Eat This, Not That: Summer Edition

by Hannah Geise

Summertime means backyard barbecues, state fairs, and lots of frozen treats. But enjoying these summer pleasures doesn’t have to take a toll on your waistline. If you don’t want to miss out on the indulgence, but still want to make a sensible dining choice, read on for MODA’s version of “Eat This, Not That: Summer Edition”.


Although barbecues are notorious for greasy burgers, creamy potato salads, and super-rich brownies, relaxing with friends shouldn’t be so unhealthy.

Instead of a bacon cheeseburger, choose a grilled chicken sandwich. A single chicken breast has about 150 calories and 3 grams of fat versus a beef patty, which has about 300 calories and 18 grams of fat. By decreasing the calories and fat content in your main dish, you’ll leave room for additional tasty sides.

Instead of potato salad, choose a fruit salad. Because of creamy ingredients like mayonnaise, one cup of potato salad can have up to 360 calories, which is 1/3 of your recommended daily fat intake, and if it’s store-bought, can have more than half of the recommended daily sodium intake. Fruit salad is a much healthier option, with one cup coming in at barely 100 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

Fairs and Carnivals

Fried foods may taste yummy, but the way they make us feel after isn’t so great. Fairs and carnivals offer some other options that may not necessarily be super-healthy, but they are significantly better than the deep-fried, sugar-heavy alternatives.

Instead of a corn dog, choose a soft pretzel. While the soft pretzel may have more calories than a corn dog (400 vs. 290), it is significantly lower in fat (4 grams vs. 21 grams) and cholesterol (0 mg vs. 50 mg). Plus, it’s not deep fried, so you won’t have a stomach ache after eating it.

Instead of a funnel cake, choose mini cream puffs. If you are looking for something with a taste and texture similar to a funnel cake, mini cream puffs are satisfying. With the smaller size, you can usually control the amount you eat, and therefore, the amount of calories you take in. At just 60 calories per puff, these mini bundles of deliciousness beat the 400-calorie funnel cake.

Frozen Treats

Nothing’s better than a frozen treat on a hot summer day. But these sweet treats don’t seem so sweet when they spike your blood sugar. Cooling off doesn’t have to be unhealthy.

Instead of a Creamsicle, choose a homemade popsicle. Homemade pops using fruit juice are a great alternative to pre-packaged popsicles from the store. At less than 40 calories a pop, juice pops are delicious, nutritious, and cost-effective. By using juice (not from concentrate), you avoid the high fructose corn syrup and a host of other preservatives that can be found in manufactured popsicles.

Instead of custard, choose Italian ice. With just 60 calories and essentially 0 grams of fat in half a cup of Italian ice, this tasty ice cream alternative trumps the fat-laden custard that has over twice the calories and 8 grams of fat.

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