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'Eat This, Not That': 4 worst poolside snacks

When you're at the pool, between the potato-chip grazing and the greasy concession-stand entrees, you can easily take in a day’s worth of calories over the course of a few hours. Try these 4 easy poolside food swaps.
/ Source: Mens Health

You burn calories in the pool — that much is true. But there’s a good chance you’re not burning as many as you think. A 185-pound person swimming leisurely will tread through about 250 calories for every half hour in the water. And let’s be honest, between the time you spend stretched out on the lounge chair and the time you spend floating on the pool raft, you probably don’t get in much more than a half hour of solid swimming.

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Now think about the food you eat at the pool. Between the potato-chip grazing and the greasy concession-stand entrees, you can easily take in a day’s worth of calories over the course of a few hours. Or you can be smart about what you eat. Get in the habit of making smart food swaps and you’ll end up with a swimsuit body more like Michael Phelps than Moby Dick. 

With the four swaps here, you’ll cut an astonishing 1,005 calories from your day’s caloric toll. If you tried to burn that many calories swimming, you’d have to spend an additional 2 hours in the pool! Trust us — this is easier.

BONUS TIP: If you think you’re making smart nutritional decisions, yet you can’t seem to lose weight, then you might be the victim of nutritional misguidance. Learn the truth about the 15 Biggest Nutrition Myths and you’ll finally be on the path to the body you want.


Chicken strips (5 pieces with honey mustard)

730 calories

40 g fat (6 g saturated)

1,685 mg sodium

CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 12 Little Debbie Mini Frosted Donuts

Strips are the enemy of abs. In fact, anything served from a basket is probably going to soften you up around the middle. While you’re swimming in the pool, these strips are back in the concession stand floating around in a puddle of hot oil. That’s why this basket packs in 40 grams of fat. Stick to a regular-size hot dog and you’re much safer. You can actually eat two dogs and still save nearly 100 calories over the chicken strips. Want more examples of chicken run amok? Don’t miss our slideshow of The Worst Chicken Dishes in America.

Eat This Instead!

Hot dog with relish, ketchup, and mustard

320 calories

18.5 g fat (7 g saturated)

990 mg sodium

SAVINGS: 410 calories!


French fries with ketchup (1 basket)

600 calories

32 g fat (10 g saturated)

890 mg sodium

CALORIE EQUIVALENT: 7 bowls of Post Honeycomb cereal!

French fries are the biggest subversive attack the French have ever launched against the US. The typical basket you get at the concession stand has more calories than a McDonald’s Big Mac, and you can double that if you make them cheese fries. Opt for the soft pretzel instead and you’re looking at a huge savings of calories and fat. Word of warning: Some places will try to paint their pretzels with butter, which can add an extra 40 or 50 calories. If you suspect a butter bath, ask the concession workers to make yours dry.

Eat This Instead!

Soft Pretzel with mustard

290 calories

0 g fat

850 mg sodium

SAVINGS: 310 calories!


Potato Chips and French Onion Dip (12 chips and 2 tbsp dip)

280 calories

22 g fat (4 g saturated)

380 mg sodium

FAT EQUIVALENT: Nearly 5 Twinkies!

With chips and dip, you want to think “skinny dipping.” Eating French onion dip is more like inflating an inner tube around your midsection. The French onion recipe consists of little more than a seasoned blend of sour cream and mayonnaise. By switching to salsa, you trade out cheap fats for antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Two tablespoons of French onion carries as many as 120 calories. Two tablespoons of salsa has about 10. Plus with salsa, you have the opportunity to pull in fiber-rich, whole grain tortilla chips, which can bolster your snack with a few grams of stomach-filling fiber.

Eat This Instead!

Tortilla Chips and Salsa (9 tortilla chips and 2 tbsp salsa)

130 calories

3 g fat (.5 g saturated)

380 mg sodium

SAVINGS: 150 calories!


Ice cream sundae (1 cup vanilla soft serve with 2 tbsp chocolate syrup)

515 calories

25 g fat (14.5 g saturated)

49 g sugars


Are you going to eat two ice cream sandwiches in one sitting? Probably not. But you could. Or better yet, you could spread your indulgences out over the course of the day. You’ll not only cut down on fat, sugar, and calories, but you’ll also earn one extra moment of sweet-tooth satisfaction. The truth is, dessert doesn’t have to make you fat. The occasional treat can actually keep you from making bad decisions later in the day, but not when you’re eating one of The 15 Worst Desserts in America.

Eat This Instead!

Two Ice Cream Sandwiches!

380 calories

14 g fat (7 g saturated)

30 g sugars

SAVINGS: 135 calories!

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