Worst Waist-Offending Summertime Treats

From hot dogs on the grill to s’mores on the campfire, your summertime diet might be full of high fat, calorie, and starchy carbohydrate temptations that are getting in the way of your ideal swimsuit beach body.

Here are summer’s biggest calorie culprits…


A lemonade stand is hard to pass up—especially if it’s manned by some truly adorable rugrats. Too bad this deceiving beverage is more sugar than anything else.

Even the “homemade” or “fresh squeezed” versions of lemonade tend to feature as much refined sugar as a regular 16-ounce soda…and that’s about 250 calories per glass.

Cold Patio Beers

Sometimes, nothing quite hits the spot after a long day of work—or golf—compared to a tall cold brew on the patio. However, keep in mind that each 16-ounce bottle of average beer equals roughly 200-calories.

Figuring that just one beer probably won’t hit the spot, and you’re suddenly slugging down 2 or 3 along with 600 or more calories.

Funnel Cake

A trip to your favorite amusement park of summertime carnival can hardly be complete with a funnel cake (and the inevitable nauseating spin on the tilt-a-whirl). However, this densely deep-fried, sugar-bomb of a treat adds roughly an extra 700-calories to your fun-filled day.

Plus, a small 8-ounce funnel cake won’t fill you up so you’re bound to satisfy your sweet tooth with an ice cream sandwich or cotton candy before you hit the roller coasters.

Ice Cream

You scream, I scream, we all might scream for ice cream, but that hardly means that this icy treat should be anymore than an occasional decadence on hot summer evenings, particularly when you consider a small cup of soft-serve equals almost 400-calories and 20-grams of fat.

If you prefer a hot fudge sundae or blizzard, suddenly your calories are up in the thousands and your frat content is around 40-grams per treat—ouch!

Grilled Jumbo Dogs

It’s difficult to resist the sizzling, smoky smell of a hot dog on the grill. However, most grillers opt for the super-sized, jumbo dogs, which the American Dietetic Association, points out can weigh in at about 800-calories per jumbo dog—or more precisely, a half-pound of processed, high sodium, high fat meat.

And that doesn’t even figure in the toppings (i.e., fried onions, bacon, cheese, and mayo) empty carbohydrates in that starchy, white hot dog bun!

Appetizers After the Game

I play ultimate Frisbee with a recreational league in the summer, and I know the local pubs try to coax in league business with tempting promises of “free apps for teams!”

It’s too bad that after all of that great exercise, the apps featured include deep fried onion rings or jalapeño poppers (about 500-calories per basket), nachos (about 350-calories per small serving), and pizza (about 300-calories per slice).

Frozen Cocktails

Jam-packed full of ice along with tons of sugar (i.e., in cocktail syrups, soda mixers, and garnishes) even frozen mocktails on the patio with the girls are weight loss saboteurs. Add in a shot of liquor (rum, vodka, gin, or tequila) and you’re slurping back a minimum of 250-calories per fancy drink and a maximum of 800-calories per drink.

Don’t let that fancy umbrella put you in a “devil may care state of mind” or else suddenly one or two margaritas, Bellini’s, or daiquiris will turn into 3 or 4, leaving you overweight with calories and dangerously dehydrated.

Coleslaw, Macaroni, and Potato Salad

Nothing goes as great with barbeque fare as a creamy macaroni, potato, or coleslaw side salad. However, the creamy taste comes from mayo taking a veggie based salad that’s otherwise healthy (i.e., coleslaw) to high saturated fat territory.  However, you can save on calories and still enjoy your salad by using a fat-reduced mayo, plain low-fat yogurt, or oil and vinegar combination full of heart-healthy fats.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.