Splurging on summer fair goodies: using my 10 rule

Later today I am heading to the EX – the Canadian National Exhibition – an annual fair that as a kid and a teenager, I wouldn’t miss for anything in the world. In those days, the midway with its stomach-turning rides and greasy eats held great appeal. During my adult years, I managed to escape the pilgrimage after my kids didn’t mind my absence. I say pilgrimage because my husband loves the ritual. But now that I have two small granddaughters, the CNE has once again become a family affair.

As at any other summer fair, deep fried offerings abound at the CNE: Deep fried butter, Deep fried Mars bars, Deep fried PB&J, Deep fried Cola, Deep fried Mac’n’Cheese, Krokets (mashed potatoes and ground meat deep fried)  and Deep fried apple fritters served with a choice of cinnamon, sugar, icing and/or ice cream.  Added these to the endless bacon combos:  sandwiches (bacon with Nutella, Jack Daniels bacon), deep fried bacon covered hotdogs, Bacon Parfait, Bacon Sundae, Candied Bacon and Bacon Popcorn.

You get the picture.

So how do I as a dietitian manage the glut of fatty fare? It’s easy. I use my 10 rule.  It’s very simple: if you’re contemplating eating something that doesn’t have any redeeming value in terms of nutrition, it should be exceptional tasting in order for you to eat it.

To find those decadent delights, think of yourself as a judge in a food contest.  Take a bite of what you are contemplating as a treat and then rate it on a scale of one to ten as to how good it tastes – not how much you want it but how yummy it really is. And then only go for it if it rates a ten. Many options you’re faced with may indeed be luscious looking but the proof is in the taste. Close your eyes when you’re sampling if you need to.

How many indulgences have you had in the past that only rate a six or seven? And how many have you chastised yourself about having? But if a treat ranks low, it won’t it the spot. And six sixes don’t make a ten. Before you know it, you’ve eaten too much and end up feeling guilty. Your so called reward – if you were looking for one- becomes a punishment as you’ll likely be put off with yourself for eating it.
You never regret enjoying a ten.
So using my philosophy, I can easily navigate through the deep fried options simply because they do not appeal to me. Fried food is just not my thing – except for some fabulously crisp, thin French fries but they’re not easy to find, especially at a summer fair.

But truth be told, there is a decadent delight that I do go for at the EX:  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. All year long, they may be in clear view at the check-out counter at the supermarket but somehow I never notice them. At the Ex, though, they’re my 10!

What’s your favourite at summer fairs? Do you overdo it or practice moderation? Please share in the comments section.

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Categories: Tips and Tricks

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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