Snap-Ed NY: It's Fair Season!
August 1, 2021

Snap-Ed NY: It's Fair Season!

Snap-Ed NY: It's Fair Season!

Snap-Ed NY:
It’s Fair Season!

How to fit “sometimes foods” into an overall healthy eating plan

by Wendy Beckman, MS, RD, CDN

August is already upon us, and the end of the summer is coming closer. This time of year, I often think of the local county fairs that are happening around the state, and the New York State Fair in Syracuse (August 20, 2021, through September 6, 2021)

I love to attend my county fair. My family enjoys seeing the animals and the amazing things that local school districts and 4H programs have on display. I enjoy the food that I only have access to once a year! One of my family’s favorite things is french fries with vinegar on them. We also love to get milkshakes from one of the 4H groups.

Healthy Choices?
Right up front, let’s face it. There aren’t as many “healthy” options at most fairs. One way of looking at it is “all eating is relative.” You can manage your overall eating plan and still enjoy some “cheating.”

I go to the fair to have a treat. I certainly don’t eat like that every day! One of the things I try to do is to find something at the fair that I can define as “sort of” healthy. I’ll look for something with vegetables in the recipe. Can I find some sausage and peppers? How about some veggie pizza?  What about a salad? I have seen fried vegetables at the fair before and I guess some deep fried broccoli is probably healthier than a deep fried cookie!

Shift Your Focus
My visit to the fair is a once a year trip. If I know I will be eating dinner while I am at the fair, I try to eat something lighter for lunch like a salad or some soup. I try to walk as much as I can when I am there to get some extra steps in. I also try to schedule some activities that don’t revolve around food. Walking around more and focusing less on the delicious (but maybe not as healthy) food is a way to balance out the diet karma.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to eat, and I love food. But I have to limit those “sometimes” foods to well, sometimes. If I don’t my weight starts to creep up, and I feel lousy.

Enjoy the fair, and the food that goes with many special events and holidays! Just remember that if you make a plan, you can fit those “sometimes foods” into your overall healthy eating plan, and you won’t have to miss a beat.

Wendy Beckman, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian with the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA). She has over 13 years working as a Registered Dietitian in long term care and acute care settings and currently oversees the NYSOFA SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education program for older adults in New York State.
This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This institution is an equal opportunity provider. For more information on how to save time, save money and eat healthy, visit