Fitness & Health

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Smart menu choices that can keep your weight down

LET’S FACE IT: the only effort students put toward exercise after a long day of torturous three-hour summer classes is the walk from the classroom to a patio. After all, summer is best spent relaxing with some friends while enjoying a burger or two. Patios are a safe haven from the stress of work or exams, yet with so many choices on the menu, it might get a bit tricky to keep those pounds off for September.

Luckily, there are smart ways to enjoy patio season while keeping your hot body and maintaining a healthy diet. Learn the tricks to staying slim by following these steps and you won’t have to worry about post-summer, packed-on pounds.

Pay “extra” attention

Salmon with steamed veggies on the side may sound healthy, but the extra butter glaze on top amounts to calories you can do without. Pay attention to the description of your meal before ordering. Substitute the glaze or toppings for fresh lemon juice to maintain the taste and that summer sizzle in your meal.

It also pays off to make adjustments to menu items by special ordering your food. Whole wheat, dressing on the side, no cheese, and less mayo are a few ways you can control your calorie count.

Beware of fried foods

Having a burger and fries once in a while is all right, but dishes labeled deep-fried, breaded, battered, or pan-fried are high in saturated fats and sodium. Opt for healthier menu items that are baked or grilled instead—trust me, they will taste just as delicious. Have you ever had baked pita bread with bruschetta as an appetizer? It will take care of that carb craving and save you from having to eat any grease.

More water, less salt

Water is crucial in keeping hydrated amidst the summer heat, and you should be consuming between six to eight glasses of it on a daily basis. Stay away from sodas that are high in sugar and calories and stick to good ol’ H2O. The calorie-free drink can be spiced up with a slice of lemon or lime to create a refreshing addition to any meal.

Although salty food may encourage you to drink more water, reducing your salt intake can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure and quick weight gain. Why take the risk?

It is easier to indulge in fatty foods on hot summer days than it is to uphold a healthy diet, but with these small meal substitutions you can maintain that balance all year long. Remember, making simple and smart decisions can boost your metabolism and keep you relaxed and cool this summer break.