There’s no better motivation than swimsuit season to get your body in gear. Sure, a fabulous pedicure and spray tan can work wonders, but there’s not much you can do to conceal bulges or jiggles once you’re wearing that itsy-bitsy bikini.
The good news is you can still fast track to get your body in peak fat-burning condition. By combining the right foods and beverages and amplifying your workouts, your bod will be in head-turning shape, all summer long. Follow these simple steps to help achieve the sexy summer you!
1. Fiber helps us feel full (so we eat less) and keeps us regular. Aim for 25 to 35 grams per day.
2. Start with a high-fiber breakfast of complex carbohydrates like crispy whole-grain cereal or toasted nine-grain bread.
3. Make your sandwich with whole-grain bread and add fiber-rich veggies.
4. Stock up on nutrient-rich whole grains like brown rice or whole-wheat couscous.
5. Soft-shell tacos using whole grain or corn tortillas have more fiber and less fat than traditional white tortillas.
6. Want hot buns? Substitute burger rolls made with white flour for whole grains.
7. Berry up! Have fresh berries for breakfast, snacks or dessert.
8. Cooking can reduce the amount of fiber in foods, so be sure to have plenty of raw fruits and veggies, too.
9. Consume diet superstars like 1 cup of spinach (40 calories), half a fresh grapefruit (35 calories) or 1 cup of radishes (20 calories) regularly.
10. Beans and legumes are fiber-ific; 1/2 cup of lentils cooked for 20 minutes contains eight whopping grams of fiber.
11. Replace salad croutons with a few chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds. They’re a great source of healthy fats and fiber.
12. Be sure to have protein with all meals and snacks to help burn fat and maintain muscle.
13. Eat fish at least twice a week for protein and valuable omega-3s.
14. Burger crazy? Swap the bun for lettuce and save 150 calories.
15. Talk turkey: A 4-ounce extra-lean turkey burger has 150 calories and 20 less fat grams than ground beef.
16. Greek-style yogurt is creamy and rich (even the fat-free version). It also has more protein than traditional yogurts.
17. Egg whites are the ultimate source of lean protein and have no fat. One large egg white has 17 calories and 4 grams of protein.
18. Edamame is a great source of protein. Keep a few bags in the freezer to thaw and steam anytime.
19. Good hydration is important. Be sure to keep your water bottle with you at all times.
20. Curb your hunger with a glass of water before your meal. Have another glass after your meal if you still feel like eating more.
21. Grapefruit juice ranks “numero uno” in nutrient density. Eight ounces of 100 percent grapefruit juice contains fewer than 100 calories and is loaded with more clock-stopping antioxidants than other commonly consumed fruit juices (choose “Ruby Red” grapefruit juice for a boost of cancer-fighting lycopene).
22. Pour 8 ounces of water into your favorite glass. Now you know your serving size.
23. Wine is fine, but remember that 4 ounces of most wines contain 100 calories. Pour 4 ounces of water into your favorite wine glass and make a note of the level— you’ll never have to measure again.
24. Remember that foods high in water content promote satiety; most fruits and vegetables are 80 percent to 95 percent water!
25. Choose fresh fruit over dried fruit. It contains more water and more volume so it’s more filling.
26. Choose wisely, or share from the appetizer menu.
27. Remember portion sizes are more often “supersized” so plan to eat half and take the rest home.
28. Say adios to a double cheeseburger. Summer is the perfect time to change to a fresh food diet while a bounty of produce is in season and affordable.
29. Share a favorite entrée with your friends instead of ordering one for yourself.
30. Baked, broiled, grilled or poached usually means less or no added fat. Pass on the fried or sautéed menu choices.
31. Call the shots when dining out. Ask for sauces on the side, grilled instead of fried, etc.
32. Ask your waiter to take away the breadbasket! Instead, have a glass of water before your meal.
33. Order any dressing or sauce on the side— remember to drizzle not drench!
34. If you’re at a buffet, choose the smaller size plate and fill most of it with vegetables.
35. Skip dessert…or, if you must— share ONE. Just a bite or two can satisfy a sweet tooth with a few calories.
36. Don’t eat after 7 p.m.
37. Clean out the kitchen cupboards often to get rid of temptations like chips and cookies.
38. Eat with chopsticks— it forces you to take small bites and eat slowly.
39. Plan ahead. It’s easy to grab the wrong food or skip a workout with our hectic schedules.
40. Schedule your meals and stick with it. Skipping meals interferes with weight loss because it causes your body to kick into starvation mode to preserve calories.
41. Count calories. You have to burn off more than you’re taking in if you want to lose weight.
42. Journal it. Studies show that people who keep food journals lose twice as much weight than those who don’t.
43. Avoid second helpings; get used to having one serving.
44. If you enjoy grilling, try wrapping raw asparagus spears in a thin slice of lean turkey breast and grill for 2 to 3 minutes or until the asparagus is just done.
45. Pay attention to your body’s satiety cues. It’s easy to overeat when you’re focused on something else.
46. Snacks are just as important as your meals. To elevate your metabolism, you must eat regularly.
47. Keep a supply of unsweetened frozen fruit on hand. Add a little yogurt to create healthy, frosty smoothies.
48. Freeze your favorite finger fruits. They take longer to eat and provide a sweet treat when a craving hits.
49. Toss the yolks and fill your deviled eggs with hummus instead for a low-fat, cholesterol-free alternative.
50. Go nuts! A few almonds and an apple make a quick and portable snack choice.
Cheryl Forberg, RD is a professional chef and the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” fitness reality show. She is the founder of Napa Valley Table, a healthy dining program in Napa, California. For more tips and recipes, visit her website at www.cherylforberg.com.