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Healthy Food Choices Flourish at the Iowa State Fair


Monday, August 8, 2016   

DES MOINES, Iowa -- With more than a million visitors expected at the Iowa State Fair, vendors will sell scores of hot dogs, cheeseburgers and ice cream cones. But healthier options are expected to once again be popular among fairgoers.

State Fair organizers worked with the Healthiest State Initiative to improve Iowans' physical well being. According to Mindy Williamson, the fair's marketing director, officials seek out menu items that meet certain criteria.

"Entrees that are less than 600 calories, less than 35 percent from total fat, and then less than 10 percent from saturated fat," Williamson said. "And then, they come in and they count sugar and sodium as well."

She said healthy items don't have to mean a sacrifice in taste. There are pork chops, tacos and a handful of dessert items that made the Healthy Choices list, posted at

That list also includes a new version of what is traditionally one of the most popular State Fair items.

"There are two corn dogs listed on our healthiest foods," Williamson said. "There's a veggie corn dog that's listed on there and then a shrimp corn dog that's also listed on there. So you can have one of our traditional favorites, but kind of in a healthy way."

And, in keeping with the portability and novelty of items like corn dogs, there is even a "salad on a stick," which easily made the Healthy Choices list.

"It's cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and then it has balsamic vinaigrette on it," Williamson said. "And also there's a version that has chopped lettuce on it as well."

The State Fair will run August 11-21 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

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