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Calorie Count Blog

Best Summer Foods For Weight Loss


By Mary_RD on Jun 17, 2009 12:00 PM in Dieting & You
Edited By +Rachel Berman

Sweet, ripe produce straight from the garden. Childhood favorites at the State Fair. Barbecue staples at cookouts. With the abundance of food and social events, it can be tough to keep your calories in check during the summer. We break it down with calorie counts and call out the best and worst foods for your waistline when it comes to typical summer fare. 

Go Leaner          

The traditional cookout and barbecue menu is loaded with fat, and fat has twice the calories of other energy-producing nutrients. Fat is “marbled” throughout the meat, even, we don’t even see it, and fat forms the basis of many a side-salad and dessert. (By now, everyone knows that mayonnaise and cream are primarily fat.) By switching from high-fat to low-fat meats, salads and desserts, you can prepare a complete and appealing meal without breaking the calorie budget - and that can make the difference between losing weight or not. Note: meats shown here are in 6-ounce portions, although 3 to 5 ounces is enough for many people - for the whole day!

Fattier choices:
Grilled rib eye steak, 6 oz: 500 calories
Spare ribs, 6 oz: 435 calories
Italian sausage, 6 oz: 570 calories
Cheeseburger
, 4 oz burger: 850 calories
Potato salad with mayo (and scant vegetables), 1 cup: 358 calories
Macaroni salad, 1 cup: 585 calories
Peach pie and ice cream, one wedge and ½ cup: 400 calories

Leaner choices:
Grilled tuna, 6 oz: 312 calories (with heart-healthy fat)
Shrimp skewers, 6 oz: 120 calories
Chicken breast kabobs, 6 oz: 190 calories
Tossed salad with oil and vinegar dressing, 10 oz: 168 calories
Green Bean Salad with Corn, Basil & Black Olives, 1 cup: 140 calories
Summer Fruit Parfait, 1 cup: 200 calories
Melon with Basil-Mint Granita, 1 wedge and ½ cup: 100 calories
Watermelon, one large wedge: 86 calories

Make Smarter Choices


Sure, you're going to indulge or may need a treat to cool off this summer. Junk food is not really food. It is simply junk. And some of those frosty drinks everyone carries around? Full of cream and sugar and more calories than you should have in a meal. Instead make smarter choices. 

Junky choices:
Starbucks Mint Chocolaty Chip Frappuccino® blended creme with Chocolate Whipped Cream, 16 oz: 400 calories
Dunkin' Donuts Vanilla Bean Coolatta, 16oz: 440 calories
Funnel Cake, 5oz: 500 calories
Soft serve, regular, ice cream, 4oz: 200 calories

Smarter choices:

Starbucks Iced Caffe Latte, 16 oz: 87 calories
Kettle Corn, 4 cups: 300 calories (with fiber)
Soft serve, light, ice cream, 4oz: 100 calories
Snow cone, 7oz: 30 calories

Your thoughts....

How will you enjoy barbecues and summer activites without breaking the calorie bank?

 



Comments


I don't have enough knowledge of what is good or bad food to have suggestions for healthy summer foods.   I just try to stick with the old standbys, chicken, turkey, salad, meatless hot dogs.   I just wanted to thank you for posting this about which foods are healthy and which foods are not.  I love the outdoor life, and it gets difficult not to consume more than I burn off at this time of the year.   So thanks for reminding me of the more healthy summer food choices.



I'm guilty for drinking too many frappuccinos in the summer. :/

 

But I'm getting better. I don't have one everyday now, and not more than one a day either. Also, I always order tall now without any whipping cream. It makes a difference compared to before.

 

I adore shrimp skewers!



My newest favorite summer food is Zuchini on the grill.  We grew zuchini in our garden.  We cut it up it pickle spear size peaces, then put it in a zip lock back with a very small amout of olive oil to coat, then spice with gralic powder, onion powder, and a dash of seasoning salt.  We put it on the grill for just a few minutes, turnin of course.  about 4-5 min. and it is so good!!! we are having it with dinner every night and it is the largest portion on our plate.  we had it with grilled samon and wild rice last night!! yum yum and so good for you!!



