7 Ways to Avoid the Worst Summer Calorie Bombs

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It’s officially the season of flip flops, swimsuits, and lots of summer traditions that revolve around…food! From going out for ice cream to munching on popcorn while taking in a blockbuster film, the weeks between now and Labor Day can present some major nutritional hurdles. Here’s how to sidestep seven classic calorie bombs, and seriously upgrade your health.

Trade ice cream for frozen treats

7797b0ae9825bbaac2c5f214f3bf5910.jpg 7797b0ae9825bbaac2c5f214f3bf5910.jpg crack open a pint of ice cream, with every intention of stopping at one serving, only to wind up polishing off the whole thing. Switching to frozen yogurt shaves off some calories, but a pint can still cost you 800, twice as much as a slice of cheesecake.

The swap: Nix store bought pints, and make your own novelty treats. Whip up a smoothie in the blender, pour it into popsicle molds and freeze. One cup of unsweetened almond milk, combined with one cup of frozen pitted cherries and one tablespoon each almond butter and dark chocolate chips will make four to six pops for just 280 total calories. Or whip up a batch of frozen bananas – dip mini naners into organic nonfat Greek yogurt seasoned with cinnamon or vanilla (or a plant-based alternative like coconut milk yogurt), sprinkle with oats and nuts, wrap in wax paper, and freeze.

Lighten up your umbrella drinks

pina-colada-skinny-girl-400x400.jpg pina-colada-skinny-girl-400×400.jpg , which is soaked in water with sugar to make it sticky, and order appetizers and side dishes. All together, seared tuna, edamame and seaweed salad add up to less than 350 calories.

Rethink your thirst quenchers

lemonade-400x400.jpg lemonade-400×400.jpg .

The swap: Make your own. Just a quarter cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice provides over 50% of your daily vitamin C needs, a nutrient linked in research to less body fat and smaller waist measurements. For extra flavor, aroma, color, and an antioxidant boost, add sprigs of fresh mint. And if you need a little sweetener, add a splash of a pure fruit juice, rather than sugar. At just 40 calories per quarter cup, 100% white grape juice is a good option, but mashing a little fresh fruit in the bottom of the pitcher, like juicy strawberries (6 calories each), will also do the trick.

Order your movie popcorn naked

large-popcorn-400x400.jpg large-popcorn-400×400.jpg , type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity. And because “popped corn” is fluffy, it’s far lower in carbs than dense pretzels, chips, nachos, or candy. The secret to keeping it light is passing on the buttery topping.

The swap: In this case, it’s more of a strategy than a swap. A small order can contain 225-400 calories, but going bare (sans butter), saves 130 calories per tablespoon (about the size of your thumb, from where it bends to the tip).

Remodel your munchies

day-27-carrots-humus-celery-400x400.jpg day-27-carrots-humus-celery-400×400.jpg are staples at summer get-togethers, but they’re a real recipe for waistline disaster. A handful of potato chips and a golf ball sized portion of French onion dip add up to 375 calories, about as much as a medium order of fast food fries.

The swap:
Upgrade to hummus and veggies, and instead of pre-packaged, blend your own batch. A serving made from a half cup chickpeas, a half teaspoon of minced garlic, and tablespoon each of water, fresh squeezed lemon and extra virgin olive oil, provides less than 250 calories, but is packed with 6 grams of satisfying protein, 7 of filling fiber, good-for-you fat, and a spectrum of antioxidants. Scoop it up with low cal, nutrient-rich veggies, like fresh broccoli florets, grape tomatoes, and sliced cucumber.

Deflate your buns

cobb-salad-lettuce-wraps-x.jpg cobb-salad-lettuce-wraps-x.jpg  and @goodhealth

Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest

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