Healthy Summer Foods

Can't resist the urge to bite into a juicy steak or chow down on a cheese burger straight off the BBQ? This summer indulgence may make us giddy but it also can make us feel oh so guilty. Believe it or not there is a healthy eating plan that can help satisfy your cue cravings without expanding your waistline. Here are 5 of the biggest party pitfalls and how to avoid them.

If you are starving, you are more likely to eat fast and impulsively, instead of selecting foods based on nutritional value. This can lead to calorie overload. For example, just 1 ounce of potato chips (17 chips) and 2 tablespoons of ranch dip adds up to 200 calories and 16 grams of fat, and that's before the main course.


Practice damage control. Eat a small low-fat snack such as fruit or low-fat yogurt before you head to a summer barbecue. This will help you avoid rushing to the buffet table when you arrive.

While it is true that outdoor grilling allows excess fat in meat and poultry to drip away, it is worth keeping certain foods off the grill due to their high calories, saturated fat (artery-clogging fat), and sodium content. The culprits: regular ground meats, dark-meat poultry with skin, beef short ribs (just 3 ounces has 330 calories and 31g fat, pork spareribs and sausages (1 link of bratwurst has 281 calories, 25g fat).


1. Grill lean cuts of meat
2. Choose white-meat chicken over dark 3. Don't shy away from adding seafood to the grill. 4. Lean protein can also be vegetarian. Prepare veggie kebabs using cubes of firm tofu on a skewer with your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Soda isn't the only culprit that can add extra calories to your barbecue meal- fruit drinks, alcohol and other sugar-laden beverages (sweetened teas and vitamin-enhanced water included) are just as fattening.

1. Eat fruit, rather than drink it. Whole fruits not only contain the vitamins and minerals found in fruits, but they are filled with fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your diet, helping you feel full on fewer calories. If you love juice, downsize your portion to four to six ounces daily. 2. Try diet sodas and other diet drinks, such as Crystal Light, which have five or fewer calories per serving and are ideal for increasing your beverage options while minimizing intake of added sugar. 3. Drink non-fat or one-percent milk. Drinking milk as a protein source can help prevent loss of muscle mass and promote fullness for individuals trying to lose weight. Soy milk is also a healthy option. 4. Avoid or limit alcohol consumption, instead try a sparkling water with a twist of lime. If you drink alcohol, practice moderation. (one drink for women, up to two drinks for men per day) 1 drink = 5 ounces wine (about 120 calories), 12 ounce beer (about 145 calories), 1.5 ounces 80-proof liquor (about 100 calories).

These quick bites can easily lead to overeating.

1. Put your meal on a plate. 2. Use small plates as a built-in way to control your portions. 3. Bring a healthy dish to a summer party. Mixed fruit salad or a spinach salad drizzled with olive oil & vinegar are simple to prepare and easy to carry. Other nutritious pot-luck contributions include shrimp cocktail or vegetables crudités with low-fat bean dip or hummus.

People can overload their salad with loads of calories with ingredients such as fried chicken, fatty dressing, cheese cubes, croutons, bacon bits, or fried wontons. For example, A Caesar Salad Kit sold at your grocery store contains as much total fat as a fast-food cheeseburger!

1. Add fruits and vegetables to your salad. 2. Do think beyond iceberg lettuce. Take advantage of dark leafy greens which are loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, calcium, fiber, and potassium, all for only 25 calories per cup. 3. Add protein. Grilled skinless chicken breast, salmon, cubed tofu, or flank steak hot & fresh off the barbecue serve as low-fat protein sources. Low fat shredded cheese and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) also add a protein punch. 4. Don't give up all fats and flavor. A few avocado slices, a sprinkle of nuts or seeds, or a tablespoon of hummus help satisfy your appetite and taste buds. 5. Don't dress to kill. If there's a dressing that you love, try a "light" variety, use 1 tablespoon instead of 2 and dilute it with vinegar.