How to Navigate the State Fair

By Molly K., Assistant Center Director, and Missy O., Lifestyle Consultant, Coon Rapids Livea

The Minnesota State Fair signals the end of summer and runs from August 24th to September 4th. While it is generally considered a free-for-all food fest, there are ways to manage your intake and stick close to your program. You may be shocked to find out how many calories are in some of your fair favorites (1&2).

For example:

  • Sweet Martha’s Cookies – 1 bucket will net you at least 7500 calories (and that’s if you can close the lid!) That would require a whole 75 miles of walking to burn off!
  • An order of cheese curds will clock in at 1100 calories, with most of that coming from saturated fat and carbohydrates and will require 2 hours of straight jump roping to burn off!
  • It would take you 4 hours on the elliptical to burn off one of those giant turkey legs coming in at 1100 calories.
  • A Pronto Pup seems harmless but comes in at 400 calories of carbohydrates and fat which would require 40 minutes of lap swimming to burn off.
  • The average person will walk 5 miles over the course of the fair, burning about 750 calories so don’t overestimate your walking burn!

Here are some tips to make the most of your fair experience while continuing to make progress towards your goals. You can also learn great tips from our webinar: How to Navigate the Food at the Minnesota State Fair!

  1. Go in with a plan! Download the State Fair app before you go to scope out some healthier options and connect with your Livea consultant to identify a plan you can stick to or check out our Healthy Eating map to navigate the State Fair with success!
  2. Stay hydrated! Bring a water bottle and identify locations that you can refill your bottle throughout the day, to help with hunger levels and flush out the inevitable extra sodium you’ll consume. Additionally, choosing low-calorie or zero calorie beverages like unsweetened iced tea or iced coffee instead of sugary lemonade or carbohydrate heavy alcoholic beverages is a great way to keep on track.
  3. Bring your Livea Meals! This is the absolute best way to keep yourself on track and save money! You don’t want to be caught off guard, hungry and surrounded by food so make sure you bring a few Livea meals that won’t melt in the heat i.e.: pretzels, crunchers, or a shake-to- go you can fill up at water station etc. Especially if you’re making the fair an all-day event, you’ll want to ensure you’re eating every 2 – 3 hours to avoid blood sugar crashes that lead to overindulging.
  1. If you are going to indulge in something, be Choose a healthier option that’s lower in fat than a deep-fried treat – a protein or vegetable grilled or roasted instead of battered and deep fried; ex: Grilled meat on a stick (alligator is a fun option!), kabobs, pork chop on a stick, vegetables or fruits are good options.
  2. If you are determined to have a once-a-year favorite fair food, ensure that you are aware of how going off plan may affect your weight loss for that week, and pause – ask – decide what is worth it for you. A planned cheat is different than going into a challenging situation with tempting foods with no plan at all! Splitting an order with friends or family or committing to having just one bite of something indulgent is a great compromise to help you stick to your plan.

The State Fair doesn’t have to be solely focused on food, there are so many fun activities and experiences to fill up your time at the fair. A healthy attitude and mindset are key. Use the information and tips listed above, connect with your Livea consultant to help establish a plan, and remember that a challenging food situation can always be mitigated by planning ahead and choosing to honor your commitment to yourself and following through with the plans you made and have fun!




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