Brats will kill you, too... tons of fat calories. They do have some lower fat turkey brats available that are pretty good, so I try to get those when I'm going to grill. 



I am an iced/frozen coffee lover myself, but I have recently bought a blender and started making them on my own at home. If you get a fat free/sugar free creamer like vanilla caramel and use that and splenda instead of the heavy whipping cream and sugar, you can save yourself a ton of calories without sacrificing the taste of your favorite treat! This keeps you from taking a toll on your wallet and your waistline!



I am curious as to how a 4 ounce cheeseburger has so many calories - does this include lots of toppings or a real fatty choice of meat?  I thought 4 ounces of beef was around 250 calories and then putting it on a bun would add an extra 120 calories so that is 370 so how does adding cheese turn this into 850 calories? 

I think I'll stick to watermelon and soft serve ice cream.



I'm a vegetarian so a lot of the "worst" foods aren't a temptation for me. I can see how walking away from some of those "salads" and grilled foods might be a challenge for omnivores, though.

Honestly, during the summer I try to keep my salads light - spinach salad with a bit of mozzerella cheese, craisins, other dried fruit, and nuts. Yummy. =] Also, if you haven't tried them yet, I wholly recommend Morningstar meatless patties. I love the Southwest flavor. Unlike Boca Burgers they taste like vegetables, so you don't feel like you're eating cardboard. My mom LOVES them, and she also LOVES meat.



I love watermelon, its cheap and lasts a while. I bought a really big one and ate it as an after dinner snack for a whole week. It calms the sweet tooth and is filling. I've switched to turkey dogs, and my boyfriend made homemade turkey burgers that tasted better than beef. Sorbet is always a good replacement for ice cream, also fudge pops are pretty low in fat. My summer downfall is Italian water ice, mmmm.



This article is GREAT! The timing of it is perfect! It's SO GOOD to know how many calories are in most of the summer picnic items we eat BEFORE we eat them and sabotage our weight loss. Having Calorie Count and all it's information available to me has made all the difference in the world.  I have lost 6.5 pounds SO FAR and it feels wonderful! Thanks for the heads-up.



I have to second Kandi8522's recommendation of the morningstar veggie burgers.  I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination (unfortunately), however I love them.  And they are meant to taste like veggies, and they do.  We have family and neighborhood bbq's all the time and I have even turned a bunch of my neighbors on to them.  They all turned their noses up at first, but then everyone tried them and really liked them.  If you bring these with you to events with family and friends it is much easier to turn down the brats and cheeseburgers (which are oh so tempting!).  

Enjoy the summer!



Original Post by: momofpixies

I am curious as to how a 4 ounce cheeseburger has so many calories - does this include lots of toppings or a real fatty choice of meat?  I thought 4 ounces of beef was around 250 calories and then putting it on a bun would add an extra 120 calories so that is 370 so how does adding cheese turn this into 850 calories? 

I think I'll stick to watermelon and soft serve ice cream.


I went to the fast food websites once and you can look up the individual items that go into one of their specialties, and they do something to them that makes them worse than anything you could create at home--an egg and muffin sandwich from the fast food place is over 100 calories more than making the same thing at home with the same ingredients.  The same thing is true of most convenience foods--have you looked at the info on muffins?  Some of those monstrosities are almost 500 calories.  I don't think it's possible to make a 500 calorie muffin at home.  I don't know what they di but it's killing us. 



Its that time of year indeed!  By the way - I love hotdogs - so I found these ballpark fat free hot dogs (either beef or normal mix) and they are only 40 cal. a piece.  With a white wheat bun (about 90 cal a roll) it is a good dog.  I have had them on the grill, the george forman and in the skillet and they have been great.  It was nice finding something that tastes good without paying to heavy a price.



We love grilled vegetables.  toss with a little olive oil & light amount of season salt.  Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions. Take a tomato and brush with olive oil, to prevent sticking and grill.  For desert we have grilled peaches, pineapple and strawberies.  We do not brush with any oils.  You can sprinkled with a little brown sugar, but it isn't necessary. 



