Ah, summer in Chicago. It’s why we put up with the bitter winters (which, by the way, I am convinced keep our population down). And no Chicago summer is complete without many an outing to a summer festival. There’s Bacon Fest and Rib Fest, Taste of Chicago and Burger Fest, and hundreds of other festivals all intent on ruining your summer diet. But fear not, fellow festival-goers. When it comes to festivals, its not all fried butter, greasy meats, and funnel cakes. Here are some tips to keep you happy, healthy, and satisfied all festival season long:
- Grilled corn is a festival mainstay. Order it without butter, and you’re out less than 150 calories. Oh, and it is delicious.
- Bison hot dogs recently turned up at Wrigley Field, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find them at festivals this summer. Order your hot dog with this lean, flavorful meat rather than fattier beef or pork dogs.
- Keep portions small. Think sample size, not dinner size.
- Drink beer or wine instead of mixed drinks, particularly the icy fruity concoctions. Better yet, drink water. It gets hot out there!
- Hone in on any fresh fruit. Watermelon, among others, is often an option.
- Eat before you go so you’re not starving and easily tempted by less-than-desirable choices.
- Bring healthy snacks such as dried fruit, fresh cut veggies, or a sports bar (one of my favorites is the 130 calorie chocolate chip Z-Bar – yes, I know it says it’s for kids).
- Try a pickle on a stick. It’s yummy and makes you look like a fool. What could be better?
- Order BBQ chicken instead of fried chicken.
- Cool off with frozen yogurt (especially the probiotic kind) instead of ice cream.
- Don’t deprive yourself. If there’s something you love, splurge. Just don’t splurge your whole way through festival season.
I’m not the only one excited about this summer’s festivals. My fellow ChicagoNow bloggers have some great posts on the topic. To see the complete list of festivals, visit Show Me Chicago’s Chicago Summer 2012: Festivals and Events. And to make sure you’re not an ass while attending the festivals, visit Posts on Post’s How to Attend Summer Festivals. Good luck out there!