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How To Add Healthy Food...

How To Add Healthy Food...

Posted by Katie Knight on May 28, 2018

Healthy Carnival Food Ideas - image shows strawberries and oranges in a basket on red and white tablecloth

So, THIS Is How To Add Healthy Food to Your Carnival This Year!

When we think of "Carnival Food" we typically think of corn dogs and funnel cakes - but remember there are a few other options you can throw in the mix to keep kids eating some wholesome foods!

Of course, it may be hard to get kids to choose Kale Chips (hint: don't have those!) when Cotton Candy is being served right around the corner, but we have some ideas that are sure to make kids happy while making parents smile too!

Consider having a mix of traditional unhealthy food and healthy foods at your carnival, so that people can choose to either indulge in fun carnival foods, or can choose to stick to their healthy lifestyle regime! 

Registered dietitians (sometimes called nutritionists) will agree!

(Last updated by Katie K. on July 26, 2021)

nb-one.jpg How To Make Almost ANYTHING Healthier...  

We recommend that you provide both classic carnival food AND healthier options at your carnival, so that no one is missing out. Keep reading for several hints and tips that'll help you supply healthy food at your next carnival or event. 

There are two main options in supplying healthy food: 

(1.) You could either substitute a few ingredients in your classic carnival foods (such as hotdogs), and/or... 

(2.) You could provide classic carnival foods as-is, and simply have healthy side options. 

We recommend doing BOTH! 

Healthy Snack Options in Cupcake Liners for your carnival - including nuts, cheerios, crackers, raisins, dried fruit, etc.
The above image shows healthy snack options in cupcake liners.

So, how do you make carnival classics healthier? Follow these simple guidelines: 

Choose low-fat milk, dairy and meat products over high-fat options.

Choose fresh fruit and vegetables over canned or cooked options.

Choose whole grains (brown) over highly-processed grains (white.)

Choose baked goods (like crackers) over fried foods (like chips). 

When choosing snacks, look for products that have the "Heart Healthy" sign.

When looking at the Nutrition Facts label, these ingredients should be...

HIGH: fiber, vitamins, minerals

LOW: fat (especially saturated and trans), sugar, sodium

nb-two.jpg How Do You Apply The Guidelines Above?   

Following the guidelines above, you can make almost any carnival classic healthier! It's up to you to determine how many ingredients should be swapped out. Make this decision based upon the time and budget constraints of your upcoming carnival. 

Let's say you're serving hotdogs and would like to make them healthier. Here's how you could use the guidelines above to make your carnival hotdogs healthier: 

Swap out the plain white wheat bun for a whole grain bun. Choose low-fat hotdog meat (perhaps made of turkey) instead of the classic high-fat hotdog meat. You could offer ketchup, mustard, and relish as sides. Then, you could provide a fresh salad or fruit cups to go along with this carnival classic!


Cute toddler next to a lemonade stand outdoors for a carnival blog
The above image shows a toddler standing next to a lemonade stand.

Here are some other examples:

Lemonade: Use real lemons and 1/2 the sugar recommended instead of an artificial lemon mix.

Snow cones: Use 1/2 flavored syrup and 1/2 real fruit juice.

Soft pretzels: Use 1/2 the fat recommended and swap white wheat for whole grain flour. 

Fried foods: If it's possible to bake or grill, do so instead. If you'd rather fry, choose whole grains. 

Fried pickles: Don't fry the pickles! Instead, add seasoning as a flavor & put them on a stick.

nb-three.jpg How Much Healthy Food Should You Serve?   

You'll need to "guess-timate" how many of your carnival guests desire healthy food along with the carnival classics. 

We recommend using the 10% Rule. 

What is the 10% Rule? 

Simply provide enough healthy food for 10% of your expected carnival goers. So, if you expect 500 people to show, then plan to have 50 servings of your healthy choices. 

The 10% Rule is just a guideline. It's a great place to start at your first carnival with healthy food to get a rough estimate of how much healthy food you'll need for your next carnival. If you didn't sell enough of your healthy food, count the number of items sold and use this as a guideline for next year. If you quickly sold out of your healthy food, then do the same thing. 

Image by Carnival Savers - watermelon natural popsicles for your next carnival event
The above image shows watermelon wedges on popsicle sticks. 

nb-.jpg What To Do With Leftovers?  

So, if you undersold your healthy food, what should you do with leftovers?

Do NOT throw them away! 

Instead, it's better to give them away as "Thank Yous" to carnival volunteers and teachers. 

Teachers will be thrilled if your healthy, leftover food is placed in the teacher's lounge as a free gift! 

Thanks for reading the Carnival Savers blog! 

If you'd like more hints & tips on saving your money and time, feel free to check out more of our posts.

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