The best replacement for burgers on the grill is making turkey burgers.  My family and I get lean ground turkey (or ground turkey breast is best).  One of our favorites is salsa turkey burgers.  Take a pound of ground turkey and in a bowl mix with about 1/2 small chopped onion, 3/4 cup salsa, ground pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 cup of reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese.  Blend all ingredients together until well mixed then form into 4 patties.  Then grill until done.  Adding the salsa and cheese into the meat keeps it so moist and keeps it from becoming too dry.  They are delicious (and only about 225 calories for 1/4 lb. burger).  Then we put them on whole wheat buns or 1/4 of a whole wheat pita.  Top with lettuce & tomato.  They are delicious, a lot less calories than a regular burger and a lot less fat.  I've fed them to so many family members who don't even realize it's turkey until I tell them.  You can even get creative and add your own favorite ingredients to your ground meat (like reduced fat bleu cheese and pepper for "black & bleu burgers).  Serve with a side of your favorite grilled veggies and you have a healthy, delicious and easy summer meal!  Happy grilling!



Just a tip for lunch.  My friend and I work in an office with a fridge, and for lunch we have low fat turkey sandwich, with lots of veggies and 1/2 slice of pepper jack cheese, the pepper jack is lower in fat, and if you break it up into small pieces and spread it over the sandwich you have pepperjack in every bite with only 3.5 grams of fat (from cheese)! we also like spicey mustard.  Lots of flavor with little fat!



Iced coffee can be great with 2% milk and fat free cool whip if you really want to put something creamy on top.  I like it with a dash of peppermint extract and a little sugar, cool minty creamy and about 120 calories for 20 oz! 

Foodwise, I do a lot of interesting salsas with whatever fresh veggies I have on hand - tomorrow is "rainbow mango salsa" with mangoes, red plum tomatoes, cilantro, green bell peppers and rice wine vinegar.  Last month I did a "yellow salsa" with yellow tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, vidalia onions and white balsamic vinegar.  I use these vinegar-based salsas instead of salad dressing on crisp greens - AWESOME. 

Another thing I love is roasted or grilled veggies COLD on sandwiches.  Since I live in an apartment, I do mine in the oven on a cookie sheet at 450 for 20-30 minutes - salt, pepper, olive oil spray and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  Zucchini, yellow squash, red onions, bell peppers, thick sliced tomatoes all roast nicely and store well after they cool off.

Last thing I do is use finely chopped veggies to cut the calories and add vitamins to hamburgers.  Zucchini, carrots, onions, bell peppers, garlic, chopped very finely, mixed with about the same amount of lean ground meat (i.e. 1 cup veggies with 1/2 pound of meat) and one egg.  These do best on a griddle or in the oven since they can break apart sometimes. Cool



Comment Removed

Fresh tomatos are in season now. Could eat a ton of them. (Guess according to my estimate would be about 12,000 calories. ) I prepare a tomato sandwich on Natures Own wheat bread. 80 calories for 2 slices, 2 tablespoons of Hellmanns Light mayo 70 calories and sliced tomatos, This totals about 180 calories..

 



Peaches and other stone fruits are really good this year again! A medium peach is only 40 calories. I slice one in a bowl and top it with 1/4 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt for a great dessert under 100 calories! Cherries and plums are nice snacks as well.

Fresh pineapple wedges or slices and bell peppers halved are great grilled with shrimp on skewers or tuna steaks. I serve those with a marinated tomato and fresh basil salad from my garden that is simply chopped fresh tomatoes and fresh basil topped with basalmic vinegar and a bit of soy sauce tossed into a bowl of chopped romaine. Add a half cup of brown rice to the plate on which to rest the shrimp or tuna and you have a wonderful summer barbeque dinner that is low in fat and calories. It fills me up, pleases my palate as well as my eye with all the colors on the plate. It is a fun and easy dinner for summer guests too!



bbqs are such hard work when your trying to be good but i always have plenty of salad with the meat so i fill up properly and dont pick at the leftovers! sugar free jelly and cold fat free yoghurt is a nice pudding rather than ice cream :-)



