Hey fitness peeps! I'M BACK!!! I know, I know, it's been a LOOOONG TIME! For awhile I was on a roll with this blogging thing, but life has been busy! Busy in a good way, though, so I can't complain, but I am sorry I haven't been able to update Confessions of a Fit Girl like I used to. I'm always preaching that when it comes to exercise there are no excuses, we make time for the things we really want to do, but that just doesn't apply to exercise, it applies to everything! So I've gotta' start practicing what I preach and I rededicate myself to this blog! So expect a lot more posts in the future!
Now on to the subject of this particular post... Summer's here and even though it seems like we work hard all spring to look good in those summer clothes, we often throw all of that hard work out of the window once summertime actually arrives. Summer barbeques, picnics, carnivals, amusement parks and other fun outings can get us into a lot of trouble! When it comes to staying fit, exercise is only half of the battle, a big part of it is nutrition. In fact, experts say that your diet counts for 80% and exercise only 20%. The last post I wrote, "Diet Vs. Exercise... " discussed this very thing. Both diet and exercise are very important but the fact is, with a proper diet, you can lose weight without exercise, but unless you constantly burn way more calories than you take in, you can exercise all you want, if you don't have that diet is bad, it's all in vain. Often you find yourself, if not gaining weight, at a complete stand still, which is fine if your maintaining but if your goal is to lose weight the plan is to do a combination of both diet and exercise. If you haven't already, I suggest you read my last blog to learn more on the issue, but I say all this to say that diet is a big part of the equation and I don't want all of your hard work to go down the drain this summer. So I'm giving you some summer fun healthy eating tips to help you out!
Take the guesswork out of the calorie counts of common foods you'll find at popular summer events, and find out what you should steer clear of and the better-for-you options!
1. The Ballpark
Bad Pick: Jumbo Dogs and Large Beers
You don't have to get the super-sized foot-long, jumbo dog or the largest cup of beer. A jumbo beef hot dog (larger than a foot-long) can contain about a half-pound of meat per dog! That clocks in at around 750 calories and 68 grams of fat depending on the brand (and that doesn't even include the roll!) Washing that dog down with a tall 16 oz. regular beer will set you back about 200 more calories.
Better Pick: Regular Hot Dogs and Light Beer
Enjoying a regular-sized hot dog (5 to 6 inches) and a small beer are fine. A regular dog on the bun with ketchup, relish and mustard comes in at around 280 calories. Pair it with a 12 oz. light brew for another 100 to 120 calories.
Just make sure you don't overload the dog with high-cal toppings. It's the chili and cheese layered on top that's the real trouble! That's when 300 or 400 calories turns into 1,500! The best trick is to have a plan. Know what you're going to eat and when you're going to eat."
See satisfying 400-calorie meals at the ballpark!
2. Outdoor Concert
Bad Pick: Frozen Cocktails
What's often popular at these venues are "frozen everything" drinks. They can be fairly high in calories mostly because of the volume. A large frozen margarita can set you back 900 calories! Not to mention the fact that so much alcohol lowers inhibitions, and you start having a "Who cares?" mentality when deciding what to eat.
Better Pick: Mojitos
This refreshing drink has about 170 to 230 calories and is usually made with light rum, lime or lemon juice, club soda, sugar, and fresh mint leaves. Choose the smallest size to save calories and keep from getting inebriated. If you are truly craving a margarita, order a small one on the rocks for a calorie range of 250 to 500 depending on the size. Remember, if you're thirsty and outside at an all-day concert, alcohol is the most dehydrating beverage you could have. Drink plenty of water to keep from getting parched.
Check out the calorie ranges of more summer cocktails here!
3. The County Fair
Bad Pick: Giant Fried Drumsticks
Those huge drumsticks are actually deep-fried turkey legs that clock in close to 1,000 calories!
Better Pick: Chicken Kabob
Choose grilled foods, like a 4 oz. chicken kabob for 450 calories or a medium-sized corn on the cob (hold the butter) for 77 calories.
Additional tip: Sit down and eat with a fork and knife because you're less likely to eat mindlessly.
4. The Carnival
Bad Pick: Funnel Cakes
Better Pick: Cotton Candy
If your sweet tooth is craving something decadent, it would be better to go for cotton candy. A small (about 1.5 oz.) is around 150 calories.
