Health Advice



7 ways to avoid the worst summer calorie bombs

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, on

Published in Health & Fitness

Summer is the season of flip flops, swimsuits, and lots of traditions that revolve! Here’s how to sidestep seven classic calorie bombs, and seriously upgrade your health.

1. Trade ice cream for frozen treats.

Switching to frozen yogurt shaves off some calories, but a pint can still cost you 800 calories!

The swap: 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.

2. Lighten up your cocktails.

A pina colada is the quintessential summer cocktail, but a 12-ounce portion packs 600 calories, the amount in an entire six pack of light beer.

The swap: Combine a shot of rum with 4 ounces of 100% pineapple juice, a quarter cup of frozen banana slices, a quarter cup of unsweetened coconut milk, and a handful of ice. A refreshing, and much slimmer substitute, at just 175 calories.

3. Reassess your sushi.

Old school sushi rolls provide about 200 calories each, but many “new wave” sushis are loaded with creamy sauces, fatty meats, fried ingredients, and cream cheese, which can tack on at least a few hundred more.

The swap: Ditch the white rice and order appetizers and side dishes. All together, seared tuna, edamame and seaweed salad add up to less than 350 calories.

4. Rethink that lemonade.

There’s nothing like a tall glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day, but most are made from water, lemon flavoring (not fresh fruit), and a lot of sugar. Sixteen ounces of standard lemonade contains the equivalent of 14 cubes of sugar!

The swap: Just a quarter cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice provides over 50% of your daily vitamin C needs, a nutrient linked to less body fat and smaller waist measurements. For extra flavor, add fresh mint. And if you need a little sweetener, add a splash of a pure fruit juice.


5. Order your movie popcorn naked.

Fortunately popcorn is actually a member of the whole grain family, an important food group most Americans fall short on. The secret to keeping this low-carb snack light is passing on the butter.

The swap: A small order can contain 225-400 calories, but going bare (sans butter), saves 130 calories per tablespoon.

6. Remodel your munchies.

Chips and dip are staples at summer get-togethers, but they’re a waistline disaster. A handful of potato chips and a golf ball sized portion of French onion dip add up to 375 calories.

The swap: Upgrade to hummus and veggies, and 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.

7. Deflate your buns.

Whether you grill up turkey, salmon, or black bean burgers, slash excess calories by getting rid of the bun. You probably won’t miss it, and replacing it can instantly save you 150-300 calories.

The swap: Wrap your protein of choice in either crisp lettuce leaves, or two grilled Portobello mushroom caps. Outer leaves of romaine, or bibb lettuce are virtually calorie free.

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