Great list - to all Starbucks frap lovers out there, try the Light whipped version! A tall carmel frap light is only 130 calories!! :D



Original Post by: michelby

The best replacement for burgers on the grill is making turkey burgers.  My family and I get lean ground turkey (or ground turkey breast is best).  One of our favorites is salsa turkey burgers.  Take a pound of ground turkey and in a bowl mix with about 1/2 small chopped onion, 3/4 cup salsa, ground pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 cup of reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese.  Blend all ingredients together until well mixed then form into 4 patties.  Then grill until done.  Adding the salsa and cheese into the meat keeps it so moist and keeps it from becoming too dry.  They are delicious (and only about 225 calories for 1/4 lb. burger).  Then we put them on whole wheat buns or 1/4 of a whole wheat pita.  Top with lettuce & tomato.  They are delicious, a lot less calories than a regular burger and a lot less fat.  I've fed them to so many family members who don't even realize it's turkey until I tell them.  You can even get creative and add your own favorite ingredients to your ground meat (like reduced fat bleu cheese and pepper for "black & bleu burgers).  Serve with a side of your favorite grilled veggies and you have a healthy, delicious and easy summer meal!  Happy grilling!


Thanks for the recipe. We will definately try it. We are new to looking at calories, so it's hard to find good "meat" to grill.

Thanks!



I make my own iced lattes with Almond Breeze (40 cals/cup), vanilla & a little Splenda. Yum.

I don't think there's much of a point of even listing 1/2 cup of ice cream. Only we calorie counting maniacs eat that little in a serving!



I've found it's much easier to be "good" when bbq'ing with extended family and close friends. I can bring my own food and they understand when I pass up very high calorie items. I find it more difficult when eating with neighbours and co-workers... who don't seem to understand why I'm passing on the macaroni and potato salads and eating 1/2 a meat patty without a bun. For me, part of the trick is surrounding myself with people who support me... like on CC!!!



ps - I love super sweet creamy coffee-type drinks... but had completely given them up. Maybe I'll use some of these "low-cal" alternatives with skim milk to help get my dairy servings in and for the occasional treat Smile.



Doesn't grilling ground beef remove much of the fat? I've yet to find a reliable calorie count for a grilled burger from 1/4 pound of meat. No fixins', just the grilled meat.



thanks to you all! I am especally excited about "Grilling the veggies"  I have grilled red, yellow & green onion before & LOVE them..but they are so pricey..for me at least!  I don"t know why I never even thought to grill the others with the onions I would put them on tin-foil...how do ya'all do it..the grilling that is!Sealed Thanks for any easy ideas!  DO you put them directly on the grill? & I use charcol the old fashioned way..I like the flavor better..so at what point of the Briquets do you put them on?

Thanks

Bo



Although I normally find that CC is fair and justified in the examples they use for food, I have to say in this instance it seems like they went out of their way to quote some of the WORST foods outs there.

On the frozen drinks - there are PLENTY of frozen drinks available at starbucks that don't even come close to 400 calories - you can pretty much order anything they offer as 'skinny' (nonfat & sugarfree).  Try an iced skinny caramel latte - 160 cals for the grande - I promise you will love it!

As for grilling meats - the 850 cal burgers are probably those likely to be 'bubba' and cheaper brands that use anything in their patties - I'd like to give credit to all of us in the fact that CC has trained us to read labels by now & that we ARE smart enough to have listened. 

Also, I have a few issues that they listed as 'alternatives' that are really not alternatives to the higher fat versions at all.  What if you want that burger?  Or mac salad?? To help everyone out (and to answer some questions in the previous posts), I have listed some of my faves here;

Burgers - Alt with Ground Turkey, or Ground Sirloin or Boca; Kilbasa - use turkey!  The hillshire farm one is delish! Ribs - beef instead of pork will save you some fat (and I think they taste better).  Last, it is easy enough to switch to light mayo for those mac & potato salads - with all the ingrediants & flavors your guests probably won't even know the difference! 



What kind of dressing do you put on this salad?



