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The title of an article in the Sunday newspaper caught my eye. “Show stalls are a nutritionist’s nightmare”. As a nutritionist, I was keen to read the article. The article suggests that most of the food available to buy at the show is unhealthy: foods such as dagwood dogs, burgers, hotdogs etc. In the article we are told how much fat and calories are in these foods as well as in the showbags that are a part of most people’s purchases at the show.

I don’t know about you, but I remember eating a dagwood dog or a hot dog as a child on the one day a year I went to the show in the country town where I grew up. Similar to the young women quoted in the article ‘it’s was my special Easter Show treat’.

While I agree that there should be a whole range of food available at the show, part of the fun of going to the show is having experiences that are different from the everyday ones. Whether it is  going on one of the numerous rides, watching the woodchopping or eating fairy floss, it’s about a special experience that we remember for the rest of our lives.

Like many venues that have a monopoly over the services and food available, the more nutritious food at the show is expensive. Think airports, the zoo, tourist attractions. We know that food such as cafe food or bottled water is going to cost more than if we bought them at the supermarket and took them along. We all have the choice of packing sandwiches, fruit and water rather than paying the exorbitant prices for these foods. On the other hand you can make the choice to have a ‘show day’ and eat dagwood dogs and fairy floss. It’s a good idea to take water with you on any outing to avoid  paying inflated prices as well as not adding to the rubbish pile.

Show bags are another part of the Easter Show experience. As parents, we have control over how much to allocate to spend on show bags. If your child comes away with a showbag or two with ‘extra’ foods such as lollies and chocolates, you can treat it the same way as the Halloween stash or lolly bags from a birthday party. When you get home, let him lay it out and gloat over it and eat as much as he wants. Then get him to put it away. From then on, let him choose to have one or two things at meal or planned snack times until he finishes the bag or doesn’t want any more. If he keeps to the rules of having the sweets at meal or snack time, he gets to keep control over the show bag. If not, you take the control and offer it at meal or snack time. Structure is the key here.

Enjoy your visit to the show.