The most marvelous time of year is upon us friends. 

A time where all the magical gems of society congregate in one place.  There are mullets, there are gaps in mouths where teeth should be, and of course there are “get er done” t-shirts.

What am I talking about?

The Iowa State Fair of course.  Known in all the land as the greatest State Fair in the country, suck it Wisconsin.


And while I don’t personally get overly excited about this overblown event, almost everyone else in our great state does. I am sadly, the minority.

I’ll go every year and every year I leave wondering, why did I come here? But that is another story for another day.

As a trainer and nutrition coach I get asked this  question a lot this time of year:

“How can I stay healthy at the Iowa State Fair?”

Many of my clients and friends are working so hard to meet their fitness goals and they don’t want to totally go off the rails at the fair to which I said, “Go You”.  They know that this T-shirt is fairly accurate and they do not wish it to be true for their life. newstatefair1_grandeBut at a place where they actually serve fried butter on a stick, can you REALLY eat healthy??

I think yes.  Here’s how:

5 Tips to Stay Healthy at the Iowa State Fair

1. Remember, It’s just one day

Before I give you some of my best nutrition tips can we have a quick reality check? If you’re only going to the fair for 1 day do you really need to stress out about “staying on track” or “on plan”? It’s 1 day. Enjoy it. No guilt, no shame!

1 day of indulging in some of your favorite fair treats isn’t going to ruin your body just like 1 workout isn’t going to make you fit as hell. Demonstrate to yourself and to the people around you that you can indulge a little without making a big deal about it and go right back to your normal healthy eating, exercising loving self tomorrow.

2. Sample Everything

Just because you order a funnel cake doesn’t mean you need to eat the entire thing. Share your food with the people you’re with. Oftentimes 2-4 bites is just as satisfying as an entire dish. Try this:

Bite -> Taste -> Savor -> Do I want more?

Repeat as necessary.

Instead of mindlessly binge eating practice sampling, it’s a really good tool for your entire life.

3. Prioritize Protein

Protein leaves us feeling fuller longer than the other 2 macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat). If I haven’t gotten enough protein in my day I tend to be unsatisfied and constantly snacking.

Get your protein in and then start your sampling. Chances are it will be easier to stop after 2 bites of a funnel cake if you’re not starving.

A few foods that I recommend are: Pork chop on a stick, any type of beef/pork/chicken without bread and without being deep fat fried, sandwich wraps, or shish kabobs.

4. Drink Water

Lots and lots of water.  First off its usually hot this time of year so you are going to get dehydrated and secondly water can help curb your appetite.

Remember, booze, smoothies, lemonade, all have a lot of calories, and may not be a bit satisfying/hydrating to you. If a lemonade or a few beers is your thing and you’d rather have that over a rice krispy treat, that’s totally fine. Regardless though, get your water in.

5. Listen to your body

Do you ever just eat to eat? You aren’t hungry, but you just want to?  Your stomach is gurgling and you are starting to feel tired, but you must have that one last corn dog? JUST STOP THAT SHIT!  Just because you are at the fair doesn’t mean you need to eat ALL THE FOOD.  When your stomach is saying, “Yep, I’m good” just listen to it!

6. Consider Planning Ahead 

Are you a chick with an itinerary? If so, bless you let’s be best friends.

All the planners out there might find it helpful to check out the healthy food options on the state fair’s website. You can find those HERE (they also have an app, but I’m not loving it).

7. Workout Before You Go 

Listen, you do NOT need to earn your indulgences. You can have them simply because you want them. However a quick pre-indulgance workout isn’t exactly a bad idea either. Get yourself sweaty and breathless, get your muscles burning before you head out if for no other reason than it makes you feel good and keeps you focused on what your priorities are.

Need a quick home workout idea? Check my Instagram page or grab these free at home workouts I’ve put together.

Don’t Forget

The fair is only ONCE  year. Have 1-2 treats and don’t beat yourself up about it. There is nothing worse than indulging all while berating yourself in your mind about it the whole time.  If you do that you have just ruined your treat so stop it!

Heading to the fair this year?

I LOVE hilarious weirdos at the fair so if you see some make sure to snap a pic and tag @hotandhealthylife in it.  I’m on facebook and instagram and it would really make my MONTH if you would show me your favorite weirdo.

What’s your favorite fair food?

Tell me in the comments below! I haven’t picked my go tos yet and I need some ideas