Summer is grilling season but as temperatures rise we also tend to gravitate toward chilled dishes. But some cold meals and drinks that seem refreshing can actually be hidden sources of hundreds of extra calories. Here’s the low down on what they contain, and what to reach for instead.
Many new wave sushi rolls are made with high calorie ingredients including creamy sauces, fatty meats, fried items, and even cheeses. One tempura roll for example contains 540 calories and a dragon roll packs 520. That’s more than a quarter pound burger for just one roll!
Order cold side dishes like sashimi (about 30 calories per piece), edamame (125 cals per half cup), and seaweed salad (about 60 calories per typical side portion). If you do order a roll, keep it simple. Stick with options made of ultra lean fish, raw veggies, brown or black rice, or quinoa, a current trend at some sushi spots provide. Each of these rolls packs roughly 200 calories.
Fruit is fabulous for your health, but when you need a refreshing drink an all fruit smoothie can lead to calorie overkill. Any time you take in more calories than your body can burn, the rest goes straight to your fat cells, even from fruit. A typical 16 ounce five fruit smoothie packs 340 calories and over 80 grams of carbohydrates, with just 2 grams of protein.
The same sized portion of an iced skim or organic soy latte contains just 90 calories and 13 grams of carbs. Bonus: the milk provides about 8 grams of metabolism-boosting protein and 30 precent of your daily calcium needs, a mineral linked to weight control. Pair your chilled cup of Joe with a piece of in-season fruit like a peach or plum to fit in a serving of fruit and you’ll still save about 170 calories and achieve a better balance.
Chicken salad sandwich
This summertime classic isn’t so bad by the scoop at about 200 calories per half cup, but between a croissant or a bagel you get an extra 320 calories, and in the latter the carb equivalent of 4 slices of bread.
Serve chicken salad in Romaine boats (5 calories per outer leaf) sprinkled with a cooked, chilled whole grain like quinoa (111 calories and 20 grams of carbs per half cup cooked).
It’s the classic tropical summer cocktail, but 12 ounces will cost you 600 calories, the amount in a six-pack of light beer.
Stick with an iced cold light brewski for under 100 calories per 12 ounces can or bottle (check out my previous post about the health benefits of beer) or whip up your own fruity elixir using:
Cynthia Sass is a registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's a SHAPE contributing editor and nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.