When the weather gets warm and the nights get long in Indiana, fair season is upon us. From rides to animals to shows, games, and sweet treats, county and state fairs are among the most fun—and most potentially unhealthy—family activities summer has to offer
But look beyond the deep-fried butter, scorching hot temps, and five-different-types-of-cheese grilled cheeses, and you and your family can still have a whole lot of fun at the fair. Follow these tips to stay healthy, hydrated, and safe this fair season.
Water, water everywhere, make sure you have a drink
In the midst of lemon shake-ups, sodas, milkshakes, and bopping around from exhibit to exhibit, it can be easy to forget to drink water at the fair. This year, before you get going, locate all the fountains and water stations at the fair and ensure your family knows the routes to them so getting hydrated is quick and easy. If you can, pack water bottles or bring a water backpack as back-up. With the heat and humidity climbing, the risk of dehydration increases, so always go prepared.
Skimp on the sweets
It’s no easy feat avoiding all the delicious fried foods at the fair. From Oreos to pickles to ice cream, if you can think of it, they can deep fry it. Instead of indulging in deep-fried treats—any one of which might see you racking up more calories than you should consume in a day—try to find a lower-calorie, less-damaging option. Fresh fruits, Italian ices, and frozen yogurts are great foods to get your sweet tooth satisfied without derailing your normal diet.
Bring a budget
Everything at the fair costs money, and when you bring the whole family, all those expenses can add up and leave your pockets feeling much lighter than you intended. Instead of going in without a plan or an idea of how much money you’d like to spend, give yourself a budget or a cost cap so you aren’t dishing out hundreds. (Yes, it’s possible.) To make things even easier for yourself to manage, only bring cash in with you. When it’s spent, you know it’s time to go.
Stick with what you know
Trying new foods can be a fun activity to share with family and friends, but trying mashups at the fair can be an exorbitant health bomb. Instead of using your sense of adventure to try that donut cheeseburger or the extra-large ice cream dipped in chocolate, stay on the beaten path and opt for a single cheeseburger or kabob, or choose one simple dessert, like a regular ice cream cone or fruit with chili powder. Your gut and well-being will thank you later.
Pick a safe place
Fairs are filled with crowds; for example, the Indiana State Fair draws more than 900,000 people, which means when you bring your family, it can be easy to lose a little one in the hustle and bustle. To protect your family from getting lost at the fair, pick a meeting place that’s easy to remember and simple to find that each member can locate on their own. Be sure to charge your phones fully before heading into the fair, and always remind kids of the importance of sticking together and paying attention to their surroundings.
And have fun! With these quick and easy tips, there’s no reason your family can’t enjoy the fair in a healthier, safe way.