What's your favorite rodeo food?
HOUSTON – The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo isn’t exactly known for its diet-friendly fare.
According to Webmd.com, just one deep-fried Snickers bar packs a whopping 444 calories and 29 grams of fat. A fried Twinkie will set you back 420 calories and 34 grams of fat.
Think that’s bad? One of those tasty, foot-long hot dogs has 470 calories and 26 grams of fat, and a serving of funnel cake has a button-popping 760 calories and 44 grams of fat per serving.
But worst of all is the giant turkey leg. It has – brace yourselves – 1,136 calories and 54 grams of fat.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting total fat intake to less than 25-35 percent of your total daily calories. That means a sedentary woman between 31 and 50 years old only needs 2,000 calories and 50-70 grams of total fat each day.
Thankfully, the Harris County Hospital District says you don’t have to derail your diet to enjoy the Rodeo.
"Traditionally, the Rodeo is known for its high-calorie, high-fat foods," Dr. Ann Smith Barnes, medical director for Weight Management Services and Disease Prevention at HCHD, said. "Indulging can wreak havoc on your waistline, but choosing healthier foods at the Rodeo is an option."
Barnes recommends planning ahead when you know you’re going to the Rodeo. Eat small snacks with plenty of lean protein and fiber before you go to keep yourself satisfied until your next meal – and keep the snack attacks at bay.
Barnes said you shouldn’t completely deprive yourself of your favorite treats – the key is to choose one or two of them and to share the food you buy with a friend.
If you opt for tacos, eat corn tortillas and salsa rather than flour tortillas and guacamole.
If you’re in the mood for barbecue, try the chicken rather than the brisket or sausage.
After you eat, take a walk around Reliant and see the sights while you burn off some of those calories.
"A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything on a stick," Barnes said. "But if sausage on a stick is your indulgence, pass on the cotton candy and buttered popcorn. It’s fine to eat the treats you love, but the key is to do so in moderation."