Healthy substitutes for your favorite summer foods

Jul 15, 2008 at 2:39 p.m. ET

Looking fabulous in that bikini can be tough when you're surrounded by summer foods like hot dogs, burgers, and ice cream. But, by substituting healthier foods that taste just as delicious, you can keep your calories (and weight) down and still satisfy that summer food craving.

Woman Grilling Healthy Burgers

Healthier Hot Dogs

Hot dogs can contain up to 460 calories and 19 grams of fat, even before you add toppings!

Healthier options are grilled turkey or tofu dogs topped with ketchup, mustard, or relish (condiments that don't pack a lot of calories), nestled in a whole grain bun. Healthier hot dogs have gotten tastier and once you grill them, you won't even be able to taste the difference. Turkey dogs have about 70 calories and 5 grams of fat and tofu dogs contain 45 calories and 1 gram of fat.

Healthier burgers

Getting through summer without a flame-grilled burger topped with melted cheese can be near impossible. However, cheeseburgers that are not made with lean beef (as most aren't) will have about 510 calories and 26 grams of fat. The cheese alone adds about 100 calories and 6 grams of fat.

Instead, make your burgers with super lean ground beef or turkey (try this tasty Turkey Mushroom Burger). Mix in minced fresh herbs, spices, garlic, salsa, and even dried cherries or blueberries for a superbly flavored patty. Top your burger with one slice of reduced-fat sliced cheese or thin slices of goat cheese and sandwich it in a whole grain bun.

Super lean beef or turkey patties have about 150 calories and eight grams of fat. You can also opt for 99 percent lean ground turkey breast, which has 120 calories and one gram of fat, if you are really watching your fat and calorie intake.

Healthier Fried Chicken

A serving of deep fried, battered chicken has 440 calories and 27 grams of fat.

If you can make it at home, bake breaded chicken and save yourself the grease and calories (try this Fearless Fried Chicken menu). Other healthy options are grilled or broiled chicken breast, which are just as moist and tasty and can be deliciously served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and a light dressing.

Healthier Potato Chips

One individual size bag of regular potato chips contains 230 calories and 15 grams of fat.

For a crunchy substitute, try soy crisps or baked pita chips, which have about 70 calories and 1.5 grams of fat per serving.

Healthier Potato Salad

Just one cup of mayonnaise-based potato salad has 360 calories and 21 grams of fat. Just for a side dish!

Grilled vegetables or a green salad with a light dressing will save you almost 90 percent of the fat and calories. As a guide, just remember if a salad has mayonnaise, it will be full of fat.

For a delectable change from ordinary potato salad, give this Grilled Sweet Potato and Mango Salad at your next cook-out!

Healthier cocktails

Frozen margaritas pack about 583 calories and 1.2 grams of fat in that delicious sweet cocktail glass.

Instead of drinking a quarter of your day's worth of calories, opt for a refreshing wine spritzer or light beer, which only have about 100 calories and almost no fat.

Healthier Coffee Drinks

Who can resist a perfectly blended, cool and creamy frappucino? Well, you might, considering these chilly coffee drinks contain 380 calories and 15 grams of fat (for a grande size).

The healthier option is an iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda or a sugar-free shot of your favorite flavor. An iced coffee drink only contains 90 calories and no fat. And if you really need that sugary blended coffee drink, order the smallest size and ask for no whipped cream.

Healthier alternative to cotton candy

Just one ounce of airy sweet cotton candy has 110 calories. Although it contains no fat, it is packed with sugar.

For a treat that is just as sweet, chew on cotton candy flavored bubble gum. It only has about 25 calories and also has no fat. You can also opt for other sweet treats that have some nutritional value. Dark chocolate is always a good choice. Look for these healthier chocolates at a store near you.

There is no healthy funnel cake

There is nothing better than a funnel cake at a carnival or on the boardwalk, but that delicious fried dough packs a whopping 760 calories and 44 grams of fat.

Forgo the funnel cake and substitute a granola bar for something that is just as crunchy and sweet and only has 90 calories and 2 grams of fat. And if you simply can't pass up the funnel cake, split it with a few people.

Healthier Frozen Treats

A single serving of premium vanilla ice cream on a cone has about 270 calories and 18 grams of fat.

You can opt for a low-fat ice cream or you can give sorbet, frozen yogurt, or frozen fruit bars a try. They are just as cool and refreshing and will save you about half the fat and calories of regular ice cream. You can even make your own sweet summer sorbet.

By sinking your teeth into these healthy alternatives to high-calorie, high-fat, or high-sugar foods, you can keep that bikini body and enjoy what you eat.