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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!

Eating Fair Foods!

Now that I am a Nutrition and Wellness Educator serving three counties, including Livingston, McLean and Woodford, I have three county fairs to go to. And all three county fairs are taking place during back-to-back weeks, which means I'll be living off fair food for about a month!

Hopefully, you're able to take the family to the local fair this year and enjoy all the activities the fair has to offer. But when it comes to eating fair foods, you might have to put your thinking cap on to find something that's not a total nutritional nightmare.

Eating healthy at the fair may sound like an oxy-moron, but healthy options do exist. Rather than a fried pork tenderloin sandwich, for example, choose a grilled pork loin sandwich or even a pork-chop-on-a-stick, which can be found at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Roasted corn on the cob can be a good side dish. Just ask them not to dip it in the large pail of butter. Instead, add a little seasoning for a less messy and a less greasy treat. Do you and the kids have a sweet tooth? Forgo the funnel cake, which depending on size could have approximately 800 calories and 45 grams of fat. Choose apples with caramel dip instead. Even cotton candy would be a better choice. Although it is high in sugar, a 2 ounce serving has approximately 220 calories and 0 grams of fat.

This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to completely abstain from getting your funnel cakes, corn dogs, or other favorite treat that you've been thinking about all year. You don't have to deprive yourself, but you should limit yourself from over-indulging. Pick one or two of your favorite treats and one or two of your favorite friends to share it with. Most servings are far greater than an actual serving size. By sharing with a friend or family member you will satisfy your craving without the feeling of over-doing-it. Also, don't let yourself come to the fair starving. Eat a healthy snack before leaving so you're not tempted to overeat. You can even try making some of those fair favorites at home, but with fewer calories. Instead of a strawberry crepe, try this recipe for a strawberry tortilla.

With tasty temptations lurking around the fairgrounds, you may think it is impossible to eat healthy at the fair. However, healthy options do exist. You just may have to search for them!

Strawberry Wrap

1 8-inch flour tortilla

1 Tablespoon low-fat cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon honey or sugar

½ cup chopped strawberries

Microwave tortilla for 10-20 seconds, just until slightly warm. Mix together cream cheese and honey or sugar. Spread cream cheese and honey mixture on tortilla. Top cream cheese with strawberries. Roll tortilla and serve.

Yield: 1 serving

Nutrition facts per serving: 170 Calories, 6 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 90 milligrams sodium

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Healthy food choices do not necessarily equate to two hour preparation times for such meals. You can make healthy food choices that are as quick to prepare or to pickup as the unhealthy meals. Sub sandwiches, for example, are a healthier alternative than pizzas or burgers and fries. But these healthier alternatives do not really take any longer to pickup. Also, salads can be prepared in just a few short minutes, and provide for the necessary vegetable daily requirement. For those who grow weary of the traditional dinner salads, try an occasional change of pace such as a Waldorf or fruit salad. Either way you've changed it up a bit, and you'll still provided yourself a health choice. As for the dressing, oil based and vinegar based salad dressings are much healthier for you than the cream based, and are actually more tasty.
by Frissll Walker on Wednesday 10/10/2012