Summer is a great time for food! We all credit the winter holidays for making us ‘fat’, but no one thinks about the big burgers or steaks on the grill, the ice cream or popsicles to cool off in the heat, or that extra helping of potato salad at the cookout.
Unhealthy foods are everywhere this summer, and hard to avoid. Here are the top worst ones you may just run into this summer. You might be surprised at what is on the list!
Iced Coffee Concoctions
Do you find yourself saying “It’s too hot for hot coffee” at the local coffee shop, and getting something iced, sweet, and delicious instead? I get it! Nothing sounds worse in 100-degree weather than sipping on black coffee, but consider what is in your iced coffee.
Blended, ultra-sweetened or heavily flavored iced coffees often have a lot more sugar, fat, and a higher calorie count than their plain hot cousins. It is easy to forget their calorie count when you’re calculating consumption for the day, but according to Starbuck’s nutritional calculator, a Grande Caramel Frappuccino has over 400 calories!
Stick to cold brew or plain iced coffee this summer, and your waistline will thank you!
Processed Meats… Like Hot Dogs
Is there anything more satisfying than a hot dog from a hot grill, with those black pieces and juicy interiors? It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but hot dogs are a popular cookout favorite over the summer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) released a controversial study recently saying that processed meats are as bad for us as smoking. That’s aggressive, but there isn’t much doubt that those processed meats aren’t great for our bodies.
Choose grilled chicken on a bun, a fish filet, or even that burger instead.
Snow Cones are No Go’s
A nice, cold, sweet snow cone on a hot summers day just reminds so many of us of the summers from our childhood. Snow cone stands start popping up as the weather heats up, and long lines on weekends show they are still a favorite.
But your favorite cold treat is basically sugar. All a snow cone is, is shaved ice and flavored high fructose corn syrup. This sugar overload is likely to lead you to overeat in the hours afterward and fill you with completely empty calories.
Stick to popsicles or frozen fruit bars instead, and you’ll feel better – and look better, too.
A classic hiking treat, trail mix is often considered healthy-adjacent. We all know the extra chocolate we throw in there isn’t great, but nuts are good for you… right?
Well, no. Trail mix is high in calories, salt, and sugar. It can cause bloating, gas, and general summer discomfort. In addition, it’s easy to overeat. A few handfuls really add up, and dried fruits usually have more calories per ounce than fresh.
If you have to have an easy, portable snack, stick to unsalted nuts, plain pretzels, or a protein bar with healthy, natural ingredients.
Any Non-Green Salad
Americans love our “salad”. I use quotations because let’s be honest, potato salad or macaroni salad have little in common with actual, real salad.
I know your sister’s egg salad is to die for, but it is filled with mayo and sugar, both things that will cause you to bloat and gain weight. Choose the grilled veggies instead as a side to keep yourself feeling better for the whole afternoon.
Keep your portion size small if you must eat it, and try to avoid spoonfuls with extra sauce or mayo. It just isn’t good for you.
We’re going to end on a controversial note, because is there anything more summer-like than a piece of meat smothered in a delicious BBQ sauce?
BBQ sauce is delicious, yes. It’s also super high in calories and sugar! The average sauce has about 100 calories per two tablespoons, which is easily what is on that pulled pork sandwich or smothered on those ribs.
If you can’t live without the stuff, consider making your own from natural ingredients. Use dates as a sweetener instead of brown or white sugar, or swap to a vinegar base instead of a sweeter, thicker sauce. The calories in the sauce really add up quick!