair food.

2. Pickle-on-a-Stick

This is one of those classic, state fair foods that you don't have to feel guilty about at all. A pickle-on-a-stick is low in cholesterol, low in fat, low in calories and low in price. What is it exactly? It's basically a giant pickle with stick inserted on the end. Another simple, crunchy and savory food you can eat at the state fair. Other versions are sold in a bag, fresh with pickle juice if you aren't interested in the stick variety.

3. Frozen, Chocolate Dipped Banana

While it isn't the healthiest food around, frozen, chocolate dipped bananas are an excellent alternative to the other frozen foods being sold at the state fair. The only bad part about this frozen concoction is the chocolate. However, you can counteract the calories and maximize the health benefits if you find a frozen banana vendor that offers dark chocolate instead of regular chocolate. At least you'll be getting the antioxidants without the extra fat.

4. Grilled Chicken Breast

Amongst the masses of fried and barbecued hulking slabs of fatty animal flesh lies a beacon of healthy, protein-filled goodness - grilled chicken breast. It may take some time and a little extra preparation, but you can certainly enjoy a healthy, meat entrée at the next state fair. Just scour the various vendors that are grilling or barbecuing and order yourself a plain chicken breast. If you can't have it plain, a little spice and barbecue sauce will do you no harm. Just make sure you remove the skin.

5. Kebabs

Yes, the kebab may be another state fair food that's hard to come by, but it certainly exists at most fairs. Grilled to perfection and lightly seasoned, succulent beef, lamb or chicken with the addition of peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes is another great way to enjoy something hearty and healthy at the state fair. However, if you find a vendor that's selling deep-fried kebabs, continue on with your search.

6. Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt shouldn't be fairly hard to locate at the state fair and is a healthy dessert with the benefits of calcium and protein. The only thing that could hurt the potential health benefits of this frozen treat is the toppings:

Topping Do's:

Topping Don'ts:

  • Whip cream
  • Fudge
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Chocolate chips
  • Candy
  • Caramel
  • Brownies
  • Pie
  • Cheesecake!?

7. Corn on the Cob

Giant husks of corn are a safe treat at the state fair as long as you are smart about what you add to it. A little butter can go a long way as far saturated fat and cholesterol. If you are looking for something to add a little more flavor to your state fair corn, try a little bit of salt, pepper and even chili pepper or hot sauce.

8. Fresh Fruit Cups

Many people tend to overlook how most state fairs include a plethora of fresh, whole produce that could put the average farmer's market to shame. If you aren't in the mood for a juicy apple or some fresh cantaloupe, then you might be willing to try a large fruit cup. Some state fair vendors that sell this healthy snack option even serve their fruit cups in hollowed-out watermelons and other fun containers.

9. Frozen Fruit

On a hot summer day, there is nothing like a stick of frozen fruit to help you cool down as you traverse the state fair grounds. While some vendors opt to serve frozen fruit in a chilled cup, consider yourself lucky to find the variety on a stick. They're fun to eat, easy to hold, and for some reason, the kids love them.

10. Lemonade

This might not be the healthiest item on this state fair foods list, but if you're going to allow yourself to indulge, doing it with a chilled beverage isn't all that bad. Just take your time and be careful about where you purchase your lemonade from. Some vendors add enough sugar to make this drink worse than a soda.


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