The Worst Summer Foods For Your Waistline
It's summer! You've worked hard for a bikini-ready body, and now it's time to enjoy the sunshine, the fresh farmers' market produce, the bike rides, and the swimming. But often good weather also brings on some of the most tempting eats and drinks around. (Strawberry daiquiri, anyone?) That means all the hard work you put into looking good for summer can be undone by a few bad choices at happy hour, the beach, or when dining al fresco. But it's just as easy to make good choices. Here are some warm-weather foods that are the absolute worst for your waistline, plus a few healthy eating suggestions sure to satisfy your cravings while ensuring you stay on track.
When You're at Happy Hour
Avoid boneless buffalo wings. When the drinks are flowing and your celebration is in full swing on the patio, it's nearly impossible to pass on the tempting appetizers. Chicken wings are full of flavor, but here's why: The chicken is drenched in flour then fried—fatty skin and all—in potentially unhealthy oil; covered with a salty, sugary sauce; then dipped in fatty cheesy dressing. Your mouth may be watering, but Mary Hartley, R.D., says it's simply not worth it. "An order can easily have 1,500 calories and enough saturated fat and sodium to last for three days." She suggests to have a wingman to support your snacking habits, and order low-calorie steamed or raw seafood such as shrimp cocktail. Then go light on any accompanying sauces.
When You're at the Pool
Steer clear of the ice cream truck. It's every child's (and adult's) dream to hear that outdated tune call out from the street by the neighborhood pool, but think twice before grabbing your favorite frozen treat. Not only can you pass on the extra calories, but dairy products like ice cream often leave you with digestive trouble and promote unsightly bloating. Your tummy and tankini will thank you if you opt for a homemade frozen fruit juice slushy or smoothie. Secret tip: If you freeze pieces of peeled banana, then blend them with just a bit of non-dairy milk, you have an instant banana "ice cream" frozen treat. Bonus points for adding cocoa powder, nut butter, or berries.
When You're at a Carnival
Walk away from the fried food stands. While strolling along the aisles of a summer festival, carnival, or fair, you may see items you never knew could be deep fried and put on a stick. (Think Twinkies, Oreos, candy bars, etc.) A good rule of thumb? If it's served on a stick, it's better as a conversation piece than an actual snack or meal. In fact, if you can help it, do your best to eat before the carnival and focus on spending time with your company rather than ogling over the mysterious contents in the deep fryer. If you have to indulge, Hartley advises buying foods that contain at least one healthy ingredient, such as kettle corn, a candy apple, sliced watermelon, roasted chicken, grilled corn, a veggie burrito, or fresh lemonade. To help keep portions in check, order items that are naturally small, like a single corn dog.
When You're at the Beach
Resist the urge to flag down a cabana boy for fruity, colorful cocktails. As cute as that shirtless waiter may be, those blended drinks on his tray will only cause a bloated belly and a sugar crash later on. "Sugar alcohols, such as the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylose, produce bloating and gas when eaten in large amounts," cautions Hartley. But fear not! You don't have to cut yourself out of the party completely. Opt for cocktails with fresh ingredients like herbs and citrus fruit with tonic water as opposed to sugary syrups or pre-made mixes. Of course, limit yourself to one or two drinks max, and steer clear if you're planning to swim.