Yahooo!! It’s Stampede time. And that means deep fried oreos, mini-donuts, corn dogs, and bloated tummies and higher numbers on the scale. 

For those that are not from my home-town Calgary, the Stampede is a huge outdoor festival that includes a rodeo, a mid-way, and some crazy food. It’s kind of a big deal. You should google it and check it out.

And for those from the great city of Calgary, when I say loosen your belts, you know why. Those Stampede calories can hit you hard!

But it’s not just the Stampede, it’s any summer festival. And the BBQ. And the patio drinks. All summer we are inundated with sweet treats and crafty new food that is full of fat and sugar. And we love it! But we don’t love the impact it has on our body.

So, what can we do?

Here’s my list of five strategies you can use to beat the summer belly. 

Strategy #1 – Pack your own food

This is the best and easiest strategy. 

For most of us, when we are thinking about hitting up a festival, the last thing we think about is the food we are going to eat. We just assume that we are going to find something to eat there. But the food that is offered at a summer festival is rarely healthy. And the odd health food vendor is in that hard to find, out of the way spot. 

Before going to your summer festival take ten minutes and think about what you can bring with you so when the munchies hit you have a healthy food alternative. 

You will want to pack food that is easy to package, or is already packaged, and won’t get smushed. The worst thing after a long day at a summer festival is to have to clean the mushed up food out of your bag.

My preferred foods are laurel bars, trail mix or nuts, apples and bliss balls packed in a tupperware container. Also, bring a water bottle with fresh water. Most festivals now have water stations where you can refill your bottle. 

Below is an example of what I brought to Calaway Park, a local amusement park, one day. My packed snacks included left over steak Kabob, my coconut waffles, an apple and cashews.

Strategy #2 – Plan your day and meals

Before going to a summer festival I always look at the website and check out the vendors. I look at their menus and plan for which ones will cater to my diet. 

Health food has moved from a craze or fad to a staple at most festivals. There is always at least one or two vendors that serve fresh food. Know which ones those are before you arrive and you won’t be tempted to visit the vendors that only offer junk food. 

Strategy #3 – Look for the fruit and vegetables

The easiest way to find the healthier food at a festival is to look for the fruit or vegetables. Vendors that offer healthier and fresher choices will often include salads, fresh fruit or smoothies on their menus. If you can find those vendors you will have an easier time sticking to your diet.

Strategy #4 – Choose made fresh food

I promise you, that onion ring, pizza, or thing on a stick was not made fresh. It has probably been in a freezer for a couple of days, maybe even a couple of months. 

If you search out fresh made food like pulled pork, homemade burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc. you will find healthier choices. 

Strategy #5 – Avoid sugary drinks

The easiest way to consume less junk food at any summer festival is to avoid sugary drinks and drink more water.