Summer picnic foods – the good and the bad

Between the mind that is battling the summer heat and a heart that is craving for the delicious BBQs, cookouts and picnics at the park, its our waistlines that end up suffering. Times of India Health & Fitness recently came up with a list of your everyday summer treats and how to devour them without sacrificing your shape (number of calories included in brackets).


In order to increase the flavour of your burger, try and add a mixture of soy sauce, chilli sauce, thick tomato puree, minced garlic or BBQ sauce to it and you couldn’t have asked for a better juicy burger. Asking the butcher to trim the visible fat will help too, as well as adding raw vegetable fillers such as tomato and lettuce.

Worst: white flour burgers with extra cheese and mayonnaise. Best: Lean beef burger with roasted and raw vegetables.


Dip skinless pieces of chicken (breast or thighs) in low-fat butter milk before spraying it with a bit of seasoned olive oil and baking at 450 degree. Coating the outside of the chicken with a seasoned crumb mixture of brown bread gives the chicken that extra crispy flavour. Opt for a grilled chicken piece, with a healthy serving of roasted vegetables on the side.

Worst: fried chicken (363 calories). Best: grilled chicken kebab (88 calories).

Potato salad

This needn’t be fancy – use ingredients like olive oil, oregano, parsley, rosemary along with some salt and pepper.

Worst: mayonnaise-based potato salad (324 calories). Best: grilled potatoes (201 calories).

Bakery products

Bread, pita pockets, naans, buns, rolls and muffins are all healthier when in the form of whole grain (although not as delicious, although this depends on your taste). Go for low-fat refined beans, regular or hot mustard, BBQ sauce, hummus or cranberry spread. As far as the preparation method is concerned, go for traditional style (layered over a bread) panini style, roll or wrap, toasted and grilled.

Worst: plain hamburger bun (129 calories). Best: whole grain sandwich bread (100 calories).

Chips & dip

Salsa can be made at home in about 5 minutes from scratch (if you don’t know how, see here).

Worst: potato chips with creamy dip (155 calories). Best: corn tortilla chips with salsa (138 calories).

Strawberry desserts

Fresh strawberries with whipped and chilled yogurt is a great dessert. It not only saves you from extra calories, but also keeps away the boredom of eating the same dessert every now and then.

Worst: strawberry short cake (314 calories). Best: strawberries and whipped yoghurt (30 calories).

Soft drinks

Sweet sodas are unhealthy, because they have no nutritive value and on top of that most sodas are made of high fructose sugar corn syrup. You’re better off with a beverage that has the health and taste factor, both. And what better beverage than a tall glass of sparkling water along with a dash of lemonade to keep the scorching heat waves at bay.

Worst: fizzy soda with lemonade (150 calories). Best: sparkling water with a dash of lemonade, salt and pepper (8 calories).

Read the original article here


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