Northwestern Medicine

Summertime Fare Without a Side of Guilt

Northwestern Memorial Hospital June 28, 2011

Northwestern Memorial dietician offers tips for trimming calories without sacrificing good taste

CHICAGO, IL – Backyard barbeques, baseball games, and outdoor festivals entice many to indulge in their favorite foods during the summer season. Tempting, high calorie foods seem to be everywhere, prompting even the most disciplined eaters to make poor food choices. Experts say it’s okay to treat yourself from time to time, but warn that calories can quickly add up. Holly Herrington, registered dietician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital suggests making simple modifications to prevent unwanted pounds.

fresh fruit “Summer gatherings are often synonymous with weight gain, but they don’t have to be,” said Herrington. “Small adjustments and balance in your diet can help maintain good nutrition throughout the season.”

Herrington says simple substitutions are key and suggests the following tips for enjoying the tastes of the season.

At the ballpark
  • If opting for traditional ballpark food, choose a regular size hot dog topped with mustard and relish instead of a jumbo size dog with high-fat toppings like chili and cheese, and when selecting a beverage, remember liquid calories count too. Better yet, Herrington suggests trying one of several healthier alternatives now offered being offered at most parks, including grilled chicken sandwiches, veggie burgers and frozen yogurt. These lighter, non-traditional treats can satisfy big cravings with fewer calories.
At festivals or amusement parks
  • If the sweet aroma of funnel cakes and other deep-fried foods lures you in at festivals and amusement parks, select one item only and share it with a group of friends. This will allow you to enjoy your favorite treat while practicing good portion control. Walking an extra lap around the park afterwards will help burn a few calories too.
At a backyard barbeque
  • As you light up the grill and set out a spread, considering modifying your menu to include options that are low in fat and calories. Lean cuts of beef or chicken marinated in salsa, turkey burgers and lamb kabobs all make excellent main courses. Serve with whole grain buns, baked chips, fruit salad, grilled vegetables and potato salad made with light mayonnaise on the side and you have a feast sure to please any crowd.
“If you think about it, eating healthy should be easier in the summer thanks to the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available,” said Herrington. “A trip to your local farmer’s market can help encourage healthy eating and make for a fun family outing.”

Planning ahead can also help keep your waist slim and your nutrition goals on track. Herrington recommends keeping healthy snacks handy and never going to a summer event hungry.

For more information about nutrition services at Northwestern Memorial or to make an appointment, please call 312.926.0779.

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