We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!
Learn which summertime treats are the biggest calorie culprits and enjoy every outing with treats that won't go to your gut.
By Diana Kelly, Prevention
It's hard to enjoy a Summer excursion without being bombarded by high-cal, fatty foods and humongous portions at every turn. Making matters worse, if you find yourself catching a whiff of funnel cakes on an empty stomach, the temptation to get a plateful might be more than your weight-loss resolve can handle.
We asked nutrition experts to share their know-how and take the guesswork out of the calorie counts of common foods you'll find at popular Summer events. Find out what they suggested you steer clear of — and better-for-you options — to maximize fun without hurting your waistline.
1. The Ballpark
Bathing Suit Bomber: Jumbo Dogs and Large Beers
You don't have to get the supersized, foot-long jumbo dog or the largest cup of beer, says David Grotto, RD, a former spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and founder of Nutrition Housecall, a nutrition-consulting firm.
"A jumbo beef hot dog (larger than a foot-long) can contain about a half pound of meat per dog!" says Grotto. That clocks in at around 750 calories and 68 grams of fat depending on the brand — and that doesn't even include the roll! Washing that dog down with a tall 16-ounce regular beer will set you back about 200 more calories.
Better Pick: Regular Hot Dogs and Light Beer
Grotto says enjoying a regular-sized hot dog (five to six inches) and a small beer are fine. A regular dog on the bun with ketchup, relish, and mustard comes in at around 280 calories. Pair it with a 12-ounce light brew for another 100 to 120 calories.
Just make sure you don't overload the dog with high-cal toppings. "It's the chili and cheese layered on top," says David Kessler, MD, author of The End of Overeating (Rodale, 2009). "That's when 300 or 400 calories turns into 1,500. The best trick is to have a plan. Know what you're going to eat and when you're going to eat."
Keep reading for more tips on avoiding calorie bombs.
2. Outdoor Concert
Bathing Suit Bomber: Frozen Cocktails
What's often popular at these venues are "frozen everything" drinks, says Grotto. They can be fairly high in calories mostly because of the volume. A large frozen margarita can set you back 900 calories! Not to mention the fact that so much alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you start having a "who cares?" mentality when deciding what to eat.
Better Pick: Mojitos
This refreshing drink has about 170 to 230 calories and is usually made with light rum, lime or lemon juice, club soda, sugar, and fresh mint leaves. Choose the smallest size to save calories and keep from getting inebriated. If you are truly craving a margarita, order a small one on the rocks for a calorie range of 250 to 500 depending on the size. Remember, if you're thirsty and outside at an all-day concert, alcohol is the most dehydrating beverage you could have, says Grotto. Drink plenty of water to keep from getting parched.
3. An Amusement Park
Bathing Suit Bomber: Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade
Homemade lemonade on a hot Summer day sounds refreshing (even healthy!), but this is one of the more deceiving drinks, says Grotto. Quite often, it's made with sugar water in addition to the fresh-squeezed lemons. Lemonade contains about the same amount of calories as a full-sugared soda. Guzzling a 16-ounce lemonade will set you back 200 to 250 calories, and no, this doesn't count as a serving of "fruit juice."
Better Pick: Fruit-Flavored Water
Ask for ice water, lemon wedges or slices to squeeze and add artificial sweetener or two sugar packets for a tangy drink between zero and 30 calories, says Grotto. Or keep a few sugar-free single-serving drink mixes on hand to add flavor to your water bottle for zero to five calories per serving.
4. A Cocktail Party
Bathing Suit Bomber: Bowls of Snacks
The host generously made sure there were plenty of tasty snacks within every guest's reach at her party, but it's easy to overdo it if you're digging in mindlessly while you chat with friends. Twenty potato chips have about 200 calories, and a half cup of dry-roasted, salted peanuts will set you back 427 calories. Not to mention those snacks will make you thirsty, causing you to drink your cocktail faster!
Better Pick: Handful of Snacks
"Take a handful and remove the bowl from the table if you can," says Grotto. "If you're out with friends and they want to keep eating, dip your hand into the basket as soon as you can, and that's that with your portion."
Grotto suggests taking small bites and eating one chip at a time. "It won't make a difference in the calories, but you might be more cognizant of how much you're eating if you do that." Stick with 10 potato chips (100 calories) or 40 peanuts (237 calories) to keep from taking in too many calories.
Flickr user dinnercraft