Patio Season Nutrition: High Calorie Drinks and Appetizers and Healthy Options – 80 Twenty Nutrition

Patio Season Nutrition: High Calorie Drinks and Appetizers and Healthy Options

Oh, sweet patio season. The time of year when everyone is smiling, saying hello, and enjoying pitchers of beer, sangria and high calorie snacks like nachos, wings, etc. The weather is wonderful for such a short time in Canada and we’re great at making those summer months count.

Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

 

I was thrilled to be on Marilyn Denis last week talking about patio season nutrition pitfalls and how to make healthier choices all summer long.

Watch the Patio Season Pitfalls and Solutions on Marilyn here.

Here are the tips I shared with viewers about how to save on calories when ordering alcohol and appetizers on patios this summer.

Patio Season Nutrition and Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

Common Patio Season Pitfalls (and tips to avoid them):

There are 3 patio season nutrition pitfalls you want to watch out for: calorie-loaded cocktails, enormous appetizers and health hoaxes.

Patio Season Pitfall #1:

Calorie-Loaded Cocktails

Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

Summer patio drinks tend to be loaded with empty calories. Here are some of the worst choices on the menu and how to lighten them up.

Frozen Margarita
500 calories
That’s 1 hour of running!

Strawberry Daiquiri
700 calories
That’s 3 hours of brisk walking!

Pitfall: Alcohol gets your guard down. Despite best intentions to eat well, the more you drink, the more you’ll let go and take in major calories.

Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

The Solution – Skinny Cocktails:

– Ask the server/bartender to make your fave cocktail “skinny” by omitting the sugar. (Try my Skinny Margarita for an easy recipe for your patio/balcony at home).
– Get a rum and Diet Coke/Pepsi or vodka soda and ask for extra lemon and lime wedges for flavour
– Ask for a skinny raspberry mojito: just rum, soda water, mint, lime and raspberries for natural sweetness and flavour.
– Between cocktails, slow down and sip on sparkling water with lemon or unsweetened iced tea.

Patio Season Pitfall #2:

Enormous Appetizers

Enormous Appetizers - Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

Appetizers on popular patios can ring in at up to 3000 calories. Share with even 6 friends and have a few drinks and you could be taking in 1000 calories without even knowing it!

For example, at one popular patio: 2600 calories for chorizo nachos with 175 grams of fat, over 4000 mg of sodium!

For poutine, 1200 calories, 60 grams of fat, over 3000 grams of sodium

Pitfall: sodium in appetizers makes you thirsty so you drink your cocktail or beer even faster than you meant to. You know what that means – even more calories!

The Solution – Best Patio Menu Picks

Best bets for healthier patio season nutrition options to save hundreds (or thousands) of calories:
– edamame
– chicken skewers
– fresh rolls
– grilled shrimp
– grilled calamari
–> Get a garden or Greek salad with dressing on the side and eat that first.

Patio Season Pitfall #3:

Health Hoaxes

Enormous Appetizers - Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

Don’t be fooled by menu items that seem healthy but aren’t!
–          People think dips like bean dip and spinach dip are healthy but they can be loaded with fat and sodium.
–          Even the hummus can be loaded up with oil and offer little in terms of protein.
–          Watch out for sweet potato fries. The deep frying undoes any health benefits from the vitamin A.
–         What about tapas? The plates are smaller and the idea is to try and taste different things Just make sure you fill up your plate once rather than several times so you have a visual of how much you’re eating. Taking multiple servings can really let your guard down because it’s hard to tell how much you’ve had.

The Solution – Scope Out the Menu

–          Look at the menu in advance and decide what you want to order. That can help you plan healthier options and sometimes you can even look up the calorie info.
–          If all else fails, order a salad with a protein source and dressing on the side to fill up. Then you can try a few bites of any share plates.

 

I hope these patio season nutrition tips help you be healthy and happy all summer long. Enjoy your time on the patio!

Patio Food Swaps to Save You from Calorie Overload - Christy Brissette media dietitian Toronto on Marilyn Denis - 80 Twenty Nutrition

XO Christy

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  1. Great work, Christy! I like how you explained that seemingly healthy dips such as hummus and spinach dip at restaurants can be loaded with extra fat and oil. Excellent dining out tips!

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