Foods to skip at the fair

The Bangor Fair is in full swing. Fairs can be tough on weight loss, but a good “what not to eat strategy” can help to keep you on track.

2017 Schedule of Maine Fairs

There is so much to see and do, and so much to eat. There is probably too much to eat, but don’t fear because I will help you to make the best choices.

Every year there is a new booth offering something new and delicious and a high-calorie treat that will blow your mind. With a little planning you can try some of these treats without blowing your diet. Just keep these basic principles in mind:

  1. Eat a light meal before you go. Arriving with an empty stomach leaves you vulnerable to the sights and smells of food.
  2. Keep your priorities straight.

dreamstime_s_43142024Eating outside, with the sounds of the amusement rides and the midway all enhance the flavor and enjoyment. The fair is no time to deprive yourself, but there is a big difference between some indulgences and throwing caution to the wind.

A little flexible restraint is the best way to have a good time at the fair and enjoy some good eating too.

There are 5 foods you should never at the fair. They are:

1) Hotdogs

Hotdogs are available everywhere and all of the time. When you’re eating at the fair pick the really special things that you can only find at a fair.

Why bother? There is nothing special about a hotdog, even if it’s red. You can always get a steamed hotdog just about anywhere there’s entertainment in Maine. The gooey, steamed hotdog rolls are about the best example of disgusting, white bread I can imagine!

2) Hamburgers
Sometimes you can find a pretty good hamburger at the fair, but you don't need to wait for a fair to get a good burger. Many places serve good burgers.

Unless you can find a really good hamburger at the fair, don’t bother. Even if you can find a good burger, unless it has something special to make it unique skip the burgers. Many restaurants serve excellent burgers so have your burger another day.

There is nothing special about a hamburger at the fair. The ones you cook at home on your own grill taste better and Maine has many restaurants where the chefs are absolute hamburger-cooking geniuses. Steer clear of the burgers at the fairs and save those calories for something truly worthy!

3) Fries that are made from frozen, pre-cut potatoes
Walk on by the booth when you see them open a bag of frozen, pre-cut and dump them into the fryolator.

Walk on by the booth when you see them open a bag of frozen, pre-cut and dump them into the fryolator.

If you can’t see the fresh, Maine potatoes going into the device that turns them into delicious strips before going into the fryolator, say “see you later!” to that booth and go find the right place to buy your fries!

4) Pizza

Pizza and corn dogs at the same stand? Not a good sign that it will be pizza worth wasting your calories on.


Pizza at the fair is usually pre-cooked, sold by the soggy slice and sitting around (for who knows how long) under the heater lights. In other words, it’s not great. Maine has its fair share of pizza restaurants that excel in making the perfect pizza pie. The pizza booths where they make your pizza fresh to order aren’t much better. You’re wasting precious time waiting for your pizza (could be a half hour or longer) and 9 times out of 10 they burn it!

5) Caramel Covered Apples!
Looks good on the outside, but is that caramel covering a high-quality apple or a mealy, mushy mess?

Looks good on the outside, but is that caramel covering a high-quality apple or a mealy, mushy mess?

I love caramel covered apples but my experience at the fairs with apples has been disappointing. Under the luscious layer of thick caramel is an apple that’s mushy, mealy and covered with bruises. If you’re going to eat a caramel apple, the best way to do that is to make it yourself with apples you hand picked yourself.

Anything on a stick might be something worth trying.

Here are some stick foods I’d definitely sample.

Do indulge in some fair food of questionable nutritional value. Be wicked choosy. Make your choices foods you can’t find anywhere else but a fair.  Be sure your choices are worth every empty calorie and by all means, don’t drown yourself in guilt. Enjoy every bite.

I’m not going home without eating some of this. You should make sure you don’t go home without eating your favorite treat too.

Fairs offer lots of opportunity to burn calories which can offset some of the calories you’re ingesting. Sometimes the rides help people to expel the recently consumed calories. I’m not endorsing this method. In fact, I’m strongly suggesting you stay off those rides that are synonymous with puking, but it might be an unexpected and unpleasant reality.

Go to the fair to have fun, eat some great food, and go home feeling as committed to losing weight as you were the day you began your diet.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.