It’s that time of year again – the Calgary Stampede is in town, and we are ringing in its 100th birthday this year!  Along with the chuckwagon races, bull riding, barrel racing, and other rodeo events, there’s a huge fairgrounds set up at Stampede Park, with an ever growing list of crazy food choices to satisfy any craving.  I thought I’d go looking to see if there are any healthy(ish) choices amongst the new snacks available this year.  Here’s my review of some of the highlights:

  • Beef Bacon Sandwiches: Touted on the website as ‘Bacon that’s healthy!’ Hmm.  Beef bacon has only 10% less calories than pork bacon.  Guess again.
  • Naaco Bits: Butter chicken sausage, battered and deep fried.  ‘Nuf said!
  • Esquites: Warm corn salad in a cup.  I’m interested in this one.  It could be OK, depending on what they use for the sauce – if there’s a lot of oil, the calorie count could be high.  Consider eating half (share!), as corn is not a FreeVeg – it contains a lot of sugar and should therefore be considered to be a carb.
  • Tempura Coated Deep Fried Vegetables… well… I like the ‘vegetables’ part!
  • Saltspring Island Noodle Stirfry – ‘A healthy gourmet noodle box cooked with fresh veggies, chicken or shrimp, and no oil!’  Now THIS one has potential – I’ll be asking for nutritional information on this one when I’m at the midway.
  • Loukomathes (Greek Honey Puffs) (pictured above) – looks like a variation of the mini donut with a fancy name….
  • Deep Fried Kool Aid – really?? How do they even do that??

The Bottom Line:  It’s tough to eat healthy at the Stampede midway, but there are a couple of contenders that rise above the rest.  For many people, the food is a big part of the fun and excitement of going to the Stampede.  My suggestion is to enjoy in moderation: consider picking one or two treats, and practice portion control by sharing with friends!!

Happy Stampeding!

Dr Sue Pedersen © 2012

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