Eating Healthy at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo ushers in a new year in the Metroplex, running from January 17 to February 8, 2020. If you’re like the 37 percent of people who intend to eat healthier in the new year, you may think that you’ll have to sit this one out, but there’s good news — this year Texas Health Resources has partnered up with the venue to offer healthy options.

When Texas Health learned about plans for Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, leaders wanted to do more than just sponsor the new venue. Instead, the organization opted to contribute to the venue’s commitment to respond to consumers’ requests for an experience aligned with healthy lifestyles. The building was designed to encourage the use of stairs, and Texas Health will sponsor a concession stand serving healthy food options, named Texas Health Cowtown Fresh Fare.

“We take our Mission to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve seriously,” says Deena McAllister, senior vice president of Brand Experience at Texas Health. “Offering healthier alternatives to traditional concession foods seemed like a great way to help achieve that.”

Many of the Stock Show’s restaurants will offer up healthy options alongside Texas Health Cowtown Fresh Fare. Take a peek below at what to expect!

Texas Health Cowtown Fare

With menu items such as the Beyond Meat™ Chicago dog made with a plant-based sausage, veggie fried rice, turkey wraps and a quinoa & dried fruit salad, there’s something to satisfy the whole family. Every menu item was proposed by arena culinary employees and perfected with input from dietitians from Texas Health Fort Worth to make sure the dishes fit dietary recommendations.

You can find this healthy hub in the Dickies Arena.

Reata at the Backstage & Reata at the Rodeo

This legendary downtown Fort Worth restaurant extends its reach a bit further to two additional outposts during the rodeo: Reata at the Backstage and Reata at the Rodeo.

In years past, the Backstage location has been a private club, but this year, all rodeo-goers can enjoy a full-service menu at both locations. Fair warning, though; reservations are highly recommended.

While you may have an easier time locating a steer instead of a buffalo at the Rodeo, Reata’s CF buffalo burger is a healthier alternative to ground beef. According to the USDA, a 4-ounce serving of ground bison contains 203 calories, 9.7 grams of fat, 3.9 grams of saturated fat and 28.8 grams of protein. The same serving size of ground beef contains 280 calories, 22 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat and 19 grams of protein. In addition, due to federal laws and industry regulations, most buffalo meat sold in the U.S. is raised without antibiotics and hormones.

If you’d like to get your fish fix, try the grilled mahi-mahi topped with lobster Florentine or their grilled salmon. If chicken is more your thing, get the grilled chicken breast topped with fresh tomatoes, bleu cheese, onions and chopped basil. Both come with a generous serving of seasonal vegetables and mashed potatoes, which you can substitute for more vegetables.

Whether you opt for it as a starter or your meal, you can’t miss their signature (and fan-favorite) field greens salad featuring a generous serving of Texas goat cheese, San Saba pecans and a sherry wine vinaigrette. If Texas had an official salad, it’d be this one.

La Espuela Mexican Cantina

La Espuela is also in the Reata family of restaurants, and it’s a great option if you’re looking to sink your teeth into some Tex-Mex classics. Although Tex-Mex isn’t known for its healthy offerings, you can still get your South-of-the-border fix without breaking the caloric bank.

Take a note from Brittney Bearden, a registered dietitian and sports nutrition manager at Texas Health Sports Medicine: choose wisely, limit portion sizes and drink responsibly. When surveying the menu, look for grilled or baked meats and high-fiber sides like black beans and steamed vegetables, such as the chicken or steak tacos in the à la carte section of the menu paired with a side of beans and guacamole.

Limit high-calorie, high-fat items like queso, sour cream and creamy sauces, and dishes that contain them. Instead, load up on low-calorie, flavorful items such as salsa, salsa verde, pico de gallo and cilantro.

A hot bowl of La Espuela’s tortilla soup will warm the soul on those cold rodeo days, and also serves up a healthy amount of lean protein, vegetables and broth.

“Broth-based soups containing lean protein and vegetables make for a filling, flavorful appetizer or entrée,” Bearden explains.

And if you’d like to indulge in an adult beverage, stick with a light beer or wine versus a sugary margarita.

Round Up Inn Food Court

Although you can find your run-of-the-mill concessions here, the Round Up Inn Food Court is also a great find for fresh, healthier alternatives. The Food Court, in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall, features various vendors serving up anything from bayou favorites to pizza and barbecue, and on the weekends, buffet-style dining is typically offered.

No matter which food avenue you go down, remember to look for lean cuts of meat without any sauces, such as a lean slice of brisket or ham or some fresh grilled fajitas. Then opt for healthy sides such as beans or salad. Don’t forget to load up on all those free “fixins” such as sliced onion, pickles, salsa and pickled jalapeños.

Stockman’s 24-hour Café

If you’re looking for an artisan burger featuring an equally gourmet pickle bar, Stockman’s is the right place. This burger-breakfast stand has been a rodeo favorite for decades, not just because it never closes, but because of the food offerings.

If you’re looking for a leaner option and maybe you’re just far enough removed from the holiday season that you’re pining for a taste of Thanksgiving again, try their smoked turkey cranberry sandwich.

For sides, if you want to pair your gourmet burger with a potato, opt for their crinkle-cut sweet-potato fries, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that this cattle-barn favorite offers up a chef’s salad as well.

The Takeaway

The Stock Show & Rodeo only comes around once a year, so it can feel like a special time to splurge and eat the food items you’d think twice about eating otherwise — and that’s ok. But if you’d like to hold onto those New Year’s resolutions a little longer than most or you just want to eat something a bit healthier this year, we hope these tips can help.

Need a little more guidance to make healthy eating a year-round thing? Visit TexasHealth.org to learn more about the nutrition services available at a Texas Health facility near you and to schedule an individualized nutrition consult.

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