Skip these warm weather staples if you have to drop some pounds. Here are 4 summer foods sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Summertime means beach trips, lounging by the pool, and enjoying all of the great food you can grab at barbecues and picnics. Anyone who loves the signature tastes of the season has a lot of meals to look forward to, but that doesn’t mean your diet agrees with all of these choices. While burgers, hot dogs, and corn on the cob all make summer feel that much special, your weight loss goals can easily suffer if you end up going too hard at your neighborhood cookout.
By identifying which summertime foods can do the most damage to your diet, you can stay one step ahead of packing on the pounds and ensure you make it to fall with a slimmer waist. Here are 4 summer foods sabotaging your weight loss goals.
1. Corn on the cob
You might never expect corn on the cob to do too much damage to your figure. After all, corn is only a vegetable, and on paper, it shouldn’t destabilize your diet too badly. Unfortunately, anyone who likes to load out their corn with butter and toppings could see their diet unravel before their eyes.
“Oftentimes, the add-ins contribute unnecessary calories,” Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, explains. “Corn on the cob is healthy but adding too much butter can contribute to weight gain.”
Make sure you avoid slathering this item with butter to keep this classic side dish from adding too many calories to your daily eating plan.
2. Grilled Burgers
Summer is prime grilling season, and that means that everyone wants to show off their burger-making prowess. Like any other time of the year, this item can easily pack on the pounds, but burger add-ons can do even more damage.
“Enjoying an occasional burger is ok once in a while, but if you eat a burger with lots of ketchup… it can add unnecessary calories,” Dr. Young says. “Be mindful of your choices and stick to the one BBQ food you most desire.”
3. Ice Cream
When the temperatures start to skyrocket, any kind of cool treat ends up sounding delicious. If you have a sweet tooth and love digging into your favorite ice cream during summer, make sure to go easy, or else you might just end up throwing off your weight loss goals.
“These can pack in 150-300 calories in half-cup scoops and don’t really satiate you, adding calories into your day that you aren’t burning off,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD.
While small portions of lean red meat can be a part of a healthy diet, massive portions can easily add some unnecessary saturated fat into your diet and certain pieces of protein do more damage than others.
“Barbecue parties are common in summer,” Bill Bradley, RD at Mediterranean Living said. “While it’s a fun activity to do with family and friends in the summer, high-fat meats on the barbecue might add to your weight gain. For example, a 20-ounce T-bone steak contains 124 grams of fat and 1,540 calories.”
If the idea of going a summer without grilling steaks seems like too much to bear, just make sure you opt for smaller cuts of meat to lessen the impact this food has on your weight loss goals.
The best summer foods for weight loss
Cherry-picked for their health benefits, these tasty summer superfoods do more than just satisfy your sweet tooth. Cherries are loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant that packs some serious body-transforming powers.
Researchers at Washington State University, Pullman found that mice given high doses of resveratrol were able to convert the excess white fat on their bodies into brown fat, which can increase metabolism and help you burn more calories.
And researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens, have found that resveratrol supplementation also reduced weight gain and bone demineralization.
Bye, burgers! This summer, the hottest choice for grillers is the portobello mushroom. A flavorful, low-fat substitute for meat that pairs well with heart-healthy ingredients like garlic and olive oil, the portobello is as good for your taste buds as it is for your waistline. Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Department of Nutrition Science have found portobello mushrooms effective at stabilizing female test subjects’ blood sugar and minimizing insulin spikes, staving off cravings and keeping those unwanted pounds at bay.
Stay cool as a cucumber this summer by making this crunchy veggie part of your menu. Super-hydrating cucumber is low in calories, loaded with inflammation-fighting antioxidants, and can even reduce your risk of hypertension. Researchers in Indonesia discovered a significant reduction in blood pressure among elderly women whose diets were supplemented with cucumber juice, suggesting this tasty veggie may even help you live longer. And who doesn’t want that?
Who wants to stand over a hot stove when the temperature heats up? Instead of spending time in a sweltering kitchen, enjoy a cool and easy breakfast this summer by making grapefruit part of your regular routine. In addition to its high vitamin C content, which can boost your immune system and help you fend off those summer colds, grapefruit is an amazing choice for anyone trying to slim down.
Studies suggest that grapefruit can help stabilize insulin levels, shutting up those voices telling you to indulge your sugar cravings, and it can also make it easier to shed that spare tire.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that obese adults who downed a half-cup of pure grapefruit juice before meals lost significantly more weight than the control group, who front-loaded their food with water.
Getting healthier this summer starts with a familiar staple: watermelon. Made up of more than 90 percent water, this sweet treat is a great way to stay cool and hydrated, even on the hottest summer days.
Even better, researchers at Purdue University and the University of Kentucky found that mice who consumed watermelon juice lowered their cholesterol, decreased the amount of plaque in their arteries, and lost more weight than a group given a non-watermelon carbohydrate solution.
The key to a red-hot body? Going blue. Whether you’re tossing some blueberries into your favorite smoothie or just eating them on their own, each time you grab a handful of these sun-ripened berries, you’re steering a course toward better health.
While they don’t share the same reddish hue as many sources of resveratrol, blueberries are still loaded with the stuff, making them a great choice for anyone trying to transform their body. They’re also a low-glycemic food, meaning that they don’t result in drastic insulin spikes brought about by other sweet treats.