Summer's Food Temptations: Should You Resist?

Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005

Summer's Food Temptations: Should You Resist?

By Jeanie Lerche Davis
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

But for those less-exotic family vacations -- those road trips to the beach, etc. -- fast food temptations are literally at every turn. Those trips are a whole different dietary story, says Rosenbloom.

"When you're in the car, you're not as active," she tells WebMD. "So you have to scale back on fat and calories."

Be prepared, Rosenbloom says. "Keep a cooler in the car full of healthy snacks -- those bags of mini carrots that kids like, dip, apples, a jar of peanut butter." Keep in mind that even pretzels, though they are low fat, can be high in calories if you eat too many, she adds.

Beverages are another high-calorie pitfall: "Keep bottles of water packed in the car, as well as sugar-free lemonades and iced teas," she says.

When you do stop: "Kids always like to go to fast-food places so they can play in the gyms. That's OK, too. But you can get the healthy stuff -- the grilled chicken or baked potato." Also, stick to normal mealtimes, since skipping meals just makes you eat more later.

Read restaurant menus carefully: If items are baked, broiled, grilled, poached, roasted, steamed, or stir-fried, they are generally healthier. Go light on rolls and butter; move the basket to the other end of the table, if necessary. Ask about portion sizes, because many U.S. restaurants serve huge amounts of food; ask to have yours split, get a kiddie-sized meal, or take some home.

Also, take advantage of roadside stands, says Rosenbloom. "Everything's fresh, so good tasting. And try the newer varieties, like grape tomatoes. Summer is a great time to eat lots of fruits and vegetables."

Indulge in the ice cream cones, if you want, she says. Make those afternoon stops to the roadside Dairy Queens and Dairy DeLites. After all, it's summer. Just don't forget those scoops will end up on your hips. "Go for smaller size, the single scoop. And skip dessert at dinner that night. You don't have to go overboard all the time."

Originally published June 4, 2001.
Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD, May 2002.

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