Additional tip: Share with the kids and you'll eat fewer calories.
5. An Amusement Park
Bad Pick: Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade
Homemade lemonade on a hot summer day sounds refreshing (even healthy!), but this is one of the more deceiving drinks. Quite often, it's made with sugar water in addition to the fresh-squeezed lemons. Lemonade contains about the same amount of calories as a full-sugared soda. Guzzling a 16 oz. lemonade will set you back 200 to 250 calories and no, this doesn't count as a serving of fruit juice.
Better Pick: Fruit-Flavored Water
Ask for ice water, lemon wedges or slices to squeeze and add artificial sweetener or two sugar packets for a tangy drink between 0 and 30 calories. Or, keep a few sugar-free single-serving drink mixes on hand to add flavor to your water bottle for 0 to 5 calories per serving.
6. Seafood Festivals
Bad Pick: Fried Foods
Better Pick: Lobster and Crab Meat
Lobster and crab are fine as far as calories go, especially if you have to work at getting to the meat. (You'll likely eat more if the meat is already pulled out of the shell for you.) It's really not the lobster or crab, but the butter and the sides that will do you in.
Remember to stick with steamed. A medium (2.5 lb live weight) steamed or boiled lobster has around 287 calories. A medium (2 oz.) hard-shell blue crab has about 50 to 60 calories of meat in it. Steamed shrimp (4 large are about 30 calories) and oysters (4 steamed are about 40 calories) are more good low-cal choices to pile on your plate. Cocktail sauce is 55 calories for ¼ c, a better option than tartar sauce, which has 296 calories for ¼ c serving!
7. The Movie Theater
Bad Pick: Super-Sized Servings
Huge tubs of popcorn and extra-large cups of sugary sodas are tempting because the largest sizes don't cost much more than the smaller servings.
Quick Tip: It does make more financial sense to get the larger serving, but if you're going to do that, get two people to split a drink, and get the bucket that's shared by all.
A large buttered popcorn at AMC Movie Theatres can have 1,640 calories and 126 g of fat in its 20-cup serving! If you quench your thirst with a "medium" 20 oz. nondiet soda that adds another 250 calories.
Better Pick: Kiddie-Size Combos
In some theaters in the Midwest, there are Kiddie Combos available which have about 2 cups of popcorn, a small package of candy, and a small beverage. At AMC Movie Theatres, a kid-size popcorn without butter has about 300 calories and 20 g of fat. (The buttered version of the kid's size adds 170 calories and 17 g of fat.)
You can also fill your cup with better beverages like unsweetened iced-tea, diet soda, or water.
8. The Bar for Happy Hour
Bad Pick: Fried Finger Foods
Fried appetizers are definitely foods to avoid at the bar. A lot of people get fried zucchini or fried mushrooms, but there's no calorie advantage to eating those foods versus fries or onion rings.
Fried zucchini has about 346 calories for a 5 oz. serving, fried mushrooms have 315 calories for a 5 oz. serving, and onion rings have about 470 calories for a 5 oz. serving.
Better Pick: Veggies
Order a relish or antipasto plate, munch a few cheese cubes, pickles, olives, or chew on hard, crisp veggies like celery or carrots.
Medium-sized olives are about 4 calories each, small pickle slices are about 1 calorie each, and one cracker-sized slice of cheddar cheese is about 22 calories.
9. A Cocktail Party
Bad Pick: Bowls of Snacks
The host generously made sure there were plenty of tasty snacks within every guest's reach at her party, but it's easy to overdo it if you're digging in mindlessly while you chat with friends. Twenty potato chips have about 200 calories, and a ½ c of dry-roasted, salted peanuts will set you back 427 calories.
Better Pick: Handful of snacks
Take a handful and remove the bowl from the table if you can. If you're out with friends and they want to keep eating, dip your hand into the basket as soon as you can and that's your portion."
Addition Tip: Take small bites and eat one chip at a time. (It won't make a difference in the calories, but you might be more aware of how much you're eating if you do that.)
Stick with 10 potato chips (100 calories) or 40 peanuts (237 calories) to keep from taking in too many calories.
So that's it! 9 common foods you'll find at 9 popular Summer events. Now you know, so choose wisely and enjoy!