Healthy Snacks at the Amusement Park
Every summer, families look forward to hitting the amusement park, but 400 Calorie Fix author Liz Vaccariello has another name for them. "We should call them temptation parks," she says, referring to the dizzying array of snacks and goodies offered. "But if you go in with the idea that you want to splurge sensibly, that’s what the 400 Calorie Fix is all about - you can have the stuff you want to eat and not ruin your waist line."
Liz busts the myth that the soft pretzel is a healthy choice. "It is low in fat," she says, "but this pretzel can run you 500-800 calories and it's all carbohydrates; it’s the carb equivalent to half a loaf of bread!" Liz recommends splitting a pretzel with a friend or choosing a smaller size pretzel, and loading it up with mustard instead of cheese sauce.
"This is a perfect meal at the amusement park," Liz states about the popular treat on a stick. "A corn dog is only 380 calories." However, for those concerned about their sodium levels, Liz warns that you're going to get about 1100 milligrams of sodium in a corn dog, which is about half of what you should get in the entire day.
If it's meal time and you want meat, Liz suggests stopping by the meat skewer or kabob stand. "The chicken kabob is only 150 calories, and the beef isn't much worse - it’s only 200 calories."
Liz explains what she calls the snow cone shocker: "This little baby is going to set you back 540 calories. It’s crushed ice with really sugar-laden syrup on top." To make a slightly healthier version, Liz recommends asking for a snow cone with less syrup on it or even a sugar-free snow cone if available. Or you could do what she does: "I eat it very slowly and the syrup melts to the bottom of the cone. Instead of drinking the syrup, I just toss the paper thing and I’ve saved myself a couple hundred calories!"
The news on a funnel cake should not come as a surprise, Liz says. "It's deep fried dough and it’s covered in sugar - 760 calories," she points out. "That’s about a Quarter Pounder and fries." Liz suggests sharing one with a friend, or compensating by eating healthily for the rest of the day. "If this is the treat that you want, [know that] it's two of your 400 calorie meals."
Although it has that sugar coating, candy apples are actually one of the best choices, according to Liz. "It's 300 calories, and inside you’ve got a healthy apple which is about 4 grams of fiber. That’s going to keep you fuller longer and it's going to take you a little longer to eat, between biting it and picking it out of your teeth!" While candy apples are a good choice, Liz advises to pass up on the caramel apple because it will cost you an additional 150 calories.
Though you're not going to get any health benefits out of cotton candy, Liz puts a good spin on the sugary treat. "It's only 150 calories," she says. "But just brush your teeth after!"
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