Summer is officially here and folks are firing up their grills and icing down the drinks. The warmer weather brings many opportunities to get together with friends and family. With that also comes the opportunity to over indulge. Burgers, beer, bbq chicken, pasta salad and coleslaw are staples to any backyard summer bash. These crowd pleasers, while delicious, are also high in calories. It’s no wonder people often find themselves gaining a few extra pounds over the summer. While the summer months often seem fleeting and short lived, they actually take up one quarter of your year. If you factor in the winter holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, the time we spent “celebrating” and can quickly add up. By no means am I saying that we should not be living our #bestlife but we should sit back and take inventory every once in a while. Summer is a great time to do that. I personally like the idea of keeping a super simple food journal over the summer to track of how often those cookouts occur. By starting small and simple, you can easily see where those extra calories are coming from. Often we don’t realize how many calories we are consuming as we nosh and nibble pool side.

Below is list of foods and estimated calories you can find at any cookout.

Potato Chips: 160 calories per 15 chips

Tortilla chips (baked): 75 calories per 10 chips

Pretzels: 108 calories per 1-ounce serving

Deviled Eggs: 64 calories per ½ egg

Colby Jack Cheese: 100 calories per ounce

Reduced-Fat Mild Cheddar Cheese: 90 calories per ounce

Pepperoni: 10 calories per slice

Crackers: 79 calories per 5 crackers

Guacamole: 91 calories per ¼ cup

Blue Cheese Dressing: 150 calories per 2-tablespoon serving

French Onion Dip: 60 calories per 2-tablespoon serving

Ranch Dip: 25 calories per tablespoon

Salsa: 10 calories per 2-tablespoon serving

Grilled Chicken Breast: 250 calories per 1 breast

Drumstick: 211 calories per drumstick

Hot dog: 155 calories per hot dog

Cheeseburger (with bun): 317 calories per burger

Beef Shish Kabob with Vegetables: 176 calories per kabob

Barbecued Pork Spareribs : 90 calories per rib

Corn: 132 calories per ear

Pasta or macaroni salad: 358 calories per 1 cup

Potato Salad: 357 calories per 1 cup

Butter: 36 calories per 1 pat butter

Mayonnaise: 90 calories per serving

Hamburger-Style Relish: 20 calories per serving

Ketchup: 20 calories per serving

Mustard: 0 calories per serving

Barbecue Sauce: 29 calories per tablespoon

Apple pie: 277 calories per slice

Vanilla Ice Cream: 137 calories per ½ cup

Odds are you probably did some quick math and discovered how many calories you really consumed this past Memorial Day weekend. And that’s not even including drinks.

Don’t worry, that blog is coming up soon.

So what are some easy ways to stay on track without missing out on the party?

Stay hydrated. With water. Alcohol consumption can decrease your resolve towards healthy eating and make it easier to scarf down extra chips and quac. Keep your hands busy with a bottle of water instead.

Don’t use that morning WOD as an excuse to binge later in the day. You WILL take in more calories than you burn. Instead, use that morning WOD as motivation to stay committed to your fitness. Let it serve as a reminder of how strong and resilient you are. If you didn’t NEED that rest during burpees, you don’t NEED that second helping.


If your auntie makes the best shortcake and summer just isn’t complete without it, eat it. Just be ready to compromise. Skip the chips and dip or cheese and crackers and opt for some veggies. Face it, you’re not eating enough vegetables anyway. Added bonus, you’ll score extra points with your mom.

Spend your calories wisely.

Learn to budget your calories like you do with your paycheck. Set a goal for the cookout and fill in the gaps before and after. If you’ve only got 600 calories to spend, do you really want to waste 350 cals on Karen’s potato salad?

Here are my 5 favorite summer salads. I omit any sweeteners like honey or sugar. They are easy to make and keep well in the fridge. New flavors break up the monotony of coleslaw and pasta salad that everyone is bringing to the party. Consider making a big batch for the week and add a lean protein for lunch or a quick dinner. They are versatile and flavorful enough to mix and match with your favorite protein.

Enjoy! Double the recipe. For some reason half of this disappeared when I made it. Weird, huh?   Refreshing side for your skirt steak. Fresh herbs, crunchy pistachios, cool cukes. Yum!   Perfect with grilled chicken or shrimp.  Pop a lamb kabob on a bowl of this!  Hands down favorite.