Five Tips on Eating Healthy at the Little State Fair

Megan Rowe at the Brown County Fair

Hear from Megan Rowe, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Adams County Regional Medical Center as she discusses ways to stay healthy at the Little State Fair in Brown County, Ohio. 

Growing up, the Brown County Fair was a staple in my childhood. From Clover Buds to senior year in high school, you could find me in Georgetown, Ohio, during the last week of September at the "Little State Fair ." I have always been proud to be a showman at the Brown County Fair, and as much as I loved showing, participating in scavenger hunts and bake-offs, or just hanging out at the campers, the thing I loved the most was the fair food. On a typical day, you could guarantee I was enjoying a pork tenderloin, maybe a ribeye sandwich, some deep-fried pickles or French fries, and occasionally the delicious deep-fried Oreos! 

These days I don't spend the whole week at the fair like I used to, but I look forward to visiting a few days throughout the week. However, I now know I have to plan my fair food accordingly. Being a dietitian, the word moderation comes to mind when I think about enjoying all of my Brown County Fair favorites. Here are a few tips on how to enjoy your time at the fair while being mindful of your health.

Rethink your Drink 

Make sure to stay hydrated. Dehydration can sometimes be disguised as hunger costing you unnecessary calories. Bring a water bottle with you and find places where you can refill it throughout the day. You will save on money and calories. If you buy a drink, opt for a small or lower-sugar or sugar-free drink such as unsweetened tea, half-cut lemonade, or diet cola. 

Don't Arrive Hungry

Make sure to eat a nutritious meal before heading to the fair. Pack a small cooler or a snack bag with healthy snack items such as fruit cups, veggie sticks, yogurts, nuts, or granola bars to help balance your meals at the fair. 

Share the Fare

There's no better way to practice portion control than sharing your favorite fair food with your friends. Sharing allows everyone to sample fair favorites without overdoing it. For example, a large funnel cake or a blooming onion can easily feed 4- 6 people. 

Look for Healthier Alternatives

Not everything served at the fair is deep-fried. Look for items that are grilled or broiled. Look for whole fruits and vegetables such as corn on the cob, fruit on a stick, or a taco salad. Try to limit yourself to one treat with each visit. 

Sit and Eat Slow

Sit down to eat. When you sit down to eat, you instantly eliminate the temptation to graze your way from one end of the fair to the other. It is easy to overeat when wandering and not paying attention to what you are eating. So slow down and take some time to eat by enjoying a show in the cattle barn, people watching in the grand stands, or eating at the picnic tables under the pork producers' shelter as you reminisce with friends. 

I hope these tips help you have a fun and enjoyable fair, but remember, if you do overindulge, make sure you plan to get back on track with your healthy lifestyle choices. 

Megan Rowe is the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Adams County Regional Medical Center. She specializes in assisting patients in setting nutritional goals to improve their health resulting in fewer doctor appointments, hospital stays, and reduced prescription drug use. To learn more or schedule an appointment, please call 937-386-3861. A medical provider's referral is needed to establish a care plan. 

About Adams County Regional Medical Center

Adams County Regional Medical Center is a 25-bed critical access hospital located near Seaman, Ohio, just 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Adams County Regional Medical Center is a viable and growing state-of-the-art health care facility meeting the needs of Adams County and the surrounding communities, providing a full range of services, including inpatient and outpatient amenities. Adams County Regional Medical Center is Joint Commission certified, focusing on the importance of patient care and organized functions that are essential to providing safe, high-quality care.