You better take it easy on the fair fries


FARGO, N.D. — We’re in the prime season for food-inspired guilt. Fairs, carnivals, festivals and all sorts of fun events are in full swing at this time of the year.

Foods, such as funnel cakes, deep-fried “just about anything” on a stick and deep-fried breaded cheese curds, entice us with their aroma, texture and flavor.

Good news

Here’s the good news: We all have room for some discretionary calories, which are the treats in our diet. Discretionary calories include foods such as cookies, brownies, soft drinks and tempting fair foods.

Discretionary calories are like discretionary dollars because they are available to “spend” as we please. Like discretionary dollars, most of us don’t have as many discretionary calories available as we would like.

Here’s the somewhat bad news: Most of us get 100 to 300 discretionary calories per day, not per meal. You can find out your allotment of discretionary calories, along with your recommendations for a nutrient-rich eating plan, by visiting

Keep walking

As you enjoy portable treats, you might argue that you are burning off all the extra calories as you walk. Yes, walking is an excellent form of exercise. However, to burn the excess calories, you may need to walk more than you planned.

To burn the calories in one fried candy bar on a stick, plan to walk 4.5 miles. Add another 4.5 miles to your trek with an order of cheese fries.

If you drink a 32-ounce regular soft drink, you will need to walk an additional 2.5 miles. Add a cotton candy and you can add another 1.5 miles.

Caramel costs you

To get some fruit, how about adding a caramel apple? They must be healthy because they’re apples, right? To burn the calories in one caramel apple, you would need to walk 3 miles.

Quite soon, you’re well on your way to walking a marathon. You also might need an antacid.

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