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Top 10 Cookout Foods that Sabotage Your Diet – And What to Eat Instead

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and that means a long weekend full of friends, family and food. With cookout season upon us after that, the team here at your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment thought it might be a good time to reflect upon which common picnic and barbecue foods we should all try to avoid if we want to see real results from our home exercise regimens.

1) Hamburger or bratwurst. With up to 25 grams of fat each, a standard hamburger patty or bratwurst is one of your diet’s worst enemies. A veggie burger would be your healthiest choice, but if you’re craving real meat, opt for leaner turkey patties or dogs instead.

2) T-bone steak or ribs. Any meat that’s marbled with visible fat is going to wreak havoc on your arteries. Instead, choose fresh fish like salmon or shrimp, or veg out by grilling up some juicy Portobello mushrooms.

3) Fried chicken. This one’s a no-brainer, but that fatty breading isn’t doing your figure any favors. Grill your chicken breast instead, and marinate with chipotle seasoning or a light vinaigrette.

4) Buttered white bun. Skip the butter, and go for whole wheat if it’s available. And PS – you don’t actually need a bun at all. For an ultra-health-conscious choice, wrap your hotdog in a lettuce leaf. That refreshing crunch comes in a 5-calorie, 0-fat package.

5) Fatty sandwich toppings. Trade the sharp cheddar and greasy coleslaw for lettuce, tomato and onion – as usual, fresh veggies are your most valuable fitness accessory. Then, finish it off with barbecue sauce instead of ketchup or mustard.

6) Potato salad. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything mayo-based. Obviously, leafy green salad is your best option, with your own health-conscious dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Not a fan of greens? Try a zesty black bean and corn side dish.

7) Potato chips. Pretzels will satisfy your salt craving at a quarter of the fat content. For dipping, opt for hummus, guacamole or salsa over traditional ranch.

8 ) Lemonade. The artificial sweeteners that make kids love lemonade stands also work behind the scenes to make you pack on the pounds. If the healthier choice of sweet tea just isn’t your thing, it’s best to stick with plain old water, freshened with a lemon wedge or cucumber slice.

9) Beer. There’s nothing like a cold one on a hot summer day, but we hate to break it to you: beer is not the best of fitness accessories. If you can’t stomach the thought of a light brew, go for dry wine like chardonnay or white zin, or a low-cal mixed drink like a gin and tonic or vodka soda.

10) Rich desserts (blueberry pie, chocolate brownies, etc). With plenty of natural sugars and so many different kinds in season for the summer, fresh fruit makes the healthiest dessert hands-down. Try fresh fruit kebobs or a colorful fruit salad to satisfy all flavor palettes.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive! If you want your home exercise efforts to pay off, you’ll need to supplement them with a healthy and nutritious diet. For more tips on how to stick to your fitness guns during summer gatherings, make sure you check back frequently here on the Smooth Fitness blog. Whether you’re in the market for new home fitness equipment or just looking for tips on how to stay healthy, the Smooth Fitness team looks forward to welcoming you to the family!

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