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The Minnesota State Fair: Where food, fun and exercise (yes, exercise) collide!

Photo: yuan2003/cc 2.0/

The Minnesota State Fair is off and running, bringing with it the symbolic end to summer and the beginning of fall and the school year. The Minnesota State Fair is best known for its shows, rides, livestock and other animals, family fun and of course – the food!

From corn dogs, cheese curds, cookies and basically anything you could possibly imagine deep-fried and/or on a stick, the Minnesota State Fair has something for everyone to enjoy.

Now, at Health Talk, we won’t try to lecture you as to what foods you should and should not eat at the State Fair because we know, honestly, that it wouldn’t be realistic. The old adage, “everything in moderation” still applies, but we can offer you some small and simple ways you can still splurge a little on your culinary favorites AND get some exercise while you’re at it.

Mark Pereira, Ph.D., a nutrition and exercise expert with the School of Public Health, offers a few pieces of advice for the Minnesota State Fair:

  • Before heading to the fair, start your day off with a healthful, nutrient-rich breakfast, such as whole grain cereal with fresh fruit and milk. You will get a lot of your required nutrition for the day, and then you will have more energy for walking and be less likely to overeat at the State Fair because you’re hungry.
  • The State Fair is a great opportunity to do a lot of walking, and remember to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, especially if it is hot.
  • Enjoy the food, but be savvy so that you don’t overdo it. Here are some tips:
    • Go for smaller servings or share servings with friends or family to cut down on your own intake.
    • Space your food out so you actually enjoy it, and are less likely to overindulge. If you are attending the State Fair for an extended period of time or go multiple days, you can space out the food so you don’t overdo it on any one day or meal.
    • Focus on the activities, exhibits and social interaction, instead of focusing so much on the food.
    • Try foods you have never had before instead of overindulging on your usual favorites.

Have fun at the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

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