Summertime means boardwalks, beaches, barbecues, and all those high-calorie foods we love that come with them. Before long, we find ourselves trapped between the temptation of a warm-weather treat and the necessity of still looking great come those weekend nights or lazy days spent in a bikini. Though most would agree that depriving a girl of her Frappuccino or funnel cake all the time is bad news, some simple knowledge could help you enjoy everything the season has to offer while still staying in shape. Read on and snack at your own risk.
At the Boardwalk or Beach
Let's face it: spending a day in the sun works up a serious appetite. Just as your tummy starts to rumble, the scent of fresh cut fries and funnel cake wafts through the air and calls out your name.
The worst choice: Funnel cake averages around 760 calories and some stands offer toppings like sugary fruit preserves or chocolate, making this fried dough even worse (see tastier). Even without the extras, this will be kinder to your taste buds than your bikini body.
Runner-up: French fries. Seven ounces is over 600 calories with 31 grams of fat and 63 grams of carbs. Grab some friends and share the greasy goodness to cut down on calories.
The “on occasion” choice: Caramel apples average around 350 calories, taking into account that the amount of caramel and size of the apple always varies. While there may be fruit inside, you're also getting 5 grams of saturated fat (a quarter of your suggested daily value) and about 80 grams of carbs.
The best choice: Grab a slice of pizza. At around 250 calories and 12 grams of protein, this cheesy snack is fairly close to a complete meal, especially if you add veggies like broccoli or mushrooms.
Working it off: Swimming for 30 minutes burns about 200 calories, while a brisk boardwalk stroll at 4 mph burns 175. Running at 5 mph for half an hour burns about 300 calories, but that's doubled when you run on the beach.
- Most of these foods are high in sodium, so load up on water to counteract this. It's also easy to confuse dehydration with hunger, so try reaching for a bottle of water first before hitting the snack bar.
- Pack a snack in case you can't find a semi-healthy option.
- For more decadent treats, split with a friend. Friends don't let friends eat empty calories, right?
At the Backyard Barbecue
There's nothing like a buffet to distort portion sizes. Her Campus writer Caitlin Hardgrove learned from personal experience how to navigate barbecues. “At cookouts, make yourself a plate of food and sit down while you eat instead of browsing,” she advises. If possible, stay away from the chip bowl too. Unconscious snacking between conversations can really pack on the calories. While hot dogs and hamburgers are 190 and 150 calories respectively, with buns that ring in at 80 calories, you have little to worry about with this part of the meal. Dessert isn't much of a concern, either, as long as you stick to fruit salad. One cup is about 70 calories. Those dangerous extras (a.k.a. side dishes) are the true calorie culprits.
The worst choice: One cup of macaroni salad brings in 600 calories.
The “on occasion” choice: One cup of potato salad packs half as much at 300 calories.
The best choice: One cup of coleslaw is about 200 calories.
Working it off: For every 30 minutes you play Frisbee with the folks, you'll burn about 100 calories.
- Take your burgers and dogs off the bun to cut calories.
- It's okay to try everything, just try a taste instead of a full serving.
- Eat slowly so you know when you're full and aren't tempted to take more.