If you’ve looked at any of the mouthwatering photos of the food at the State Fair of Texas this year, it’s pretty apparent that the focus here is not on healthy eating. But, there are plenty of keto, gluten-free, Whole30 and vegan options if you know where to look.
In fact, Dallas mayor Eric Johnson admitted he’s “going to need some help here” with his keto diet, and the State Fair of Texas immediately offered him a list of compliant foods.
To find each concession stand, grab a map or ask for details at the information booths at the State Fair of Texas.
Keto food at the State Fair of Texas
What is keto? It’s a low-carb, high fat diet. Keto dieters are encouraged to cut out or reduce sugar, starch, fruit and alcohol and opt for meat, eggs, cheese, nuts, low-carb vegetables and healthy oils.
Keto options at the State Fair include:
- Barbecue: Smokey John’s BBQ has sausage and turkey legs. Yoakum Packing Co. has brisket, beef jerky and ribs. Dickel’s Smokehouse has jalapeño-cheese sausage and quail. Any booth with a lot of meat on the menu is a good choice.
- Alligator sausage: Not your typical fair food! Find it at Velasquez Catering.
- Chicken: Kabobs and other grilled chicken are sold at Juicy’s, Chan’s Chicken on a Stick, Doc’s, Rotisserie Chicken, Belgian Waffles and more.
- Charcuterie: Take a break in the Wine Garden with a meat and cheese board. Just skip the wine.
Whole30 food at the State Fair of Texas
What is Whole30? It’s a 30-day plan designed as a healthy reset. It’s categorized by what you can’t eat: no added sugar, no grains, no soy or legumes, no dairy and no alcohol. It’s trickier than some of the other diets because sugar is hidden in so many food items.
Whole30 options at the State Fair include:
- Catfish: from Athnos Bayou Kitchen
- Frozen bananas: from the Lemon Chill cart
- Blackened shrimp baked potato: Just ask for no butter, no sour cream and no cheese; find it at Shrimp Doc
Gluten-free food at the State Fair of Texas
What does it mean to eat gluten-free? Gluten-free eaters don’t consume the gluten, a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. Many people who follow this diet suffer from Celiac disease or have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, but others have found that it’s a good way to load up on natural food.
Gluten-free options at the State Fair include:
- Popcorn: It’s available at tons of booths around the State Fair of Texas.
- Turkey legs: These are readily available throughout the fair from concessionaires like Butch Benavides, Smokey John’s BBQ, the Magnolia Beer Garden, Texas Skillet and more.
- Taco salad: Find it at Barrera’s, La Huasteca, Jack’s Mexican Food and The Dock.
- Tamales: Go visit one of the oldest concessionaires still in the business, Ruth Hauntz of Ruth’s Tamales, for her famous dish. (If Hauntz’s name rings a bell, that’s because she’s won several fried-food awards over the years, including for Fried Jell-O. She had two finalists in this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards.)
- Shaved ice show cones: Big D Kona Ice is one of several options.
Vegan food at the State Fair of Texas
What is a vegan diet? Vegans don’t eat animal products like meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk and mayo. The healthiest vegan options are plant-based foods, but less healthier options like cotton candy and French fries are often vegan as well.
Vegan options at the State Fair include:
- Red beans and rice: Find it at Atnos Bayou Kitchen.
- Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, French fries and sweet potato fries: These are vegan as long as they do not have sour cream, butter, cheese, or mayo-based condiments like ranch on them. More than two dozen concession stands sell some type of fried or baked potato.
- Shaved ice: Unlike traditional ice cream, shaved ice is vegan. Howdy’s sells it, as does Jack’s French Frys, the Wacky Shack and more.
- Kettle corn: Find it at Pioneer Kettle Corn and Velasquez Catering.
- Beyond Meat sliders or vegan queso: Head to the Trio on the Green, next to the Coliseum.
The State Fair of Texas offers tons of no-meat options — too many to list here. For a fried cheese stick dipped in Fletcher’s secret batter, go for the Cheezy Pup, sold at all seven concession stands inside the fair.
Or, try one of the 10 Big Tex Choice Awards finalists. From that list, four are vegetarian: a cookie butter ice cream sandwich named The Armadillo; a pile of candy called Deep Fried Halloween; Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake; and a Texas-shaped pumpkin cake. Read about all of those here.
Other State Fair favorites for vegetarians include:
- Chef Cassy Jones’ fried collard greens
- Chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls from Belgian Waffles
- Fried cake balls and Fried Oreos from Eat Crispies on the Midway
- Funnel cakes — available at lots of locations
- Jack’s French fries
- Fried mac and cheese from Mac Loaded
- Deep fried PB & Razbrûlée, one of the 25 new foods this year, at Scrumbscious Pieshakes