The good, the bad and the ugly

I know we focus a lot of our attention on deep-fried food, but there are actually a lot of healthy (ahem. healthier) options at the fair. To prove it, we sent NCDA&CS nutrition marketing specialist Freda Butner a list of all the foods at the fair. (You can use our food finder app to search for your favorite foods). She combed through the list and created this tip sheet, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly at the fair. We all recognize the fair comes around once a year, so don’t feel bad for splurging every once in awhile. Bring a friend or two and share the calories.

The Good
Foods with best nutritional value to keep you going without any regrets.

  • Chocolate-covered frozen bananas
  • Candy apples
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Corn on the cob
  • Grilled pork chop sandwich

The Bad
High in sodium and fat with very low nutritional value.

  • Philly cheese steak
  • Corn dogs
  • Flavored pork skins
  • Nachos
  • Chicken wings

The Ugly
Exceeds fat allowance for a day – or two.

  • Blooming onion
  • Krispy Kreme burger
  • Deep-fried mac & cheese
  • Fried candy bars
  • Chilli cheese fries

For those looking to save some calories, here are Freda’s recommendations for items to split with friends or family.

Split & Splurge
Traditional fair foods with some nutritional value if eaten in small portions.

  • Polish sausage with peppers and onions
  • Giant turkey legs
  • Funnel cakes
  • Fudge
  • Sweet potato fries

The fair only comes once a year, and it’s hard not to splurge on some tasty treats while you’re here. You can burn off some of your calories while walking around the midway. Two laps around the main midway is about a mile, so you’ll need to walk 19 laps around the midway to burn off a plate of chilli fries. It will take 15 laps to burn off a Polish sausage with trimmings and 30 laps for the Krispy Kreme burger.

No matter what you eat, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. You’re going to need them to see and do all the great things at the 2011 N.C. State Fair. Buy your tickets before you get here at

What’s your favorite food at the fair?

About Bearded Lady

Paul Jones blogged for the 2009-2012 N.C. State Fairs. Here's his bio from 2009: Paul Jones, here (a.k.a. Bearded Lady). I love the N.C. State Fair. I love the rides, I love the food, but my favorite part of the Fair is the displays of the unusual. The two-headed snake, the world’s smallest woman, the world’s tallest horse and the list goes on. Originally from South Carolina, I hope that I can bring a different perspective to this blog as I shed light on some of the ordinary, yet extraordinary, aspects of this year’s Fair.

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