Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | October 11, 2012

Your [Healthful] Guide to the Great NC State Fair!

Cotton candy, funnel cakes & candy apples oh my! Here’s how to enjoy the State Fair, healthfully!

By Maria Tucker, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE 

Crisp fall air, changes in the trees, Starbuck’s infamous “Pumpkin Spice Latte”; it can only mean one thing. The North Carolina State Fair is back in town!

While it is true that the fair only comes ‘once a year’, it is also true that if you over-indulge; you might find yourself carrying last year’s fair weight to next year’s extravaganza. The great news is, with our tips and advice you will be able to have a bounty of fun, and go home feeling guilt-free!

And, thanks to our friends at WRAL, they have made it even easier to enjoy the State Fair healthfully. They have provided a complete list of nutrition information on their website of the State Fair food!

We put together a little list of our top “if you want this, try this instead”…

If you want this: Calories Fat Try this: Calories Fat
Deep fried Snickers 444 29 Deep fried Oreo 98 6
Onion mums 1,320 72 Fried shrimp 555 30
Deep friend pecan pie 800 60 Deep fried Twinkie 420 34
Funnel cake 760 44 Elephant ear 310 15
Kettle corn 490 12 Corn on the cob 201 1
French Fries 560 24 Egg roll 400 19
Turkey leg 1,136 54 Chicken strips 445 21
Cinnamon roll 730 24 Soft pretzel 340 2


 Tips to enjoy the fair guilt-free:

  1. Eat a healthy snack or meal at home before you go to the fair.
  2. Share a serving of food you purchase, most of them are large enough for 2-3 people.
  3. Check out the different food offerings and nutrition information before you go.
  4. If you have to eat at the fair, do so at the beginning of your visit and walk, walk, walk; or play games that require you to move, like the ring toss or corn hole toss!
  5. Pick 1 or 2 food items you only eat when the fair is in town and forego eating burgers, fries, hotdogs, popcorn and other food items available any time anywhere.

Who will be joining us out at the fairgrounds this year? I’ll split an elephant ear with you!

Maria Tucker, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE, is the program director for our Diabetes Center at Duke Raleigh Hospital.

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