Summer is in full swing. That means going to the beach, pool parties, ball games, state fairs, and backyard bbqs. That also means a lot of high-calorie, high-fat, high-sugar, and high-salt foods that are bound to wreck your waistline. Here are summertime’s diet destroyers and some healthier alternatives:
BBQ: Steaks, hamburgers, ribs, hot dogs
These fatty cuts of meat can set you back anywhere between 200 (hot dog)-1000 (ribs and steak) calories and 20-45 grams of fat because they are they fattiest cuts of meat – rib-eye, t-bone, baby back ribs, ground meat, and hot dogs. Plus the portions that are being grilled up are HUGE!
Try instead: Grilled fish and shrimp, Turkey breast burgers, chicken-based sausages, and portabella mushrooms as your burger patty.
Ball park favorites: hot dogs, nachos, ice cream sundaes, pizza, soda, beer
Take me out to the ball game, and right to the ER with indigestion! The typical person goes to the ball game and eats 1 hot dog (approx. 320 calories), drinks at least 1 beer or soda (approx. 200 calories), and at least one other item, like nachos (approx. 500 calories with the cheese) or ice cream sundae (approx. 375 calories). That totals about 1,400 calories! Make sure you wear elastic-waist pants.
Try instead: Chicken breast sandwich, bottled water or unsweetened iced-tea, and fresh fruit (yes, the stadiums do sell them!). Peanuts make a filling and nutritious snack, but are packed with calories, so share a bag with a friend (or two).
Pool parties: Chips and dips, drinks
Pool parties are such a great way to hang out with your friends and family – catching up while lounging in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) and splashing in the pool. There’s usually a large spread of snack foods, like chips and dip, pretzels, nuts, and other goodies that are very high in sodium and calories. These foods leave you thirsty, so you quench that desire with an icy, cold margarita (400 calories), pina colada (500+ calories), beer (at least 100 calories), soda (150 calories for 1 can of regular soda), or smoothie (250+ calories). Before the meal is even served, you’ve managed to mindlessly take in about 1,000 calories. Ouch! Not so bikini-friendly.
Try instead: fresh fruit chunks, whole wheat pita and hummus, and veggies and salsa for pre-meal noshing, and water or unsweetened iced tea to keep you hydrated. Or be really creative and make a spa-water by placing slices of lemon, lime and orange into a large pitcher of water (or use any combination of fruit you like).
State fairs: Fried everything!
It’s become quite amusing to see what new fried delights will be gracing the menus at this year’s state fairs. There are the deep-fried candy bars, beer-battered and fried bacon, funnel cakes, deep-fried girl scout cookies, krispy kreme sandwiches, and new to this year, deep-fried Kool-aid. Some people get quite the thrill eating this, but unfortunately you can leave the fair having ingested more than 1,000 calories!
Try instead: Believe it or not, healthy food does exist at state fairs. Look for grilled chicken beasts, steamed clams (east coast), corn on the cob (no butter), fresh fruit, and chocolate covered strawberries. Better yet, bring some snacks with you to save money and keep yourself fitting into your favorite pair of jeans.