‘Tis the season of beaches, ballgames and BBQs! But just because summer is here, you shouldn’t take a vacation from healthy eating. Use these slimming strategies to avoid summer’s worst diet saboteurs:
Summer Saboteur #1: Beaches and Ballparks
Days spent at the beach or in the bleachers can be some of the best ways to savor the summer — but they can also lead to diet disasters. Corn dogs, fried dough, nachos and cheese, burgers and fries at the ballpark may fill you up, but they’ll also add on pounds if they’re more than just an occasional indulgence.
Smart Solutions: Save money, time, and your waistline by packing your own meals and snacks. For a lunch that satisfies, pack a hummus and veggie wrap. TRY: Pump up the protein by using a protein-rich wrap like Flatout Light (9 grams protein, 8 grams fiber for just 90 calories).
Summer Saboteur #2: Ice Cream
Nothing feels like summer more than a cold dish of creamy ice cream on a sweltering day. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year! But the sweet delight of one of summer’s best treats comes with a high calorie price: a cup of premium ice cream has a whopping 500 calories 25 grams of sugar (about 6 teaspoons).
The good news is you don’t have to give up ice cream to keep your hard-earned swimsuit body. New, creamier lower calorie options can help you enjoy your favorite frozen treat -- guilt-free. TRY: Halo Top’s Vanilla Bean ice cream has just 120 calories per cup – that’s a fraction of typical premium brands. What’s more, a one-cup serving has 10 grams of filling protein to keep you satisfied. Another option is portion-controlled novelties like 100 percent fruit pops, light ice cream sandwiches and fudge bars that have about 100-150 calories each.
Summer Saboteur #3: Cookouts
For most people, BBQ season means burgers, brats, and hot dogs. Navigating a summer cookout without blowing your calorie budget may seem impossible, but with a few smart swaps you can cut calories and boost nutrition, without sacrificing taste.
Smart Solutions: If it’s burgers you’re craving, use the leanest ground beef possible (ground sirloin is leaner) or ground turkey breast. Add moisture and nutrition by mixing meat with an egg, chopped onion and other veggies. If you’re like me, you may want to skip the meat altogether and grill up delicious Portabello mushroom burgers. TRY: One of my favorite summer meals is a rich Portabello mushroom burger topped with greens, avocado, tomato, grilled onion and a slice of Swiss cheese.
For hot dogs, you can slash saturated fat by choosing chicken or turkey based varieties over beef. There are also some great tasting vegetarian dogs on the market that are low in both calories and saturated fat. TRY: Applegate’s turkey hot dogs have just 50 calories, 7 grams of protein and 1gram of saturated fat compared to 150 calories and five grams of saturated fat in most beef hot dogs.
Summer Saboteur #4: High Calorie Sips
Remember that hydration needs are greater in the summer time heat, but shakes and smoothies, energy drinks, sweet iced coffee concoctions topped with whipped cream, and even sweetened iced tea and lemonade can add hundreds of calories a day to your diet — not to mention calorie-laden alcoholic beverages like frozen daiquiris, piña coladas, and margaritas.
Smart Solutions: If you want a quick and (relatively) painless way to slash calories from your daily diet, opt for low and no calorie drinks like water. (Hint: Make it fun and fizzy by using sparkling water, fresh berries, and a twist of lemon or lime.) Also try unsweetened iced tea, and remember to keep alcohol to 1 drink or less per day.