Original Post by: michelby

The best replacement for burgers on the grill is making turkey burgers.  My family and I get lean ground turkey (or ground turkey breast is best).  One of our favorites is salsa turkey burgers.  Take a pound of ground turkey and in a bowl mix with about 1/2 small chopped onion, 3/4 cup salsa, ground pepper, garlic powder and 1/2 cup of reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese.  Blend all ingredients together until well mixed then form into 4 patties.  Then grill until done.  Adding the salsa and cheese into the meat keeps it so moist and keeps it from becoming too dry.  They are delicious (and only about 225 calories for 1/4 lb. burger).  Then we put them on whole wheat buns or 1/4 of a whole wheat pita.  Top with lettuce & tomato.  They are delicious, a lot less calories than a regular burger and a lot less fat.  I've fed them to so many family members who don't even realize it's turkey until I tell them.  You can even get creative and add your own favorite ingredients to your ground meat (like reduced fat bleu cheese and pepper for "black & bleu burgers).  Serve with a side of your favorite grilled veggies and you have a healthy, delicious and easy summer meal!  Happy grilling!


I love this idea, I make a spicy turkey burger that is moist and flavorful just like this idea.  You take the ground turkey, soy sauce, green chili's, ground mustard, 1/2 onion, and paprika for these ones.  Usually I just replace the green chile's for jalepeno and they taste so yummy. I actually forgot about them, but I love making the patti's and having them with a side of cottage cheese and fresh tomato slices, my favorite dipping sauce is sweet chili dipping sauce (Mae Ploy). 



I was thinking the same thing about the cheeseburger!  I just had a hamburger for dinner so I skipped the cheese, but it certainly didn't add up to 850 calories.  More like 350 calories and that includes the condiments.  Maybe that's a double with bacon or something that would come straight from a drive-thru window.



Hmm, the junk list makes me depressed.

I mean, you can't diet 365/24/7. If I'm going to a cook out, I would want to enjoy myself and just not go crazy. I think it's good to give different choices, but if you're dieting every day, who says you can have potato salad once a year in the summer? Or a hamburger? I think it's more moderation than calling some foods complete junk (even if that's what they are) and others the only option.

Everyone needs good food once in awhile. :)

 



I love summer all the fruits and veggies are fresh and much cheaper.  My favorite is watermelon.  BBQ ribs are a favorite also so that will have to be limited. 



I love this...thanks because I love tomato sandwiches!  YEA!



Original Post by: rfbccb

Fresh tomatos are in season now. Could eat a ton of them. (Guess according to my estimate would be about 12,000 calories. ) I prepare a tomato sandwich on Natures Own wheat bread. 80 calories for 2 slices, 2 tablespoons of Hellmanns Light mayo 70 calories and sliced tomatos, This totals about 180 calories..

 


I love this...thanks because I love tomato sandwiches!  YEA!

Forgive me...I'm new to this....


Original Post by: reginabc

Original Post by: momofpixies

I am curious as to how a 4 ounce cheeseburger has so many calories - does this include lots of toppings or a real fatty choice of meat?  I thought 4 ounces of beef was around 250 calories and then putting it on a bun would add an extra 120 calories so that is 370 so how does adding cheese turn this into 850 calories? 

I think I'll stick to watermelon and soft serve ice cream.


I went to the fast food websites once and you can look up the individual items that go into one of their specialties, and they do something to them that makes them worse than anything you could create at home--an egg and muffin sandwich from the fast food place is over 100 calories more than making the same thing at home with the same ingredients.  The same thing is true of most convenience foods--have you looked at the info on muffins?  Some of those monstrosities are almost 500 calories.  I don't think it's possible to make a 500 calorie muffin at home.  I don't know what they di but it's killing us. 


I was thinking that too!! How on earth do you pile on 500 calories on a bluberry muffin! Some of them aren't even that good!



I am obsessed with macaroni salad in the summer...but the mayo is so bad for you.  I tried using light mayo (that was my first step at making it healthier if you want to call it that)... plus I put a ton of chopped veggies in it, but I read somewhere (and I've yet to try it) to substitute half or more of the mayo with a greek yogurt (lowfat)... and you still get the same taste but it's way better for you.  I suppose it could work the same for potato salad too! Should be interesting to try it!



