Summer is the season for back-yard barbeques, family get-togethers and lots of cool treats on hot days. But if you're not careful, a few sneaky snacks (or drinks) can derail a week's worth of healthy eating and fitness. Be on the watch for these surprisingly high-calorie tastes of summer.|
Fresh Fruit Treats
Fruit is a sweet treat you can enjoy every day as part of a healthy eating plan. But don't let fruit-based seasonal dishes fool you into thinking that they're healthy or low calorie. There are tons of ways to turn fresh summer fruit into delicious desserts at home, but the fruit-topped treats you're likely to find when eating out probably aren't what you really had in mind for a healthy meal or snack.
Carnival FoodsYou're well aware that most of the food options you'll find at summer fairs and theme parks aren't going to do you any favors. You'll probably be able to find a few choices that will fit into your daily calorie goals like giant dill pickles, chicken and steak kabobs or even cotton candy. But there's nothing wrong with indulging in a once-a-year treat that you really enjoy. Just know what you're getting into and eat a healthy meal before you go so you can limit yourself to one treat (or bites of several shared treats). Here's how much these popular fair foods will set you back, so you can plan accordingly for your indulgence.
There's nothing better than a cool salad for dinner on a hot evening. Just toss some leftover grilled chicken on top for a little protein and brighten it up with cherry tomatoes and carrot slices. A simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard or a yogurt-based ranch will add tons of flavor for a small number of calories. It makes sense to choose a salad when dining out, right? Not so fast. Many restaurant salads seem healthy but tend to skimp on the healthy, low-cal veggies and fruit and add way too much of the high-calorie salad toppings like nuts, dressing, and cheese. Sometimes a salad is the perfect choice, especially at fast-food places, but at fast-casual restaurants, salads can be hidden calorie mines.
Iced tea can be a refreshing no-calorie beverage or secret sugar trap depending on how it's prepared. Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush, with different varieties depending on growing region and processing. All types of black, green and white tea provide antioxidants that are good for your heart and may be able to lower your risk for certain types of cancer. (Herbal teas, made from dried herbs and fruits, aren't true teas, but have beneficial properties of their own, are naturally caffeine free and make delicious no-calorie drinks.) If you brew your own tea and sweeten it yourself (even with a small amount of real sugar), you can enjoy it every day without worrying about derailing your healthy eating plan. But grabbing a bottle or cup of tea on the go is a tricky proposition. What often sounds like a "natural" or healthy iced tea can be loaded with sugar and other ingredients that add calories.
LemonadeThis summertime favorite is incredibly refreshing on a warm day, but this sweet treat should be enjoyed occasionally, rather than every day. And lemons are good for you, right? They are, and you can certainly squeeze all the lemon you want into water for a splash of flavor and vitamin C (and virtually zero calories), but unless you use an artificial sweetener, the calories will creep up quickly in the sweetened varieties.
SmoothiesFruit smoothies make an excellent breakfast or afternoon snack. When you make them yourself, you can control exactly how sweet they are and how much fruit (or veggies) they really contain. When you grab one on the go, however, you need to do a little research in advance to know exactly what you're getting. Something that sounds safe like "strawberry banana" could be a reasonable choice or it could be hiding a heap of sugar—or very little fruit at all.
Everyone knows by now that iced and frozen coffee drinks can be delicious and refreshing on a hot summer day. But they're often calorie bombs just waiting to blow up your healthy eating plan. It's tough to tell at a glance which ones are just fine as an occasional treat and which ones you might want to skip in favor of something that will actually fill you up and satisfy your sweet tooth. In general, any coffee drink that's blended or contains large amounts of syrup, chocolate flavoring, cream or whole milk are the ones to watch out for. If you're not sure what's in your favorite iced coffee, ask! You can always make substitutions to cut down on fat and calories.
There's no reason not to enjoy all the tastes of summer from refreshing iced tea to a cool, filling salad. Just be aware of what you're eating and drinking so you can make delicious and healthy choices all summer long.
Nutrition information comes from individual restaurant/brand websites on July 11, 2013. Restaurants may change their ingredients, portion sizes and nutrition information at any time. Carnival food nutrition information is estimated based on averages since sizes and recipes vary.
Article created on: 7/16/2013
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