5 Summer Diet Blunders
Do your favorite summer treats pack a wallop in fat and calories? Here's how to lighten them up.
In summertime, the livin' is easy, but so is access to seasonal foods that
tempt you off your summer diet.
Who can resist a heaping bowl of Aunt Maude's potato salad at the family
reunion? Or a chilled margarita, poolside? As your favorite ice cream shop
beckons, your summer weight -- and resistance -- may waver.
What harm could a little warm-weather indulgence do?
In moderation, not much, say nutrition experts. But beware: some of the summertime
food you might pass off as harmless packs a bigger calorie and fat punch than
you might imagine. A little bowl of cole slaw, for instance, packs 21 grams of
fat, about a third of most people's daily limit.
If you want to maintain your summer weight -- or at least not waddle into
fall -- turn to substitutes or slim down the treat you desire, at least
occasionally. Here, nutrition experts tell WebMD how to watch for five summer
diet blunders, along with suggestions on how to lighten up.
Summer Diet Blunder 1: Summertime Salads
What's summer - or a picnic - without potato salad? After all, potato is a
vegetable, right? Well, yes. But then, there's the mayonnaise, which a lot of
potato salads are swimming in, says Lona Sandon, MEd, RD, assistant
professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical
Center in Dallas. And depending on how heavy-handed the salad maker is with the
mayo, the fat can more than cancel out the benefits of eating the
"Salads made with mayonnaise are usually loaded with calories," she
says. Not to mention grams of fat - often so high that fat accounts for more
than half the total calories. It's also difficult to estimate calories and fat
in your portion, because recipes vary so much, Sandon
Summer Diet Fix
If you're trying to limit your fat to 30% of calories on a 2,000-calorie a
day diet -- a typical, healthy goal from the USDA -- your limit would be 65
grams of fat a day. So make those salads yourself. Slash calories and fat by
using reduced-fat mayo, Sandon suggests.
For example, homemade potato salad with regular mayo has more than 20 grams
of fat and 350 calories per cup. Make it with low-fat mayo and you can cut the
calories and fat in half. Lower-fat mayo has about 5 grams of fat per
tablespoon, while the regular stuff tops out at 11 grams of fat per
If you buy your potato salad on the go, keep in mind that recipes vary
widely at different fast-food restaurants. At Kentucky Fried Chicken, a 4.5-oz.
serving has 9 grams of fat and 180 calories. Blimpie's version - a 4.9-oz.
serving - has double the fat, at 19 grams of fat and 140 calories.