Whether you watch the popular TV show Game of Thrones or not, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “winter is coming.” In the show, it’s an underlying warning for the fantasy world to be prepared for some not-so-friendly visitors coming with the change in season. Back here in reality, a more appropriate phrase might be “summer is coming” and with it an army of hidden, high-calorie dangers ready to throw you off the success you’ve seen from your diet.
Although the summer months offer many opportunities for weight loss with the warm weather and outdoor activities, they also contain several sneaky pitfalls that can ruin our best laid plans. Here, we try to shed some “sunlight” on a few key things to watch out for in hopes that you can recognize them before they complicate your weight management plans.
Don’t Drink Fruit
Fruit juices might seem like a healthy alternative to many other beverages but, in reality, they can be a major source of hidden calories. Eating the actual fruit rather than drinking the fruit juice provides fiber which will help you feel fuller on fewer calories. If you absolutely must have juice, consider limiting your consumption to about four to six ounces daily.
Some fruits are considerably better than others in terms of offering reasonable calorie levels and higher nutritional value, such as:
- Mulberries (43 calories a serving, potassium, fiber, 60% RDA for Vitamin C)
- Pineapples (anti-inflammatory properties, aids in digestion of protein)
- Peaches (40 calories per medium peach, almost 2 grams fiber, beta carotene)
- Watermelon (made up of 92% water, low in calories, contains Vitamin C and lycopene)
Hold the Mayo
What would a summer cookout be without your legendary potato salad or your best friend’s to-die-for coleslaw? Well, for starters, it would be a less fattening event. While we don’t claim to know the stats on your legendary potato recipe, only 1/2 a cup of most potato salads weigh in at about 180 calories and 12 grams of fat. Coleslaw is only slightly gentler on the waistline with 150 calories and 8 grams of fat for the same small serving. If you’re trying to avoid excess pounds, we advise avoiding any mayonnaise based salads.
There are some pretty excellent alternative potato salad and coleslaw recipes without mayo, however:
- Ramen Coleslaw – View the Recipe
- Rachael Ray’s Oil & Vinegar Slaw – View the Recipe
- Herbed Red No Mayo Potato Salad – View the Recipe
Also, there are plenty of healthier mayo substitutes such as low-fat plain greek yogurt, mustard, hummus, low-fat cottage cheese and more.
Take Me Away From the Ballgame
Soft summer evenings and sunny summer afternoons lend themselves to trips to your local ballpark. While the crack the bat and the roar of the crowd can be thrilling, a lot of ballpark food really strikes out if you are trying to lose weight.
A typical hot dog comes complete with 280 calories, 15 grams of fat and over a gram of sodium. If you opt for the kielbasa, you’re looking at 330 calories, 24 grams of fat and even more sodium than the hot dog. Of course, the true heavyweight champion of ballpark diet wreckers has to be the cheese nachos. This oh-so-delicious staple is an empty calorie extravaganza racking up serving stats like 700 calories, almost 40 grams of fat and a whopping 1600 grams of sodium.
Consider bringing your own high protein snacks to the stadium to ward off cravings and keep your plan on track. Some of our WonderSlim favorites are:
- Protein Pretzel Snacks
- Protein Cheddar Cruncher Chips
- Carmel Malted Sweet Popper Balls
- Sour Cream & Onion Snack O’s
The Secret is in the Sauce
While some sauces are delightfully low in calories, others just hang around waiting to add inches to your waistline. Ranch dressing, for instance, is often served with chicken wings at cookouts. A mere two tablespoons of ranch dressing have about 150 calories. Depending on whether or dip, dunk or drown your wings, you could easily add 600 calories and about 40 grams of fat to your intake in just dipping sauce alone.
One alternative to keeping some of your favorite ranch/blue cheese flavor with less fat is trying this Creamy Blue Cheese recipe here.
The Rack is Not Your Friend
Barbecue pork ribs can be a delicious part of summer but should be approached with extreme caution. The amount of calories, fat, sodium and carbohydrates in a serving of ribs will vary greatly depending on how they are prepared. It is not uncommon for a half rack of ribs to contain over 550 calories and almost 40 grams of fat, of which over a dozen of those are saturated fat. If you’re tempted to have a full rack of ribs, multiply the above numbers by two and feel the cringe.
Now, it’s important to still have fun this summer and restricting yourself too much may set you up for failure. Being aware, however, goes a long way. Make healthy swaps when you can, keep those occasional hot dogs “occasional” and opt for smaller portions. The true secret is not letting indulgence become a habit.