Summer means long, sunny days packed with picnics, barbeques, pool parties and family vacations—all of which can undermine your healthy eating efforts. But with just a few simple changes, you can enjoy slimmed down versions of your summer staples and remain svelte this swimsuit season.
Before you give into temptation, check out the following smart swaps that allow you to indulge without derailing your clean eating regimen!
The Swap: Cheeseburger for turkey burger
A calorie-laden cheeseburger can weigh you down—especially on a hot summer day. Choose a lean turkey burger instead. Better still, opt for a lower-cal veggie patty that’s loaded with fiber and vitamins. For added benefits, skip the bun (wrap the burger in lettuce) or choose a whole wheat bun instead of a white one.
The Swap: Hot dogs for chicken sausage
Grilling season shouldn’t be killing season when it comes to your diet. Substitute flavorful chicken sausage for hot dogs, which are typically packed with saturated fat, sodium and preservatives. Dress up your healthier “dog” with mustard, onions, relish and other relatively harmless toppings (forget the chili and cheese!) and prepare to enjoy!
The Swap: Mayo for Greek yogurt
Chicken salad, pasta salad, potato salad…mayo typically takes center stage in these iconic summer dishes. But Greek yogurt can provide the creamy texture you crave for a fraction of the fat and calories of the popular condiment (even the light version!). Substitute equal parts thick and velvety Greek yogurt for mayo in all your favorite summertime recipes to cut calories while preserving flavor.
The Swap: Potato chips for kale chips
Crunchy chips are perfectly portable, making them a go-to snack for summer hikes, picnics and camping trips. But they can invite mindless munching and before you know it, a single serving can spiral into several (remember that old slogan about not being able to eat just one?). Replace your potato chips with “superfood” kale chips, a more nutritious alternative. Even if you go overboard with this savory snack, you’ll be adding protein, fiber and vitamins A and K to your diet!
Or make your own: Baked Vegan Kale Chips
The Swap: Ice cream for popsicles
You want to cool off with frozen treats throughout the hot summer months, but ice cream can have hundreds of calories per serving (especially if you favor boxed bars and traditional toppings like hot fudge and candy pieces). Popsicles, on the other hand, typically boast under 100 calories each. Make them yourself by mixing fresh fruit (cherries, strawberries and antioxidant-rich blueberries are all in season during summer!) with organic, no-sugar added fruit juice and freezing overnight in a paper cup or popsicle mold.
The Swap: Sugary drinks for water or low-cal beverages
It’s important to hydrate during the summer when the heat has your body begging for fluids. But soda and sugary juices contain empty calories that can sabotage your diet and promote tooth decay. Instead, replenish with good old H20. Find it difficult to down plain water? Add a splash of lemon or Dream Foods International Organic Volcano Lime Burst for flavor or opt for a calorie-free or low-cal drink like Izze Beverage Co. Low Calorie Sparkling Beverage Keeping a reusable water bottle on hand can also bring you closer to your hydration goals.
In a food-swapping mood? Check out 10 Food Swaps that Instantly Make Breakfast Healthier