There are several ways to lose weight to prepare our bodies for summer. But one thing is for sure; total abstinence is not a solution as it may even cause more harm than good. What then are we supposed to follow to get us ready for summer? Obviously, overeating is out of the question. So is drinking too much alcohol. Munching on anything and everything would make things worse. Or even worse if one eats too much then just graze all day. Whatever, a person decides on will be his choice.
It would be quite depressing and dangerous if a person does all this. If so, it’s now the best time to change one’s ways. Of all these unhealthy habits, choose one and then focus on taking that off the list. For instance, on overeating, it’s about time one reduced portion of his regimen. Prepare enough for what the body needs. Ending up with too much is just gluttony. This should be a good start.
A Simple Diet Plan With Meal Suggestions
Summer is the perfect time to start a diet because of the endless variety of vegetables available in the farmer’s market. Vegetable dishes are easy and quick to prepare. At this starting point, one wouldn’t want to spend too much time making diet meals. Fresh crops are tasty and juicy, and it’s easy to carry the practice of eating them way past the summer season. Here’s a simple diet plan people can follow to kick off their summer diet:
Consider These Foods For Breakfast:
- Greek yogurt and a nutrition bar. Supplement this with a nutrition bar and a peach.
- Cereal and fresh fruit. Cereal should, of course, be the whole-grain type, better yet if made from flax or other types of seeds. Use fat-free soy milk or fat-free milk. Then add assorted berries.
- Cook eggs or just egg whites, omelet style in olive oil. Then top the dish with some herbs like parsley, basil or tarragon. Season with a dash of salt. To complete the meal, add some cantaloupe slices and whole-grain bread with goat cheese.
- Whole-grain summer waffles with maple syrup. Have some slices of nectarine to go with the waffles.
Consider These Foods For Lunch:
- If you prefer Japanese, order vegetarian sushi rolls preferably those made with avocados and brown rice. This, of course, will be served with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. You can also add some steamed edamame if available.
- Make a turkey and arugula sandwich. Slice a whole-wheat baguette, spread some horseradish sauce, then stuff with lean smoked turkey, sliced tomatoes, and some baby arugula. Sprinkle with some balsamic vinegar and a dash of sea salt.
- Try a Mexican confetti salad. Finely chop some romaine lettuce and red cabbage. Dice some yellow squash, quarter some grape tomatoes, shred a fennel bulb, and some carrots. Also, add some black and white beans. Finally, for seasoning, add some cilantro, juice of half a lime, some olive oil, and sea salt. Toss all the ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips and salsa.
- Also, one can make a Serrano chicken Caesar salad. Toss romaine lettuce leaves with some Caesar salad dressing, grilled chicken breast slices, minced Serrano peppers, and a handful of sunflower seeds. Enjoy the salad with grapes or slices of honeydew.
- Vegetable gyros are also tasty and filling. First grill a veggie burger, then slice it into strips. Season the slices with garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika. Place these inside a whole-grain pita, then add orange bell peppers sliced extra-thin. Finish this off with some tzatziki sauce and fresh chives or parsley.
Consider These Foods For Dinner:
- One can make Mediterranean-style turkey burgers. Grill some lean turkey burgers, set them down, and arrange on them pieces of feta cheese, roasted red peppers, and fresh basil leaves. Finally, top with avocado slices then serve the burgers over steamed quinoa and lemon wedges.
- Try some quick vegetable dishes. Choose greens that go well in sandwiches. Put the greens on some rye bread. No need for feta cheese. Or you can ignore the rye and have the salad greens with some pesto soup. Or one can opt for a Caesar salad without the croutons.
- A shrimp salad with corn would be great too. Choose some salad greens then toss these with some grilled shrimps and chopped seasonal vegetables. Use a vinaigrette for dressing. Serve the salad with buttered corn and Romano cheese.
- Finally, one can also whip up Thai salmon and soba. For an Asian flavor, brush salmon with sesame oil then either pan-fry or grill it. Grill some asparagus spears as well. Prepare some soba noodles tossed with Thai peanut sauce garnished with minced red cabbage, and fresh scallions.
One Can Also Munch On These Healthy Snacks:
- Fresh berries and some dark chocolate.
- Banana slices with chocolate-hazelnut spread.
- Fat-free frozen yogurt in a cone.
- Fresh strawberries with agave nectar or honey.
- Snow peas and hummus.
- Any smoothie with healthy ingredients.
- Gouda or aged goat cheese with roasted pistachios.
Some Practical Summer Weight Loss Tips
Those pointers on how to lose weight may sound so achievable. Eat less and exercise more. But these are just words and losing weight is easier said than done. But one can lose the extra pounds if he puts his mind to it. Fortunately, weight loss would be less daunting if one starts with a plan. Here are some tips to add to the plan:
Try Taking an “Alcoholiday”
This is a vacation away from alcoholic follies. People may not know it but, chemically speaking, alcohol is like sugar. Drinking too much will activate insulin resistance, and this will lead to weight gain. The liver is the body’s “punching bag” for alcohol drinkers. It’s about time to give the liver a well-deserved break.
Select Carbohydrates Carefully
Carbohydrates which are highly-refined are the main reason for the occurrences of spikes in the levels of blood sugar. This will then facilitate the buildup of fat which is consequently guarded against depletion. Instead of refined carbohydrates, choose slow-burning and unrefined ones.
