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Avoid These 3 Foods To Prevent Summer Weight Gain

Summer is a great time to relax by the pool, unwind at the beach, and enjoy cookouts with friends and family. However, if you’re not careful, all of those vacation days and summer indulgences can lead to unwanted summer weight gain. We highlight some of the major dietary culprits of summer weight gain and how to replace them with healthier options.

Iced Drinks

Iced coffee drinks, iced tea, lemonade, and even some fruit smoothies can all be loaded with sugar. For example, one 16oz sweet tea contains about 170-200 calories and 12 teaspoons of sugar. That’s similar to a 12oz can of regular soda.  Flavored iced coffee drinks can range from 100 calories to 420 calories depending on the size and ingredients. Thinks smoothies are healthier?  Think again! A 16oz smoothie contains about 240 calories and 14 teaspoons of sugar. Be sure to check the serving size on beverage bottles. Sometimes a bottle actually contains 2 servings! A better option is to make your own smoothie at home. Try this easy smoothie recipe.

So most summer beverages are loaded with calories and sugar. What other options besides water are there? To prevent summer weight gain, stick with these better for you beverages. If you are a purveyor of coffee drinks, you can cut down on calories by ordering a smaller size and the “skinny” or “light” version of your favorite drink. Ask for 1 pump instead of 2 pumps of syrup and switch to skim or almond milk instead of full fat milk or cream.  An unsweetened iced tea or coffee are both good options too.  Swap out slushies, juice, lemonade and other sugary mixed drinks for flavored seltzer mixed with a small amount of juice.

Picnic Foods

Summer conjures up images of tables laden with burgers, corn on the cob, fruit, desserts and mayonnaise based potato and pasta salads. However, some of those picnic foods can pack a mean punch when it comes to fat. For example, a half cup of cole slaw contains about 10g of fat. An average burger is about 30g of fat, and a small handful of chips has 9 grams of fat. Once you add on a cup of  ice cream for dessert, you’re up to 64g of total fat for the whole meal!  For the average person, that’s nearly the recommended total amount of fat you should eat for one whole day! And that’s only if you have one serving of everything! We all know how easy it is to go back for more of our favorite foods.

To cut back on calories and fat in your favorite picnic foods, remember to still load up on fruits and veggies during the summer. Watermelon, fruit salad, leaf salad with a vinaigrette dressing, a veggie platter with hummus, or a three bean salad are good options. Try a vinegar based potato salad or cole slaw to replace their creamier counterparts.  Opt for grilled chicken or salmon over hamburgers and hot dogs. Picnics are also a great time to enjoy the outdoors by walking, or playing an outdoor game with friends and family or going for a swim.

Fair Fare

What would summer be without a festival, carnival or fair to celebrate the season’s bounty and local communities?  These events are full of our favorite summer treats.  From fried dough to fried vegetables, from hot dogs to corn dogs the options are endless! Unfortunately they are also laden with extra calories that most of us are probably not burning off.  For example, one fried onion flower is over 1300 calories, nearly a whole day’s worth of calories! Thinking about dessert? One order of deep fried oreos is about 690 calories, 48 grams of fat and 108 grams of carbs. That’s like eating 7 slices of bread slathered in butter in one sitting! A great rule of thumb for carnival food is to share an order of your favorite treats with friends or family. If you’re going to indulge in your favorite fair food, think about skipping the sugary drinks and sticking with water instead.

Enjoy Summer Food Without Summer Weight Gain

The bottom line for preventing summer weight gain is to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation and fill up on all that fresh summer produce. Melons, berries, peaches, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers make great snacks. Check out your local farmer’s market or co-op for deals on in season produce. Remember to make half your plate fruits and veggies! Take time to be active as much as possible over the summer. Try hiking or biking at a local park or water sports like swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking. Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Take advantage of longer sunlight hours by walking after dinner or work.

Be sure to stay hydrated over the summer. Most people need to drink at least half their weight in ounces of water or other calorie free fluids. For more tips on healthy eating for weight loss, check out this article. If you need help reaching your goal weight this summer, call 301-288-1319 to set up an appointment with our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Joanna Eaton. She can provide one on one nutrition advice, personalized meal plans and help guide you on the path to a healthier summer!