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Thwart three summer food temptations

Shape up your plate for the summer season

Summer brings a new season of food favorites — and temptations. Here are three of the biggest offenders, and ways to resist and keep yourself on track.

Temptation #1: Frozen coffee at your local coffee shop

This disguised milkshake can weigh in over 500 calories, 23 fat grams and 69 grams of sugar. Instead of a frozen or “blended” coffee (which has zero nutritional value), quench your thirst with a refreshing and healthy summer drink.

  • Water is always the best option. To kick up the flavor, add slices of fruits or vegetables (such as lemons, oranges or cucumbers).
  • Iced green and black tea  are good options, too. Shy away from instant, bottled and sweet iced teas. They’re often loaded with sugar and don’t contain the antioxidants that provide the health benefits of green or black tea.
  • Iced coffee is the closest option to frozen coffee. A small cup with nonfat milk can be a cool treat with fewer than 100 calories.

A study at Rutgers University suggests that drinking coffee may be associated with a decreased risk of some skin cancers. Although research is ongoing (studies are still focused on mice), scientists suspect that caffeine from coffee-based sunscreen may lower the risk of sunlight-induced skin cancer, the most prevalent cancer in the U.S.

Temptation #2: Chips at your church picnic

This classic side to your sandwich is fried in oil and coated with grease, fat grams, sodium and empty calories. Learn to snack smart in the sun with healthy, satisfying options.

  • Fresh vegetables are a better pairing than chips. For variety, slice crunchy veggies (like carrots or celery) and create a medley.
  • Trail mix is packed with protein. Mix nuts (such as almonds or walnuts) with dried fruits and granola. To manage calories, be sure to watch portion sizes.
  • Popcorn can satisfy your craving for a salty side. Try this crunchy whole grain, but make sure it's air popped and butter free. 

Temptation #3: Hamburgers at your backyard barbeque

All-American hamburgers are a cookout staple. Keep them from wrecking your waistline by choosing the right meat and watching your toppings (such as cheese and mayonnaise).

  • Select lean meat: ground sirloin (230 calories), ground turkey breast (190 calories) or, surprisingly, buffalo (143 calories). Calorie counts are based per patty (4 ounces or 100 grams).
  • Spice up your backyard barbeque with herbs and seasonings, which can help protect against cancer, diabetes and heart disease. You can knead in, marinate or sauce your way to better health. Plus, the extra flavor boost will help cut down on unnecessary salt.
  • Basil and parsley are on the favorites list for herbs and spices with the most antioxidant power. They can help curb inflammation in the body, increase metabolism and slow down your pace of eating. Turmeric and saffron may help fight diseases, too.
  • Veg out. Top your burger with grilled or fresh veggies and choose mustard or salsa instead of heavier condiments like mayonnaise.

GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention welcomes the opportunity to share this general information. However, this article is not intended to be relied upon as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.