Summer Foods: 10 Most Fattening (cont.)

4. Sweet Alcoholic Drinks.

Sweet, fruity alcoholic drinks (the kind often served with an umbrella) may go down easy, but the calories add up in a hurry. Pina coladas can range from 245-490 calories, a daiquiri can contain from 300-800 calories, a Long Island iced tea can set you back 520 calories or more -- and much of it is from sugar.
"Cocktails need to be counted and controlled because they are extra calories, they don't fill you up like food -- and remember the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommends one drink per day for women and two for men," Neville says. "Think of these calorie-laden beverages as dessert and try to limit your portion size."
Instead of a sugary libation, try a wine spritzer, or a small serving of wine or sangria. Or mix one ounce of alcohol (like rum or vodka) with a splash of 100% fruit juice, a wedge of lime, and club soda for a refreshing and lower-calorie cocktail.

5. Thirst Quenchers.

When you're hot, you need to stay hydrated. But watch what you choose to quench your thirst. If you're drinking 12-ounce containers of beer, sweetened soda, sweet tea, energy drinks, or juice drinks, you're probably taking in about 150 calories a pop.

Smoothies, milkshakes, and cold coffee concoctions can go much higher. A Smoothie King 20 oz. vanilla shake has 738 calories, but if you choose the Slim-N-trim vanilla smoothie, you'll cut the calories to 227. Starbucks' 2% iced dulce de leche with whip packs 420 calories and 16 grams of fat in a 16 oz. serving, but you can indulge in a 20 oz. iced coffee with skim milk for only 110 calories.

To keep liquid calories in check, choose lite or diet versions of your favorite cold drink, or limit your portions of the regular type and satisfy your thirst with ice-cold water. You can jazz up water, sparkling water, or unsweetened tea with a sprig of mint, wedge of citrus, or splash of 100% fruit juice.

6. Frozen Treats.

A cup of soft-serve ice cream can have 380 calories and 22 grams of fat. Make it a Dairy Queen chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard and the calories soar to 720, with 28 grams of fat! Baskin Robbins' two-scoop French vanilla and peanut butter 'n' chocolate on a sugar cone has 660 calories and 39 grams of fat. And Ben and Jerry's two-scoop Chunky Monkey in a waffle cone has 659 calories and 34 grams of fat.

Krieger suggests reading the labels on frozen desserts and choosing sorbet, sherbet, light ice cream, fudge bars, fruit bars, or other treats under 150 calories per serving. Another great option is fruit desserts like strawberry shortcake (1 cup strawberries, a slice of angel food cake, and 1 oz. low-fat whipped topping is nutritious and only 184 calories).

7. Fair, Carnival, and Boardwalk Food.

State fairs, carnivals, and seashore boardwalks serve some of the most fattening deep-fried diet disasters. From fried cheesecake (around 500 calories), fried macaroni and cheese (610 calories) to gigantic turkey legs (1,136 calories and 54 g fat), most eat-while-you-walk foods will give you calorie overload. Skip the fried foods and choose cotton candy, caramel apples, or a simple grilled meat.

8. Salad Toppers.

A salad can be the perfect no-cook summer dinner, light, refreshing, and a perfect way to get your produce and lean protein. But if you top your salad with high-calorie items, it can go from lean to fattening in a hurry.

High-calorie dressings, fried chicken strips, bacon, cheese, and croutons are among the biggest offenders. An ounce of croutons (142 calories, 6 grams fat), 3 strips of crumbled bacon (124 calories, 9 grams fat), half a cup of cheese (228 calories, 18 g fat), 3 crispy fried chicken strips (350 calories, 19 g fat) and a pouch of creamy Caesar dressing (260 calories, 26 g fat) and your salad weighs in at 1,129 calories and 78 g fat.

Instead, top your greens with grilled chicken, strips of lean meat, or eggs, then pile on the veggies -- from tomatoes to beans to jicama. Finish it off with a small amount of regular or low-fat cheese and a little light vinaigrette dressing for a light but filling summer salad.

9. Sweet or Salty Snacks.

A handful of any kind of snack won't do much harm, but when you have your hand stuck in the bag or box all day long; it can really sabotage your diet. Each ounce of potato chips or cheese puffs is roughly 160 calories and 10 grams of fat. Ballpark cheese nachos will set you back 692 calories (plus 38 g fat and 1,632 mg sodium); a box of Cracker Jacks packs 420 calories and 7 g fat; and a 10-cup box of movie theater popcorn has 550 calories, 31 g fat, and 972 mg sodium. Try snacking on fruits, raw veggies with lite dip, or small portions of fat-free popcorn instead.

10. Fried Chicken.

A bucket of fried chicken is an easy way to feed a crowd, but it can wreak havoc on your waistline (and arteries), especially when you don't stop at one piece. So forgo the fried and toss boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill. A 3.5 oz. skinned chicken breast has only 167 calories and 7 grams of fat, compared to a KFC fried chicken breast with 360 calories and 21 g fat

"Marinate in a light dressing, use a dry spice rub, and top it with a fabulous fresh salsa and while it may not be crispy, it will be delicious and much better for you," Neville says.

Published June 17, 2008.

SOURCES: Kerry Neville, MS, RD, spokesperson, American Dietetic Association. Sarah Krieger, MPH, RD, chef and owner, Dining Cents; spokesperson, American Dietetic Association.

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