Fair Food with a healthy twist: Food-On-A-Stick

Food is a main attraction at the State Fair and many of those foods are served on-a-stick at the “Great Minnesota Get-Together.” Food on-a-stick is often deep-fried and has a reputation for being unhealthy. Traditionally popular items like deep-fried Snickers, corn dogs and bacon on-a-stick are often the first foods that come to mind when food-on-a-stick is mentioned. However, there are increasingly healthier options for food on-a-stick so even the most health-conscious won’t miss out on this fun trend.

Try bringing “fair food” home for something new! There are many delicious, healthy recipes that skip the deep fryer. You can begin your day-on-a-stick by making breakfast-on-a-stick. Start by toasting a frozen waffle, cutting it into slices and skewering it along with strawberries and any other pieces of your favorite fruit.

Ditch the boring, traditional sandwich at lunchtime for a more exciting deconstructed sandwich-on-a-stick. Skewer deli turkey or chicken along with pieces of whole wheat bread, cheddar cheese cubes and grapes. Another great option is a PB&J sandwich-on-a-stick; a peanut butter sandwich is cubed and threaded along with slices of banana. Make your favorite sandwich into a wrap and cut into one-inch slices to put on a stick.

If you are busy, supper can be done simply by picking up pre-made kabobs – or make your own by alternating lean protein like chicken or shrimp and a variety of vegetables. Serve with a side of fruit and glass of milk to make it a balanced meal. Looking for vegetables ideas to add to your next meal? Try skewering Brussels sprouts, drizzle with olive oil, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese and heat on the grill.

Even salad can be put on-a-stick by simply making iceberg lettuce chunks and adding diagonally cut carrot slices, cherry tomatoes and cucumber with the lettuce to a skewer – and dipping it into your favorite salad dressing. Try setting up a salad bar for supper and let kids create their own salads on a stick. When schools started putting salad bars into their lunch programs, students’ fruit and vegetable intakes sky-rocketed. Why not try this method at home?

Snacks and desserts can be made on-a-stick and help get kids to eat more fruits. Fruit-on-a-stick is a great way to get a healthy snack into your day and a fun way for children to enjoy fruit. Adding a yogurt dipping sauce makes fruit-on-a-stick even more enjoyable. Serve watermelon slices on Popsicle sticks or try making your own Popsicles with fruit and yogurt. Another easy option is using angel food cake cubes and strawberries to make strawberry-shortcake-on-a-stick drizzle with melted chocolate or dip in whipped topping.

If you are looking for a good appetizer, try making this simple recipe:

Tomato-Basil Skewers

Serves: 16

All you need:

16 small fresh mozzarella balls

16 fresh basil leaves

16 cherry tomatoes

Hy-Vee Select extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste

All you do:

1. Thread mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on small skewers.

2. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Nutrition information per serving 46 calories, 3g fat, 1g carbohydrate, 3g protein, 0g fiber, 217mg sodium

Katie Wilhelmi, RD, LD is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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