Best vs. Less Best: Summer Foods To Help With Weight Loss
From pies and popsicles to hot dogs and hamburgers, the summer is bursting with flavor.
Though every season has its claim to the “Most Delicious Season” belt, summer might just get the edge for how nice it is to enjoy all its seasonal flavors outside.
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From the ridiculous abundance of fresh fruit to the weekend grills that get fired up on Memorial Day, summer is certainly a season for the tastebuds.
With those fresh flavors come some sweet tricks, though, as it’s a season that can also throw a wrench in even the best-intentioned nutritional plans.
Still, we’re big believers in moderation. After all, there’s too much summer goodness to go cold turkey on everything. We understand, too, that for those looking to lose weight in a healthy way - or maintain their weight after a winter of hard work - summer can be an obstacle course.
From the 4th of July apple pies and campfire s’mores to the late summer fried foods at the carnival, those long summer afternoons are filled to the sunsets with temptation.
To help you navigate the cookouts and carnivals, we’ve put together a short list of the summer foods that will help you hit your goals… and the ones you should go a little lighter on.
Best Summer Foods To Help With Weight Loss
Fresh Cherries - With so much fresh summer fruit available, it can be hard to know which one to start with. Watermelon’s a popular choice, as are grapefruits. For our farmer’s market money, though, we’re going with cherries. A study from Washington State University showed promising results about one of cherry’s antioxidants helping to increase metabolism and burn more calories. Not bad for a sweet treat! Heck, you might even toss them into a pie (but be sure to make it yourself - we’ve got more on pies in the next list). It is summer after all!
Corn On The Cob - Whether prepared on the grill, oven-roasted, boiled, or popped in the microwave, corn on the cob is a quintessential summer snack. While it gets a bit trickier depending on the amount of butter you slather on (and boy, do I slather), there are plenty of nutrients in every bite, including 2 grams of fiber and some powerfully healthy phytochemicals. You’ll also slow down as you work your way through it, allowing your body the time to tell you it’s full.
Shrimp - Honestly, the summer is just one big episode of “Will it grill?” If you’re playing along at home, one of the best summer foods to help with your nutritional goals is shrimp. Not just a low-calorie protein, shrimp is also a source of omega-3s which can also help with weight loss.
The Spicy Stuff - Looking to make your summer even sweatier? Adding peppers to your meals won’t just kick up the heat, it’ll also help you make weight. That’s due to naturally-occurring capsaicinoids in hot chili peppers that have the potential to help reduce abdominal fat. Of course, the other benefit is it might prove challenging to overindulge
- Iced Green Tea - You’ll also need a go-to drink to help keep you hydrated. While a cup of warm coffee might be okay in the morning, we’re fans of iced green tea throughout the day. It’s got a light amount of caffeine and antioxidants to keep the metabolism moving, while also being filled with catechins that have weight loss benefits.
Summer Foods That Might Make Weight Loss Trickier
White Bread & Buns - Who are we to say you can’t have a bun with your hot dog or burger? Unfortunately, a study of those eating two slices of white bread a day was linked to a 40% greater risk of weight gain and obesity. Now, unless you’re eating sandwiches at backyard BBQs every day, that study might not apply to you. Still, consider swapping in an alternative from time to time, like this healthy bread - or a crispy lettuce wrap.
Squeezed Juice - The orchards are producing overtime and there are fruits a-plenty. Who says no to a fresh-squeezed juice? Or a non-processed fruit punch? As you’ve likely heard, fruit juice is not the best way to get your daily count of fruit. Not only does it often have a comparable amount of sugar to soda, it lacks the fiber you’ll get from sinking your teeth into a stone fruit. In this case, consider watering down that batch of fresh-squeezed fruit juice - or just save yourself the squeezing and eat the fruit whole.
- Pies - Coming from a former pie professional, admitting that pies may not be the most wholesome dessert (but they have fresh fruit!) is tough. In addition to the refined sugar that goes into the crust, glaze, and filling, you should also be mindful of the fat used (and if they have trans fats). Like most things, if you can make it yourself, you’ll be better able to judge what’s inside. So instead of avoiding pies completely, our vote is to avoid the frozen ones and take it easy on store-bought treats and indulge in the ones you make yourself.
Fancy Iced Coffee Drinks - The weather’s hot, so getting a cold-brewed coffee or a Frappuccino can seem like a justifiable move. While coffee on its own has almost no calories, it gets dicey when we try to make it a little sweeter. Artificial creams, sugars, and sweeteners all add on the calories. As a note that Starbucks themselves points out, you need to order a small (fine, a tall) drink to have it be under 250 calories. Try for a black iced coffee or cold brew, with just a pump (20 calories each) for sweetness.
- Granola Bars - The beautiful summer weather is an invitation to move around. From walks through the park through long road trips, it’s the season for easily packaged snacks. One that may be less healthy than it seems is the granola bar. Though granola and granola bars can be quite nutritious, it’s the pre-packaged ones and the added sugar that can spike your intake. Instead, why not make your own granola?