4. Potato Chips and Fattening Dips
Crunchy and salty, potato chips are a staple at most barbecues. While they taste great, these fried potato treats are packed with sodium and calories, with little nutritive value. About 15 of Lay’s Classic potato chips contain 160 calories with 10 grams of fat, 170 mg of sodium, and 15 grams of carbs. Pair these with fattening dips made with sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise, and you have done a real number on your cholesterol intake. To satisfy your desire for crunching and dipping, stick to fresh veggie sticks dipped in hummus.
Hanging out in the warm sunshine can make you thirsty. You may be tempted to reach for a refreshing cola. However, regular sodas are high in sugar and caffeine and deliver empty calories that go straight to your waistline. Diet sodas aren’t much better, as some studies show that even zero-calorie soft drinks may be linked to increased belly fat. Quench your thirst with plain water for the best hydration without added calories. Add a squeeze of lemon or bring a pitcher of fruit infused water to the picnic for extra flavor.
Beer tends to be another staple of the neighborhood barbecue. Some studies suggest that drinking beer in moderation can have positive effects on your cholesterol. However, at around 150 calories per can, you can see where the term “beer belly” comes from. Drinking in moderation refers to one alcoholic drink per day for women and two alcoholic beverages per day for men. Of course, drinking excessively can lead not only to obesity but also to liver disease, brain damage, and the risks associated with decreased inhibitions and poor decision-making.