Why You Will Gain Weight This Summer (food traps to avoid!)

With the warmer weather comes fresher ingredients. Produce like tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are in season and can easily be grown in your own backyard or found in abundance at grocers and road-side stands.

It’s easier to eat fresh and locally grown produce, which should mean sticking to your weight-loss plan should be easier, too, right?

Wrong. You can still gain weight in the summertime by hidden traps that may seem like a great idea, but not when it comes to your waistline.

If keeping your weight in check and working on your beach body is your goal this summer, then you may want to stay away from certain popular foods. Although tempting and refreshing, these foods will sabotage your diet! Here’s what to say no to at the next family barbecue or patio party.

Foods To Avoid in Summer

1. Salad:

Salad is perceived as a healthy meal option. How bad can lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers be? Well those aren’t the culprits trying to ruin your diet; it’s the extras that make your “healthy” salad a diet-killer.

Add-ons such as bacon bits, croutons, cheese—and even using iceberg lettuce—undermine your salad’s nutritional value.

Take iceberg lettuce; the ultra-crunchy type of lettuce makes it a go-to for salad eaters, but this type of lettuce has little nutritional value nor much taste. The lack of flavor prompts people to pile on the dressing which increases the salad’s calories and fat.

A typical small bowl of Caesar salad can run up between 300 to 400 calories and 30 g of fat! Salads aren’t looking so healthy now, are they?

For your next salad, use leafy greens such as spinach or arugula that pack more of a nutrient punch. Also, keep dressings to a minimum (oil and vinegar always work best!). Lastly, make sure your additions are still low in fat. You can’t go wrong with lots of veggies.

2. Beer:

After a long day of work, or a day of lounging in the sun, what can be more refreshing than a cold one? Sure, beer may make your palate happy, but your waistline is surely not loving it.

A typical can of beer can have about 153 calories. Have enough cans and you’ve just drank your calories for the entire day or more! The bigger catch? Alcohol makes you hungry which leads you to overeat, and you won’t be reaching for the carrot sticks, either.

Want to fight the beer bloat? Space out your drinking by incorporating water. You’ll get that happy feeling, feel fuller and you may not crave the diet pitfalls of nachos, wings, etc. Beer companies are making lower-calorie beers, so you may want to switch to the lighter beverage.

3. Coleslaw:

What seems to be a barbecue side-dish staple is not so good for you. Sure, you may think because it’s made from cabbage, you’re eating healthy, but once again additions ruin this dish and make it a diet-killer.

A small cup of coleslaw typically has 260 calories and 21 g of fat. With mayonnaise the main culprit, try these easy tips to turn your favorite side-dish into a healthy option.

Replace the mayonnaise with either a non-fat version or a non-fat yogurt. The best option? Go mayo-less altogether and use alternatives such as lemon or lime juice, honey or even olive oil.

4. Ice cream:

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! And it seems our excitement over the frozen treat is what makes us indulge in more of it.

Nothing seems to go better with a sunny day than the creamy, cold treat, but in your search for refreshment, you’re also taking in calories and fat.

Ice cream, soft-serve and frozen artisanal goodness, comes in many forms. You can have it in a cone, swirled with another flavor, or topped off with hot fudge and sprinkles. A typical half-cup of ice cream can pack on 137 calories, 7 g of fat and 14 g of sugar. Add the toppings and you probably are taking in enough calories to replace a meal!

If you’re craving the cool treat this summer, try substituting it with a low-fat frozen yogurt or better yet, a low-sugar, fruit-based popsicle you can make yourself. Put some berries or melon in an ice tray and top it up with water. Add in a stick, freeze and voila! You have a low-cal refreshing snack.

With these healthier alternatives in mind, you can still enjoy the pleasures of summertime food and stick to your diet. These substitutions are not only easy, but will keep you satisfied and enjoying those long, lovely summer nights.

Smith, M. W., “Food Frauds that can Wreck your Diet,” WebMD website, February 12, 2014; http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-foods-that-can-wreck-your-diet.
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Self Nutrition Data, “Alcoholic Beverages,” Self Nutrition Data website, retrieved July 23, 2014; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beverages/3827/2.
Matsumoto, M., “Stay Healthy with No-Mayo Coleslaw,” PBS Food website, May 29, 2012; http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/no-mayo-coleslaw/.
Self Nutrition Data, “Ice Creams, Vanilla,” Self Nutrition Data website, retrieved July 23, 2014; http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5405/2.