Go the Mediterranean
Research has been done on why people around the Mediterranean a lot are healthier and live longer lives. It’s because their diets include a lot of whole-grains, vegetables, nuts, fruits, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and olive oil. Maybe it’s time we followed these people’s lifestyle of healthy living.
Go for Soups
Eating soup will make one feel full and can decrease the craving for food. It’s an excellent appetite suppressant since it contains a lot of fluids and solids. Having it before consuming a meal can considerably lower calorie intake. If one is determined to lose some weight, substitute the lunchtime sandwich with a bowl of vegetable soup.
Watch the Portion Intake
Restaurants can serve portions that can be considered adequate. Unfortunately, such portions have rocketed these days, and what is served, people tend to finish. Self-control is important, and we need only eat portions that are good for us. Downsizing would be nice.
Go for Fresh Fruits Rather Than Juices
One may not be aware of it, but fruit juices also have high sugar levels and have less fiber content. Furthermore, the nutritional values of fruits are mostly found in the skin which, unfortunately, are disposed of after juicing. For maximum fruit benefits, eat apples whole, skin and all. Then wash it down with water.
Choose Coffee Wisely
Recent studies on coffee have shown that the beverage is not bad at all because it contains many nutrients. Drinking coffee per se is good, but its sugar and dairy additives become calorie traps. So, during the summer, swap those nutrition trap lattes with plain black coffee, herb tea or green tea.
Foods to Eat During the Summer
Summer should be a good time to change the diet. In the heat of summer, one will be exposed to a lot of conditions like dehydration, skin allergies, and many more, not to mention excessive sweating. One can be relieved from all these by a very simple solution. Eat local fruits, and there are plenty because most will be in season. Also, summer is that time when fruits will contain the most nutrients. Fruits, together with some other foods, can make one feel and look good.
Apples, Figs, and Pears
These fruits have high-fiber contents. Wash the fruits and eat the skin as most of the nutrients are found there. If organic ones are available, buy those.
Apricots, Peaches, and Nectarines.
Consumed fresh or dry, they are a great source of fiber. Nectarines are rich in vitamin A and the antioxidant beta-carotene. Peaches contain plenty of vitamin C.
Surprisingly, this fruit is a very healthy source of monounsaturated fats and could be lumped in the same category with nuts. Being a fruit, it deserves a class of its own. If one ever gets stranded on a desert island, he could only wish an avocado tree grows there as its fruit can provide nutrients that are good for the heart and overall wellness.
Blackberries or Raspberries
Both these types of berries are rich in fiber. Raspberries have often been ignored because they’re pricey when off-season. However, this little berry packs lots of nutritious qualities. Aside from fiber, it’s rich in vitamin C.
Celery and Fennel
When one feels “puffy” and he’s are headed for the beach the next day, eat some celery or fennel. The diuretic property of these two will help the person lose that excess water weight in his system without causing dehydration. The substances of these veggies will stimulate the kidneys and causes them to flush waste and extra fluids out of the body. It will then subdue that bloat in the tummy.
An exciting alternative to water to maintain hydration is green tea. This would be perfect for those hot summer days. But that’s not all. Studies have shown that the tea can be beneficial in fighting off cancer and heart disease. It can also lower cholesterol levels, enhance metabolism, and stave off dementia.
Snack on healthy nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts as they’re rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are known to lower bad cholesterol levels.
It’s the most popular among the citrus group. Oranges are potassium-rich, and this substance is essential during hot summer days. When a person sweats because of heat, potassium will be lost, and this may lead to muscle cramps. Consuming oranges can replenish the potassium supply and consequently can keep cramps from happening. Also, an orange is a good source of rehydration during sweaty summer days.
When available, eat a lot of raw kale and spinach to save the skin. The carotenoids in these foods, especially the dark variety ones, will be converted by the body to vitamin A which will protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Vitamin A will decrease the skin’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light, can mend flaky or dry skin, and can strengthen the skin’s defenses.
Again, the Mediterranean diet is invoked here, a diet which involves the consumption of fish to reduce the risks of heart diseases which is the most common cause of death in women. Aside from the disease-fighting Omega-3 oils, fish is a great source of protein.
Strawberries or Blueberries
These sweet and juicy berries contain high levels of flavonoids which are potent disease fighters. These are found in a lot of vegetables and fruits. They can help enhance blood flow to the skin and decrease the skin’s light sensitivity. Also, these components improve the skin’s texture, appearance, and structure. These benefits are important during summer days because there are more hours of daylight and more time spent under the sun. Flavonoids have also been proven to help slow down the decline of cognition.
Tomatoes are already known as good sources of antioxidants and vitamin C., But these red fruits also contain phytochemicals such as lycopene, which help in the prevention of chronic diseases, especially cancer.
Its name already implies that it’s a good source of water for hydration and this is exactly what you’ll need on hot summer days. The water content in this huge fruit can keep one keep cool and hydrated. It can also act as an appetite suppressant because it will make one feel full, thus curbing the cravings for food. It truly is summer’s best fruit because it contains lycopene, a substance that protects the skin cells from sun damage.
This is an ideal source of protein during hot days. It’s packing in small containers makes it portion-controlled and can be handily placed inside the tote bag. Its protein content will satisfy the stomach and will make one crave less for those high-calorie barbeque treats later the beach. Choose yogurt that’s low in fat and high in protein. Yogurt also contains trillions of those beneficial bacteria that keep the digestive system function smoothly.
This is a favorite summer vegetable which belongs to the squash family. It’s high in a fiber called pectin which has been shown to increase heart health and in lowering cholesterol levels.