I've substitued Fat Free Ranch with a little vinegar on Macaroni and potatoe salads. It gave it a good tangy flavor.



Don't forget about ground BISON for burgers ......  VERY lean and tastier than extra lean ground beef.  with a light wheat bun, you are at about 280 calories for a 4 ounce bison burger .... mmmmmmmmmmmm

 

 

also fresh sliced tomatoes, red onion, fresh basil, salt/pepper, spritz of olive oil and plenty of balsamic vinegar for a salad less than 50 calories.



I'm lucky because I can't stand mayonnaise, but I miss out on a lot of those fattening salads that look so good.

I just made a twist on potato salad: Dice & boil a few potatoes, add a big handful of frozen peas  & chopped onion (and a hardboiled egg or two if you must) then combine a cup (or 2 if you're making a big salad) of fat free plain yogurt with a tablespoon of feta and a whole bunch of fresh dill, chives & thyme, and some salt & pepper, and mix it all together. The little bit of pungent cheese gives it a really nice kick, the herbs make it fresh and the yogurt makes it nice & creamy without sacrificing your entire day's calories! If you have time, mix all your herbs & cheese into the yogurt the day before & let it sit in the fridge overnight, so the flavors have time to blend together.



I just now had a hummus-avocado-red onion-tomato sandwich on double fiber whole wheat bread and a touch of fat-free ranch.  It was yummy!  Calories do count!  I finally got serious and track my calories per meal or snack on Excel spreadsheet.  I lost 15 lbs. since May 1st!  This is my first really successful weight loss program.  No games or points or meetings.  Just counting calories! :)  I have a limit of 1500 per day but usually come in lower.

 



I would say, that my biggest craving would be water and plenty of it! :)
(For food products, I would say Watermelon, Raspberries, Peach, Pomegranate, Apples and pineapple.. to any form of fruit.)

In hot weather, I crave more water oriented foods then dense foods.
(lately one of my cravings has been mangoes and clementines.) :P



It is hard to stick with what you know even when you know all of the ins and outs.  I have been on a comfort food binge for about a week.  The only thing saving me is the fact that I am more active with the warmer weather.  But I am realizing that I must get a handle on it before it gets out of control.  Summer is a great time to indulge in the fruits and veggies that are naturally available for the season.  During the winter these things just don't have the same taste as they do this time of year.  I find that if I indulge in the fresh veggies first with about a 1/3 cup of some kind of nut, then a little bit of fruit, by the time I get to the meats, and high fat things it is easier to keep the portions under control.  At that point I feel like I am eating as much as I want and need, and walk away satisfied.



Thanks for the potato salad recipie I just emailed it to myself.  Although, my husband can't stand yogurt, I'll have to make it just for meLaughing



i love yogurt and granola with fresh raspberries and blueberries in the summer its amazing for lunch when you're really hungry

blackberries and strawberries.... and bananas with it are good too...

actually just all berries and vanilla yogurt

AMAZING!



Cut watermelon into chunks, freeze, toss in blender.  eat with a spoon, real fruit ice/ slushy thing.  can also do it with strawberries and raspberries.

burger-

  • 1lb  99%fat free ground turkey,
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 box frozen spinach. thawed drained
  • 1/4 cup old fashion quick oats 
  • season to taste (i like spicy)
    • blend together
    • grill till done (rub grill with a bit of oil so they done stick)

Mixed grilled Veggies - summer squash, zucchini, peppers etc.  spray with the spray wishbone spray dressing and grill.



Of that make 8 burgers that are good size and depending on brands is about 107 calories.



Comment Removed

Try to get some extra exercise in, by playing pick up games at backyard cookouts.


CAn try some other simple things too, like instead of pure hamburg...half in half with ground turkey...its about a buck more per pound and is over HALF the amount less in calories, fats and saturated fats...we do this in almost EVERYTHING we make with hamburg now....and MAN is it ever good!



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