It’s easy to slip into a season of endless refreshing cocktails and sizzling barbecue food when the sun comes out.
But, the UK’s annual heatwave habits could be having a detrimental effect on our health as our food and drink contains hundreds of hidden calories per serving. However, this doesn’t mean your summer fun should stop. We’ve explored some of the simple food and drink swaps you could be making for a healthier hot season.
By swapping out sugary and fatty ingredients for healthier alternatives, you can make a huge difference, and relax in the sun without sacrificing your favourite treats. We’ve put together some simple cocktail and BBQ swaps to help you make choices that are better for your waistline and your health this summer.
Make some simple BBQ swaps this summer
Once barbecue season arrives, it’s easy to overlook your calorie limit when you’re working your way through a mound of chargrilled food. So, we’ve put together a platter of tasty alternatives that will keep you from busting your belt this summer.
Instead of cooking a packet of beef burgers on the barbie, consider choosing turkey, and reduce your fat and calorie intake by over half. Each turkey burger typically contains fewer than 180 calories, so there’s no need for second thoughts when you fancy going back for more.
Making small adjustments to other BBQ classics can also make all the difference for your health. Swapping out a hot dog for a veggie dog goes a long way to reducing your fat intake, with each portion of the non-meat replacement offering around 26.6g less fat than the pork alternative, while also cutting your calorie intake by half.
Similarly, exchanging your meaty kebab for a clean seafood and pineapple skewer is a simple way of reducing your number of calories. Each portion comes in almost 150 calories fewer than the traditional chicken variation and contains under half the sugar content.
While vegetarian options are often healthier than meatier dishes, you may be surprised to discover the calorie count of your favourite meat-free foods. A single halloumi burger will set you back almost 500 calories per serving, and you can easily clock over 1,000 calories if you partner with a portion of pasta salad and coleslaw.
However, by making a few simple switches, you can eat cleaner while still satisfying your growling stomach. Choosing a bean burger instead of the cheesy alternative will cut your fat intake back something like 10 times over, while coming in 250 calories fewer, easing your mind with each bite.
And there’s no need to stop stacking your plate with sides, either. By swapping in low-fat ingredients during the preparation stage, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a healthy portion of creamy pasta salad or coleslaw. By making smarter choices, you can turn your 1,000-calorie meal into a lean 600, with space for seconds.
Consider changing your holiday cocktail habits
Alcoholic beverages are often packed with hidden sugars. Pre-mixed syrups and fruit juices can skyrocket the calorific value of each serving well into the hundreds.
Holiday favourite Pina colada is the most culpable beverage. Each serving of the creamy cocktail clocks 314 calories. While a glass or two might seem harmless on a hot day, you could quickly drink through your calorie allowance for the day in a single sitting and exceed your daily sugar limit. Consider, instead, ordering a gin fizz from the bar for a comparably low 155 calorie serving and laze by the pool almost guilt-free.
Another clever switch is to swap out your sugary Long Island iced tea for a simple Cuba Libre. By choosing the simple rum and cola combo, not only are you halving your sugar intake per serving, but each glass can save you over 100 calories while still satisfying your sweet tooth. Even better, consider opting for diet cola for an even greater sugar cut this summer.
Rounding off the top-three most calorific cocktails is the fruity pornstar martini, with just one glass responsible for over half your daily sugar allowance. By picking a margarita, instead, you could cut your sugar intake to just about nothing while reducing the calorific value to under 150 calories per serving, a simple way to keep topped up in the sun without worrying about your waistline.