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Summer's Most Fattening Foods
Ahhh, the lazy days of summer: backyard barbecues, cocktails at the pool, baseball games, and lots of fried chicken, ribs, potato salad, ice cream, hot dogs, and beer. Summertime living may be easy, but if you're not careful, summer's fattening foods can really pack on the pounds. While most people are more active during the summer, it may not be enough to burn off all the extra calories from fattening summer treats.
High-Fat Meats on the Barbecue
The bad news: barbecue can sabotage your waistline. A 20 ounce T-bone can weigh in at 1,540 calories and 124 g fat; an average cheeseburger has about 750 calories and 45 grams of fat; and pork or beef ribs? They come from the fattiest part of the animal. The good news: You can go lean with cuts like pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, and lean ground beef.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Hot dogs and sausages are favorite summer treats for many of us, but you might want to save them for baseball games. It's not just about fat or calories (after all, you can choose lower fat varieties) but hot dogs, bratwursts, sausages and most dogs are high in sodium. A typical hot dog has 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 1,250 mg of sodium, while a 6-ounce kielbasa has 330 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 1,590 mg sodium.
A small half-cup portion of typical potato salad has 180 calories and 12 grams of fat; the same amount of coleslaw has about 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. To cut calories, try making your salads with light mayonnaise; or mix mayo with low-fat yogurt, light sour cream, or chicken stock. Or why not try a German-style potato salad, using more vinegar than oil? Then toss lots of veggies into any salad to increase the fiber and nutrients.
Sweet, fruity alcoholic drinks (the kind often served with an umbrella) may go down easy, but the calories add up in a hurry. A piña colada can range from 245-490 calories, a daiquiri from 300-800 calories, and a Long Island iced tea can set you back 520 calories or more -- with much of it from sugar. Instead of high calorie drinks, try wine, a wine spritzer, or a mixed drink with seltzer and a splash of 100% fruit juice.
Satisfying Thirst Quenchers
Staying hydrated is essential in summer, but those cold drinks can wreak havoc with your waistline. Be careful what you choose -- if you're drinking 12-ounce containers of sweet tea, sweetened soda, energy drinks, juice drinks, or beer, you're probably taking in about 150 calories a pop. Smoothies, milkshakes and cold coffee concoctions can go much higher. Keep liquids in check and drink water or light versions of your favorite quenchers.
Cooling Down With Frozen Treats
A cup of soft-serve ice cream can have 380 calories and 22 grams of fat. Make it a chocolate cookie dough milkshake concoction, and the calories soar to 720, with 28 grams of fat! You don't need to give up frozen treats, just pass on the giant portions or high fat toppings. Look for frozen desserts like sherbet, fudge bars, fruit bars, or other treats under 150 calories per serving or fruit desserts like strawberry shortcake.
Frighteningly Fattening Fair Food
Fairs, carnivals, and boardwalks serve up some of the most fattening deep-fried diet disasters. From fried cheesecake (around 500 calories), fried macaroni and cheese (610 calories) to gigantic turkey legs (1,136 calories and 54 g fat), most eat-while-you-walk foods will give you calorie overload. Skip the fried foods and choose cotton candy, caramel apples, or a simple grilled meat or share your treat with a friend.
Be Savvy With Those Salad Toppers
Salads can be the perfect summer dinner: light, refreshing, and a perfect way to get your produce and lean protein. If you top your salad with high-calorie items, it can go from lean to fattening in a hurry. High-calorie dressings, fried chicken strips, bacon, cheese, and croutons are among the biggest offenders. Instead, top your greens with grilled chicken, strips of lean meat, or eggs, then pile on the veggies and top with a light dressing.
Control Mindless Munching on Snacks
A handful of any kind of snack won't do much harm, but eat too much and it can sabotage your diet. Each ounce of potato chips or cheese puffs is roughly 160 calories and 10 grams of fat. Cheese nachos will set you back 692 calories (plus 38 g fat and 1,632 mg sodium); and a 10-cup box of movie theater popcorn has 550 calories, 31 g fat, and 972 mg sodium. Try snacking on fruits, veggies with light dip, or small portions of fat-free popcorn.
Finger-Licking Fried Chicken
A bucket of fried chicken is an easy way to feed a crowd, but it can wreak havoc on your waistline (and arteries), especially when you eat more than one. So forgo fried and toss boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill. A 3.5 oz. skinned chicken breast has only 167 calories and 7 grams of fat, compared to a breaded, fried chicken breast with about 360 calories and 21 g fat. Add flavor with marinades and spice rubs, or top it with fresh salsa.
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