Beaches, Ballparks and Backyard BBQs: Your Summer Eating Survival Guide

As summer fast approaches, taking a relaxing trip or family vacation is often just what the doctor ordered. But a well-deserved getaway doesn’t mean taking a break from your healthy eating habits!

Here are four common ways summer sabotages your diet, and how you can avoid them:

Summer Saboteur #1: High calorie sips
It’s important to stay hydrated in the summer heat. But many sips are calorie bombs in disguise. 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.

Slim Solution: 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.

Summer Saboteur #2: Screaming for ice cream
Do you celebrate summer with cold, creamy ice cream? An occasional treat is fine, but don’t let trips to your favorite ice cream parlor become a daily habit. A double scoop of ice cream can cost you over 450 calories (cone not included!)

Slim Solution: You don’t have to abstain altogether, but limit frozen treats to no more than a couple times a week and keep your serving to 1/2 cup or 1 bar. Also try ice cream varieties that are “whipped” or “slow-churned” — they have fewer calories per serving. Frozen fruit bars (look for ones with 80 calories or less per serving) and ice cream sandwiches can also offer a satisfying fix for your cold treat cravings. Some of my favorite lighter frozen novelties include: Trader Joe’s Mango & Cream Bars (60 calories per serving), Tofutti Cuties (130 calories per (vanilla) bar), Edy’s Slow Churned French Silk (130 calories per ½ cup).

Summer Saboteur #3: 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.

Slim Solution: Instead of the typical high calorie beach and ballpark concession stand fare, opt for easy meals and snacks that will travel well wherever you go. You’ll save money and your waistline. Some of my favorites are tofu lettuce wraps with peanut dipping sauce, sliced apples and pears with almond butter, and flatbread rollups with hummus and veggies. To cut calories and keep sandwiches from getting soggy, I use a wholesome flatbread like Flatout Light, with 9g protein and 8g filling fiber in just 90 calories. Keep nut butters and dips in small plastic containers for mess-free travel. Also, a small, insulated carryall is a great way to keep food and beverages cool on those hot summer days.

Summer Saboteur #4: Backyard BBQs
Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook foods because it minimizes added fats, and the high-heat brings out the natural flavors of food. The downside: A typical BBQ menu of burgers, brats, dogs, and creamy potato salads can pack more than 2,000 calories — and more than two days’ worth of fat.

Slim Solution: Limit BBQ calories by using the leanest ground beef possible (for example, ground sirloin), skinless turkey breast, or even Portabella mushrooms. For hot dogs, go with a turkey or chicken frank. Watch the side dishes when you’re outdoor entertaining, too, since mayo-drenched sides like pasta or potato salads can have just as many calories as a burger.

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