Watching Your Weight?

Sep 11, 2007 | Nutrition, September 2007

The best (and worst) foods you can eat

By Fran Werner

Summertime and the livin’ is easy … and even though it’s September and school is starting again, the weather is still pretty warm out, so parties and barbecues are abundant. It’s often easier to make better food choices in the late summer months when fresh fruits and vegetables are at their peak. To keep your cool and cut your time in the kitchen, start with prepared produce, such as cut-up fruit and pre-washed greens. Prepared foods may cost a bit more, but you’re more likely to use them, and they save time in the kitchen.

Here are some of the best September-friendly foods
to help you lose weight:

Chilled soups, such as gazpacho or cucumber-dill.
These soups contain a lot of cut-up vegetables and are very filling without containing too many calories or too much fat. They’re a great way to start a meal, or they can be a meal in themselves. Many studies have shown that people who start their meal with a low-cal soup eat fewer calories than those who don’t. Melons. What’s more refreshing than a cold slice of watermelon on a hot day? And since melons are primarily water, it’s an easy way to satisfy your thirst and your sweet tooth for very few calories.

Grilled veggies.
They’re great as kabobs for a barbecue, to stuff in a pita for a lunch, to top pasta or stuff frittatas.

Get some pre-washed greens and top with fresh fruits and veggies for a meal in minutes. Be careful with the salad dressings and other toppings, though.

Low- and no-calorie beverages.
Try an iced skim latte or a white wine spritzer as a change from heavier drinks. Make a root beer float from sugar-free root beer and low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. Try a sugar-free (and virtually calorie-free) shaved ice.

There are some summer foods, however, that can sabotage your diet. They seem light, but have a lot of calories and fat:

Potato salad and other mayonnaise-based salads.
While these start with vegetables, the added mayo makes them a high-fat food choice. You can enjoy these, but try to limit your quantities and limit how often you indulge.

Festive drinks, such as margaritas.
A frozen margarita can easily have 400 or more calories. Choose wine or beer instead, to save hundreds of calories.

Burgers, hot dogs and brats.
What would baseball be without them? But they can cost you 200-600 calories apiece. Try turkey or chicken alternatives, such as turkey sausage or turkey burgers. Or fill up on the salad and fruit and limit how many burgers you have.

Frothy iced drinks, such as “frappachinos.”
A Venti iced orange mocha frappachino has over 500 calories. Choose a lower-calorie alternative, such as the iced skim latte, which has only 160 calories.

Ice cream and smoothies.
Ice cream can contain up to 600 calories per cup. Choose a lower-fat version, or have a smaller quantity. Be careful of smoothies, too. While they seem very healthy, the calories can add up. Remember this September, it’s always best to focus on the family, friends and fun — not the food.

Fran Werner is a certified lifestyle and weight management consultant, a certified personal trainer, and a certified lifestyle coach, specializing in weight management. She has been the owner/director of Lifestyle Consulting since 1981, and she has maintained an office in Austin, Texas, since 1993. Werner has helped thousands of individuals achieve and maintain healthy weights and healthy lifestyles. You can contact her at (512) 794-3848 or by e-mail at Visit her online at

South Texas Fitness & Health