• 3 min read

More fun, less guilt: Balancing enjoyment and nutrition at the Calgary Stampede

  • Resources

The Calgary Stampede is famous for its wacky assortment of sweet and salty treats to make your mouth water. Our team of registered dietitians share tips to help you navigate the Stampede food scene with less guilt and more enjoyment.  

Photo of the Calgary Stampede midway food stands

Hold the guilt

Don’t let guilt be a side dish to your meal. Remind yourself there are no “good” or “bad” foods, food is just food. When you ditch the labels and guilt, you’ll be able to choose what you truly want to eat and focus on enjoyment and satisfaction.

“It’s important to remember we make food choices for reasons other than nutrition. Stampede is a great time to try new foods, connect with friends and family, and enjoy your favourite snacks that only come around once a year,” says Mikaela Jahrig, PCN registered dietitian.

Listen to your body

Intuitive eating encourages listening to your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues, rather than following strict diets or rules. Pay attention to what you feel like eating – do you want something sweet like the churro fries or are you feeling more adventurous to try the cheeseburger ice cream? Maybe you just want a simple sandwich or salad. Listen to your body – satisfying your cravings can make your experience more enjoyable and prevent feelings of deprivation.

Plan ahead

Before heading to the Stampede, try to have a balanced meal so you can tune into what you feel like eating. This can help you make more mindful choices when faced with a variety of options. 

Balance and variety

It can be hard to choose just one dish to try at the Stampede. Sharing with family or friends can allow you to sample a wider variety of food. Listen to your body, you may want to incorporate sour candy soft serve or maybe you find yourself craving the watermelon burger, there’s no wrong choice.

“A balanced and varied diet includes fun foods too. Remember, one meal or snack doesn’t have the ability to change the course of your overall health,” says Jahrig.

Photo of a person wearing a cowboy hat looking at a crowd of people dressed in western clothing

Get moving

Physical activity can help with digestion and there is no shortage of opportunities to get moving at the Stampede. Dancing at concerts, playing games and walking around the grounds are all great ways to add joyful movement.

Drink wisely

If you plan to drink at the Stampede, listen to your body and know your limits so you can enjoy the festivities safely. Stay hydrated and avoid dehydration when drinking in the hot sun by having a glass of water between alcoholic drinks.

Visit Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health to learn more.  

Access free nutrition support

The Calgary Stampede is a time for celebration and food is a big part of the experience. Enjoying the midway treats with a balanced approach can help you have more fun.

If you have questions or are interested in accessing nutrition support, our team of registered dietitians can help.

We offer free virtual and in-person:

  • One-on-one appointments to help you:
    • learn about healthy eating and nutrition
    • set personal nutrition goals
    • improve your relationship with food
    • manage digestive issues or food allergies
    • support specific health conditions
  • Group workshops, including Ask a Dietitian, Craving Change and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Discover ways our team of registered dietitians can help.