In Minnesota, the State Fair is a big deal. In fact, according to this site, the Minnesota State Fair is the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. It’ s the 3rd largest event in the country and the 2nd largest State Fair in the country (topped only by Texas).
I started thinking about my trip to the State Fair in years past, and the amount of calories I’ve consumed in a single evening. Without the focus of a “healthy, active living”, I didn’t give a second thought to what I was putting in my mouth. This year, being where I am in my healthiness journey, I can’t imagine freely buying and eating anything my little heart desires without considering the consequences (read: weight gain).
This article does a great job job talking about the calories in fair food and giving suggestions of some of the better choices you can make – carmel apples, corn (without butter), even cotton candy.
Let’s talk about some of my favorite fair foods: [read at your own risk!]
Last year, when I went to the Minnesota State Fair, I ate everything listed above. Including 5 Sweet Martha Cookies, that is 2,640 calories.
I burn approx 500 calories/hour doing moderate cardio, and it would take me 5 hours of moderate activity to burn the food that I ate in one night!
Now, I know there are lots of other attractions of the Minnesota State Fair. See this article from the Star Tribune. I took an impromptu poll yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, and heard from people who enjoy meeting up with friends, who like the people-watching (me too!), the memories, and that it’s the same every year.
Of course, most people have a favorite “fair food” – heck, I still have lots of favorite fair foods (see above). But right now, at the point I am at in my journey, going to the State Fair and eating is not going to help me reach my health and wellness goals. Eating any of the food listed above would take me further away from my personal goals of being a faster runner, a stronger cyclist and a healthier person.
Will I go back to the State Fair another year? Heck yeah. Are there lots of non-food attractions of the State Fair? Absolutely! But this year, I’ve set different goals and priorities for myself. To commemorate the opening day of the State Fair today, I won’t be attending the fair. I won’t be eating any of my favorite “fair foods”. In fact, I don’t plan to attend the State Fair this year.
Tonight, to commemorate the opening of the State Fair, I will be running the Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5k. And I will continue working towards my goals of living a healthy, active lifestyle. For me, that doesn’t include the State Fair this year.
Edit: This was a difficult post to write because talking about personal choices can often lead to misunderstandings. Hopefully you can understand why going to the State Fair is simply not in my best interest right now, with my personal healthiness journey. Thank you for reading objectively and commenting with respect – even if you disagree.