Festival treats cost plenty of cash, calories
Summer's yummy fried foods may seem like a good deal-until you consider what you'll pay to work them off.
Gooey inside, with a crunchy exterior, a serving of the deep-fried cheese curds ($4) dished out by the Little Chute Knights of Columbus at the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival (Jun 5–7) weighs in at about 700 calories—even more if you dip it in dressing, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian who estimated the calorie counts for this story.
Work-off cost A $90 pair of sneakers and a brisk two hours walk along the lake path
Healthy option Try the Walking Taco (find them at the Little Chute Girl Scouts booth). It will do about half as much diet damage if you load up a taco with veggies and go easy on the guac, sour cream and, uh, cheese.
Where’s the beef?
Most of us don’t have the willpower to merely nibble the ribs on offer at Ribfest Chicago (Jun 12–14)—we go after those bad boys until we’re left licking our fingers. Cordis Brothers’ smokey, succulent full slab (about $15) rings in at about 2,500 calories, says Blatner.
Work-off cost Roughly five hours and $500 of heavy-duty lifting with a personal trainer
Healthy option Dig into a grilled BBQ chicken breast: This lean meat is totally juicy and flavorful but clocks in at a mere 300 calories.
They may be served up by an adorable crew of saintly nuns, but the sfingi ($1)—deep-fried ricotta rolled in powdered sugar and drizzled with honey—served at the Taste of Melrose (Sept 4–6) will require some penance.
Work-off cost You’d have to bank three one-hour lap-swimming sessions—$90 for three days—at the Four Seasons Hotel pool to reconcile the 700-calorie snack.
Healthy option Sink your teeth into grilled corn on the cob (200 calories); between the butter and the spices slathered on those kernels, you won’t feel deprived.
Six inches across and an inch and a half thick, hot, honey-brown apple fritters ($2) at the Long Grove Apple Festival (Oct 2–4) are undeniably delicious. “We leave the healthy, organic and low-cal stuff for you city folks,” laughs Apple Haus bakery’s Jodi Hutch. Sweet Jesus, she’s not kidding; Blatner estimates that these apple cider–glazed treats are 1,500 calories each.
Work-off cost You know what’s not so sweet? You’ll fork over $450 for six sweaty hours of Pilates to burn off the sugary delight.
Healthy option You could bite into a crisp, tangy apple instead for just 75 calories.
The best spots at Chicago’s summer fests | Index fun | How to dress for this summer’s festivals | Chicago’s summer ethnic festivals | Cheap drinks at Chicago’s summer festivals | Festival treats cost plenty of cash, calories | Cheap summer thrills | What and where to buy at this summer’s festivals | Volunteering at music fests can get you in free | Money-saving tips!