8 suggestions for healthier Stampede eats

Food and nutrition guide Julie Van Rosendaal suggests a few lighter alternatives to all the deep-fried, saucy treats served up at the Calgary Stampede.

Pancakes, baked beans and dipped apples make the list

The Calgary Stampede is known for its midway food. (Tye Carson/Calgary Stampede)

Whether you’re heading down to the Stampede this year or celebrating with a western-style party at home on the range, you’ll need proper fuel to get you through busy days and festive nights.

The Calgary Stampede is known for its midway food. This year's new midway treats include double bacon corn dogs, deep fried Doritos, dessert fries with a frosting dip and deep-fried butter.

If you’re looking for a bigger nutritional bang for your buck, here are a few delicious food finds that will fill you up without filling you out.


A steaming bowl of chili is generally a good nutritional deal. Loaded with lean beef or bison, tomatoes and beans, chili is generally lower in fat, high in fibre and protein. A bowlful (or try it ladled over a baked potato) will warm you up and keep you going all day (or night).

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Food truck eats 

Most of our city’s food trucks do their cooking from scratch, turning local ingredients into divine custom creations. Eighteen of Calgary’s finest will be on Stampede Park for the inaugural Calgary Stampede Food Truck Rally from July 11-13. On each of these three nights, six trucks will roll into the Agriculture Zone from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., offering up their specialties to hungry Stampede-goers. On top of that, five more trucks will be onsite at Stampede Park for all 10 days. You’ll find them at Stamp-Eat Street across from the dream home.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre

All week long, local chefs and producers are cooking live on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage in the Western Oasis. Shows start on the hour – once they wrap up, the samples come out. Stick around for generous tastes of everything from pulled lamb shank with orzo to oatmeal cookies made with red lentils.

(Tye Carson/Calgary Stampede)

Baked Beans

In addition to high amount of fibre and complex carbs, pulses typically contain about twice the amount of protein found in whole grains such as wheat, oats, barley and rice. They’re also rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins including foliate, thiamin and niacin. Perfect for simmering and serving up as-is, alongside grilled meats or slopped over a baked potato.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Chocolate Dipped Jalapenos

Dark chocolate and fresh peppers, which are loaded with vitamin C, ain't so bad – if you can take the heat.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Cochinita Pibil

New on the grounds this year, cochinita pibil is a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish from the Yucatán Peninsula, served on corn tortillas with adobe salsa, lime, red onions – and habaneros for real cowboys.

(Julie Van Rosendaal)

Dipped Apples

When it comes down to it, there’s not a lot of candy, caramel, chocolate or fudge (unless you go for the triple-dipped whammy coated in M&Ms) on the exterior of an apple, and you get a whole fruit out of the deal. As a bonus, it takes awhile to eat, so you aren’t scarfing a bagful of deep-fried empty calories in mere minutes.

(Shane Kuhn/Calgary Stampede)


Folks are flippin’ flapjacks all over town this week. If you decide to make your own, it’s easy to give them a nutritional boost with whole grain flours, ground flaxseed and canola oil. Just remember you’ll need two of everything: 2 cups flours, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 cups milk, 2 eggs and 2 tbsp. oil. (Plus a pinch of salt!)

(Tye Carson/Calgary Stampede)

For a full range of edible offerings, you can find a food map on the Calgary Stampede's website.