Healthy Eating

Summer Party Food: What to Watch Out For

sandWhat’s the secret to eating healthy Summer party food? Obviously, the potato chips and brownies are going to set you back a few belt notches. But seemingly healthy foods can spoil your body shaping goals, too, if you aren’t careful! Here are five of the sneakiest party offenders:

Store-Bought Guacamole & Salsa

Guacamole and salsa seem healthy—after all, they’re full of veggies. But these “fresh” dips aren’t always so fresh. Journalist Melanie Warner discovered that her tub of guacamole stayed eerily preserved at the back of her fridge for months, despite the “fresh” sticker. Why? The store-bought guac contained ascorbic acid, citric acid and xanthan gum, among other preservatives. Premade salsa usually contains these additives too.

Because added chemicals hinder the body’s ability to break down food and absorb its nutrients, preservatives can cause weight gain. Make homemade dips instead, and you’ll know they are chock-full of fresh ingredients and not too much salt.


Granted, it’s better than a soda. But juices such as lemonade often have a lot of sugar added and fiber removed. For that reason, even 100% fruit juice is a less weight-friendly option than eating whole fruit, studies have shown. If you’re dying for a glass of lemonade, make your own from scratch so you can keep it pulpy and reduce the amount of sugar added. Try sparkling ginger lemonade, which includes anti-inflammatory ginger and can be sweetened with just a little honey (an antioxidant).

Also check out: Are you consuming more sugar than you realize?


A sandwich may be healthier than a fast-food burger and fries, but that doesn’t mean your waistline is safe. At 57 calories per tablespoon of mayo (which is 76% fat), sandwiches are sneaky ways to consume more calories than you realize. Add processed lunch meat (weird preservatives) and bread made with white flour (lacking fiber to fill you up), and you have a meal that even a slice of tomato and lettuce can’t save.

If you’re in charge of the sandwich tray, make sandwiches with lots of fresh veggies, freshly carved meat (or no meat), and mustard or a drizzle of balsamic. Whole wheat bread is a healthy choice, too. If you’re at a place like Subway, however, you’re better off breadless (their dough is shipped in; see “added chemicals” above).

Prepared Salads

Just like sandwiches, the typical prepared salad is a mayonnaise swimming pool. A cup of macaroni or pasta salad can run you more than 350 calories. Potato, tuna and chicken salads are often drowning in creamy, high-fat calories, too. An overstuffed tuna sandwich? Up to 700 calories and 40 grams of fat! Canned ingredients and refined white pasta don’t justify the indulgence, and store prepared salads are likely to contain preservatives. The best way to get a healthy deli salad? Make it at home with fresh ingredients—and resist the urge to whip in a whole jar of mayo.


Thirsty? Pay attention to that. Summer heat and loads of sodium in our party foods can make us dehydrated, which is a problem if we reach for anything other than water (i.e., juice and soft drinks). To avoid temptation, go easy on prepared and packaged foods, which tend to have high salt content.

And guzzle water like crazy: not only can dehydration steer us to drink caloric beverages, but lack of water itself is directly linked to weight gain and loads of ailments.

Remember: not drinking enough water is one of the TOP REASONS people aren’t achieving weight loss and fitness results. Stay hydrated this summer!

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Chelsea Ratcliff

Chelsea Ratcliff

Writer and expert

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