Summer Diet Blunders: Tips for Summer Weight Loss

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In summertime, the livin’ is easy, but so is access to seasonal foods that tempt you off your summer diet. Who can resist a heaping bowl of Aunt Maude’s potato salad at the family reunion? Or a chilled margarita, poolside? As your favorite ice cream shop beckons, your summer weight — and resistance — may waver.

What harm could a little warm-weather indulgence do?

In moderation, not much, say nutrition experts. But beware: some of the summertime food you might pass off as harmless packs a bigger calorie and fat punch than you might imagine. A little bowl of cole slaw, for instance, packs 21 grams of fat, about a third of most people’s daily limit.

If you want to maintain your summer weight — or at least not waddle into fall — turn to substitutes or slim down the treat you desire, at least occasionally. Here, caffeine fix.

Brace yourself. “They can run 300 to 700 calories,” says Sandon. Especially if you believe that the bigger the coffee, the better. Case in point: Starbucks Orange Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee, promoted as a great way to start your summer day (especially when paired with reduced-fat Orange Crème Coffee Cake). But if you order their “Venti” size (24 oz), it’s 520 calories and 16 grams of fat. Add another 320 calories and 8 grams of fat if you succumb to the coffee cake.

Summer Diet Fix

But there are tasty, lower-calorie, and lower-fat — or even nonfat — alternatives, Sandon says. Starbucks points those conscious of summer diets to other choices. A 16-oz. Starbucks latte made with nonfat milk delivers no fat and just 160 calories. At any coffee house, Sandon says, you can order a latte with skim or nonfat milk.

Summer Diet Blunder 5: Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt

It’s 95 degrees in the shade, and you need ice cream now. But not just any ice cream will do. You’re thinking a 4-oz scoop of Baskin-Robbins Baseball Nut ice cream. That’ll hit it out of the park, with 270 calories and 14 grams of fat.

Summer Diet Fix

“You have to pick nonfat or low-fat yogurt to get any kind of decent calorie savings over ice cream,” Sandon says. Switch to a 4-oz scoop of vanilla nonfat yogurt – though probably not as much fun – for 150 calories with 0 grams fat. Another option: “Try a fruit-flavored frozen treat,” Sandon says. A fruit-flavored treat on a stick, she says, has about 60 calories.

If you simply must have real ice cream, turn to the more virtuous – but still tasty – varieties, says Elaine Magee, RD, MPH, a nutrition expert for WebMD. The good news is that you can now find almost any flavor you might desire in a low-fat version. And the better news: Many of these ‘light’ ice cream brands are great-tasting.

Some of the newer slow-churned ice creams are particularly tasty, she says, without an overdose of fat. Dreyers and other companies claim their new churning technologies make ice cream taste like it has more fat than it does. The Double Fudge Brownie by Dreyer’s (called Edy’s on the East Coast) has 120 calories and 4 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving, Magee says.

For ice cream shoppers, read the labels, since not all light varieties are created equal. Magee suggests going by this guideline: a 1/2 cup serving should have no more than 4 grams of fat, 120 calories, and 15 grams of sugar.