While it’s primetime to escape day to day stress, the summer is no time to take a break from maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, it’s a great time to focus on weight loss. The warmer weather and extended daylight hours naturally boost the desire to get out and do stuff. But beware, there are diet derailers lurking in the park, at the coffee shop and maybe even in your own back yard. Keep an eye out for these summer diet pitfalls…
Pitfall 1: Frozen Coffee Drinks and Smoothies
While frozen drinks bring cool relief on a hot summer day, they are calorie bombshells. A 20 oz. fruit (and sugar) smoothie can run as much as 500 calories! And that frozen coffee drink? It comes in at more than 400 calories for a 16 oz. serving. The problem is that most people have these as snacks, in between meals, so these seemingly harmless drinks turn into extra calories which can throw a wrench into your weight loss plan.
To save calories, make your own smoothie at home with fresh seasonal fruit, ice and/or nonfat yogurt. Sweeten with cinnamon or a drizzle of honey to keep calories in check. Keep the portion small. Enjoy your favorite frozen coffee drink with care: order it with nonfat milk and skip the whip (whipped cream that is)!
CC image courtesy of mhaithaca on Flickr
Pitfall 2: BBQs and Cookouts
BBQs are built for grazing. Problem is… the more food we have in front of us, the more we tend to eat.
Survey the scene and choose your favorites. Fill at least half your plate with veggies (think grilled veggies, three bean salad, or a salad with low calorie dressing). Opt for lean protein options like grilled chicken or fish. Throughout the day be sure to spend more time mingling, dancing, or playing volleyball than you do guarding the food table.
CC image courtesy of JillOW on Flickr
Pitfall 3: Mixed Drinks
An average 8 oz. pina colada has about 450 calories; a margarita… just under 400 calories.
Keep it festive and refreshing with a wine spritzer (equal parts wine to club soda) which weighs in at just 80 calories per serving and half the alcohol of a regular glass of wine. You may also opt for a light beer at about 80 calories for the bottle. Alternate water every other drink or enjoy a sparkling water with a twist of lime. Remember though to stay within moderation: one drink per day for women and 2 for men.
CC image courtesy of joeshlabotnik on Flickr
Pitfall 4: Festival Food
Summertime is full of festivals with opportunities to indulge in a variety of food including funnel cakes, all types of meat on a stick, burgers and ice cream.
Getting out to enjoy a festival at a local park is a great way to be active. Instead of driving, bike or walk to the park. To keep calories in check, head to the festival just after breakfast or have a small snack (nuts, yogurt, half a sandwich) before you leave home. This way you are less tempted by the food. Scope out the healthier options like single serving, real fruit pops or grilled corn on the cob. If you do opt for one of the higher calorie treats, consider sharing it with friends.
These are just a few of the summer diet pitfalls out there. What pitfalls have you encountered this summer? How did you conquer them?