YMCA offers tips to keep in mind when snacking at fall festivals

By Christine Rivers - Program Coordinator, Regional Family Community YMCA
Putnam - posted Mon., Oct. 14, 2013
- Contributed Photo

October foliage is at its peak, and the weather is right to get outside and enjoy Connecticut’s fairs, festivals and amusement park fright fests. If you’ve already hit a few, you know that there are delicious local treats for you to try, from crisp apples, to deep-fried delicacies.

Granted, no one is going to the local fair to eat salad, but as your mother would say, “Everything in moderation.” It’s hard to say no to inventive food choices when you’re out for a day with friends and family - and no one says you have to. Just make the most of your day without overdoing it!

I’m not privy to the secret recipes used by food vendors, but I found some nutritional information about festival favorite deep-fried Oreos online. One tray of five cookies has 891 calories, and 120 percent daily allowance of saturated fat. Contrary to popular belief, walking while eating deep-fried Oreos does not neutralize the fat and calories. Unless you’re walking briskly for several hours.

Keep these tips somewhere in the back of your mind between the food tent and the Tilt-a-Whirl:

Don’t go hungry: Just like you should never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, have a nutritious snack before you hit the fairground. You’ll be less tempted to do an entire day’s worth of eating in a place with few healthy choices.

You don’t need to make a meal of it: Sample less-than-healthy foods in small quantities. A tray of five deep fried Oreos dusted with powdered sugar just screams “Share me!” One Oreo probably won’t kill you. Five?

Consider portions: Would you eat a towering tray of faux cheese-covered tortilla chips or a 14-inch round fried dough at home? Don’t do it while you’re out!

Pick the best of the worst: A half cup of Cotton Candy Dippin Dots has 160 calories and 25 percent daily allowance of saturated fat. A half cup of chocolate frozen yogurt has 115 calories and 13 percent daily allowance of saturated fat. You decide!

Watch your drinks: Consuming sugar-filled sodas and iced beverages (not to mention beer and wine), can add significantly to your calorie intake over the course of a day. Choose water.

Festival season leads right to the winter holidays. Take it easy now so you can sneak in a moderately-sized portion of pumpkin pie come Thanksgiving!

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