Stampede Tricks and Treats

How to make it through Stampede and keep your body and wallet relatively healthy.  Updated for 2019

Parties, pancakes, mini doughnuts, deep fried foods, beer. There’s not a lot of healthy things that come to mind when you’re thinking of the Stampede. If you hate the Stampede and avoid everything about it, you’re probably better off and can stop reading now. If not read on.

1) Remember everything in moderation. While moderation standards may be skewed during the Stampede from only eating 10 pancakes instead of 20 at a delicious pancake showdown or only guzzling 6 beers instead of 10, they’re better than having none at all and should still help you retain the specialness of Stampede.

2) Don’t just eat pancakes and sausages for breakfast. Free food is super tempting and while it’s hard to say no, 10 straight days of eating pancakes with butter, syrup and sausages is probably too much for anyone. Consider heading to Talisman’s Centre breakfast which was developed by dietitians and feature whole barley flour pancakes as well as taking some days off from free flapjacks. If you want to have a free breakfast everyday ,eat some fruits or veggies beforehand and skip a sausage or pancake.

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3) Bring water with you. Juices, smoothies, cold pressed juices, lemonades, beers and coffees all add up both calorically and monetarily. Grab some water so you aren’t just tempted to get a drink because you’re thirsty and wait until you find something that will really hit the spot. Or just skip buying drinks altogether.

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4) Use active transportation. It can be hard fitting a workout in during Stampede season so fit it in with your commute. The train runs very frequently during the Stampede so take advantage of it and try taking transit to work or try cycling or a combination of the two.  If you’re heading to the Stampede, consider biking, just remember to bring a lock.

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5) Be selective with your Stampede food.  While healthy food on the Stampede grounds has increased, it’s still in short supply. If you’re going to watch the rodeo or chucks you can head to the clubhouse in the Grandstand for their buffet which features some salad, veggies and meat. The Saddledome Chrysler Clubhouse also has a buffet with salads, pasta, sandwiches and meats.

On the grounds Avatara Pizza, AG Grill and Fresh and Local offer up some of the healthiest menus on the grounds. They all offer up some raw veggies and salads. Fresh and Local also has cherries, watermelon and fruit bowls and there’s pineapple and watermelon juice booths scattered about. Another good dessert choice is a a chia seed pudding, found inside the BMO Centre.

For those looking to try something new, Avatara Pizza has a camel pepperoni pizza.  If more regular food appeals to you, Subway and Anejo are on hand at the basement of the Big Four.  For a cheap protein snack the R and R Bratwurst stand offers up elk and turkey sausage sticks for $3. There’s also a mini Fresh and Local farmer’s market inside the BMO Centre run.

If you want a break from all the hustle and bustle consider heading out of the Stampede.  This can also save some money. There are plenty of restaurants closeby. Sunterra has a huge salad bar and a cafeteria and restaurant dining options. If you like Vietnamese food Lotus and Vietnam are excellent options. There’s also good Japanese food at Zen8 and Haru Sushi.  If you’re tempted to get  some of the usual Stampede food get it as a snack and split it with your friends.

6) Don’t fall for scams. You don’t need vibrating machines to help you lose weights or bracelets to fix your ions or balance.. You also don’t need a cleanse, detox or IV drip after the Stampede if you’ve eaten/drank too much.

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7) Get some exercise.   If you want to get active at the Stampede try out some rock climbing, jump on a peleton bike, throw some axes or head inside a zorb ball.

8) Dance. There’s plenty of opportunities to dance at the Stampede. There are two stepping, line dance and square dancing demos everywhere, and there has to be at least one country song that will get you moving if you live in Calgary.

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