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Whether you are looking to slim down this summer or keep your body in tip-top bikini-wearing shape, you know diet and exercise are important. While it may be hard to avoid patio drinks and high-fat backyard barbeques, there are ways to substitute non-healthy meals for healthy ones. Consider these options when deciding on your summer meal plans to ensure your body stands out this season.

 

Eat early

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Eat most of your calories at breakfast and fewer at dinner to help you drop more weight. A healthy and larger breakfast will help kick start your metabolism for the day, leaving you feeling less hungry and giving you more time to burn off the calories.

 

Fasting

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Eat your last meal earlier in the day and then eat nothing until breakfast the next morning. This way you're eating only when you're active and you are giving your digestive system a good break each day.

 

Small Portions/Timing

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We all know that eating smaller portions help in our weight loss goals. But you should also plan your meals and snacks ahead of time so you aren't tempted to grab snacks from a vending machine. Eating on a schedule will also help you avoid munching on snacks when you aren't truly hungry.

 

Sugar/Water

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Watch for foods that are labelled low fat or reduced fat because it simply means the fat in the product is likely replaced with sugar to improve the taste. And stay away from soft drinks since just one can of soda contains between 10 to 12 teaspoons of sugar and about 150 calories. Try switching to water with lemon or carbonated water with a little bit of juice added. And remember that thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger so if you drink lots of water each day you will likely avoid consuming extra calories.

 

Sleep

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Lack of sleep can lead to hunger, overeating and weight gain. Experts suggest to keep your diet on track you must get about eight hours of sleep each night.

 

Treats

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You can still enjoy a treat every now and then but the key is to make it a small serving that is consumed with a low calorie snack. Try adding strawberries to your ice cream or eating carrot sticks with your small bowl of chips. If you do your own baking it's easy to make your favourite treat less indulgent by cutting back on the sugar or other high-calorie ingredients.

 

Fresh Fruits and Veggies

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At least with fresh fruits and veggies you don't have to watch your portion size or count your calories. The high water and fibre content in these foods makes it pretty much impossible to overeat. So you'll be left feeling full and healthy before you even get close to your calorie intake.

 

Pay attention

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Don't let your mind wander while you are eating because that can easily lead to overeating. Pay attention and watch what you're eating. Don't eat while watching television or driving. And remember to stop eating before you're full – since it takes time for the “I'm Full” signal to reach your brain and tell it that you've had enough.

 

Fibre

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High-fibre foods take longer to digest, which makes they are more filling. Try eating whole fruits and leafy salads and green veggies. Add beans to your meals and don't forget whole-grain foods such as high-fibre cereal, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and air-popped popcorn.

 

Emotional Eating

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It's so easy to turn to food when you are stressed or upset. And this means eating when we aren't really hungry. Try to find other ways to relieve stress such as yoga or taking a warm bath. If you're bored don't reach for food to entertain you. Go for a walk or a bike ride. If you're lonely, call a friend or go shopping. Do anything that will help you forget about eating just for the sake of eating.