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Weight Loss & Diet Plans

5 Summer Diet Blunders

Do your favorite summer treats pack a wallop in fat and calories? Here's how to lighten them up.
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Summer Diet Fix continued...

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 tablespoon.

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.

Cole slaw is another staple that sounds like a summer diet food. After all, isn't cabbage one of those "free foods," with so few calories they aren't worth thinking about? True, a cup of raw chopped cabbage has a mere 21 calories and a trace of fat - but then comes the mayo.

Cole slaw, like potato salad, can vary wildly in the amount of fat it contains, says Cathy Nonas, RD, director of the obesity and diabetes program at North General Hospital in New York City. At Chick-Fil-A restaurants, a 4.5-oz. serving of slaw carries 260 calories, with a whopping 21 grams of fat. At Boston Market, the same serving of cole slaw carries a more modest 170 calories with 9 grams of fat.

Advice? Indulge in the mayo-laced salads of summer only occasionally, if you love them. "Have the potato salad," Nonas says, "but understand it isn't a cheap date."

Summer Diet Blunder 2: Festive Drinks

Poolside, or at happy hour, a party drink such as a giant margarita can seem like a fine way to celebrate summer. It's the sociable thing to do, right?

Beware, says Sandon. "That poolside, nice, frosty beverage could become a weight problem that could make you spill over your bikini," she says. A regular-sized margarita has about 170 calories. But that's for one that's barely 3 ounces. The giant margaritas, especially those designed to be shared by two or three people, can spell trouble, Sandon says.

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