The 8 Healthiest, Nutritionist-Approved Foods You’ll Find at the Fair This Summer
The fair is great; the food, not so much. Swap out the funnel cake and french fries with these healthy choices from top nutritionists.
Corn on the cob
Nothing screams summer like corn—after all, it's a true American original. Indulging in this fair food treat is a great choice. "Corn on the cob is the healthiest and best choice at the fair," says Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD, CDN. "It's fresh, delicious, and high in fiber that can help fill you up until you can get to a real sit- down meal. Just go light on the butter, and you're in great shape with this traditional summer fair snack." Watch out for these 50 things that nutritionists never eat.
If you're at the fair, opt for some freshly roasted peanuts, which contain a good combination of nutrients that can actually boost your brain power. "This power-packed legume is filled with fiber and protein and contains monounsaturated fats, which are known to be heart healthy," says Fiorella DiCarlo RD, CDN. Peanuts are also filled with vitamins and minerals such as manganese, potassium, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Tap your inner caveman and order that oversized drumstick. "Turkey leg is a great fair food to make a meal out of, and is likely big enough to share," says Zeitlin. "It's a good source of protein which will help you feel satisfied and curb any other cravings." Turkey is also a good source of zinc, which can help boost your immune system and prevent any summer colds.
Pickles are low in calories and good for your digestive system. Since they are fermented, they act as a probiotic to help encourage growth of healthy gut bacteria. "They are high in iron and B vitamins, which will help boost your energy," says Zeitlin. "Make sure you are not eating the fried ones, just the regular pickles." This is what nutritionists eat at Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, and Panera.
Even fairs have gone international, and some of those exotic choices can be quite healthy. Because kebabs are grilled, its makes them a better choice than your typical fried fair food. "Chicken, beef, turkey, or fish kebabs are a great source of power-packed and metabolism-boosting protein and include a good dose of iron for energy and immune system building," says DiCarlo.
Yes, you can have your sugar and eat it too: "Something like a caramel apple or chocolate banana is a better choice than the usual fair desserts—like a fried Oreo—which are high in calories and fat," says DiCarlo. "Both apples and bananas are rich in fiber and antioxidants, which is a better bet for those with high cholesterol or diabetes or those watching their weight." Find out why that fruit is a good choice: Check out 10 of the healthiest fruits for your body
Out of all the fair foods, a burger might not be a bad option, thanks to its high-protein content. "Ditch the bun and just have this classic dish grilled with some ketchup and relish on a plate, and use some lettuce to wrap it with while you walk," says Zeitlin. "This protein-packed patty will have you feeling satisfied and energized all afternoon long."
Though it may not be your dentist's first choice, kettle corn is a decent low-calorie option if you're craving something sweet. "It's made out of popcorn, so it is a whole grain, offering you some fiber and B vitamins that will help keep you feeling full and energized," says Zeitlin. "They add some sweetness to it, which will hit your sweet tooth craving without having anything fried or excessively covered in sugar." Looking for some more healthy snack ideas? Here are 30.