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How to enjoy summer get-togethers without sacrificing your health

Amanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, model, spokeswoman, founder of FitStrongandSexy.com.

Use these tips to stick to healthy eating at your summer social events

"Bikini Body Starts Here"

"Swimsuit Shape Up Secrets"

We've all heard and seen the headlines by now and have probably felt the pressure to get into bikini body shape, as if that should ever be defined as one size. But we live in a society and culture where, unless you live in a box, this is what you face!

It's official, once Memorial Day weekend has passed, and we are officially in "prime time summer" our calendars fill up with social events, parties, picnics, barbecues and more. It also brings many opportunities to indulge in those "moment on the lips, forever on the hips" type treats.

If there is one thing to know about me, it's that I strongly believe life is all about living and we should be able to enjoy these types of gatherings without the guilt. Don't worry, you can!

I have put together my tips for maintaining your sexy summer body at any social event. Armed with the insights from this list, it's easy to enjoy a healthy, social-filled summer, all while getting and maintaining that "swimsuit-ready" physique!

Tip #1: Nothing is a "forbidden" food

Don't think about doughnuts... what are you thinking about now? I know I am thinking doughnuts. The same applies to food, once something is perceived as "forbidden" we tend to think about it more, crave it more. The likelihood of restricting and then "losing control" and overdoing it on those "forbidden foods" is high. Moderation is key here! Rather than depriving ourselves, having some quality vs. quantity is the mindset that will keep you from all the "forbidden" food in the world. Think about the healthy choices that you make more often, and you will automatically begin to do it subconsciously. Just like you can train your body to exercise, you can train your mind.

Tip #2: The trick about "drinking when you're drinking"

and remembering to hydrate as you go often gets lost. My solution: Add sparkling water to your wine.

Yes, sparkling water allows you to keep the same great flavor, plus it makes your drink last longer and hydrates you at the same time. And if it's a cocktail you're after, be very savvy about the mixers. I recommend trying something like this Skinny Mojito.

Tip #3: Tantalizing and festive yet healthy and easy party foods

Create (easily) a beautiful spread of red, white and blue with fruit and cheese platters.

Example: white cheese cubes of your choice with red fruit of choice (watermelon chunks, strawberries or raspberries) and blueberries. Arrange in a beautiful way and voilà!

Tip #4: Don't go hungry

We often think that we save calories by skimping on lunch, but when we go to a party hungry we almost always end up overdoing it and consuming way more than what we normally would. Instead, try grazing throughout the day on healthy foods (fruits and veggies). Eating more, smaller mini-meals throughout the day actually boosts the metabolism, but will prevent hunger pangs that usually result in poor eating choices later.

Tip #5: Plan your day in advance

When you plan in advance, the chances of maintaining that summer body will not fall short or be sabotaged. Try to make time to shop for healthier foods, so that you have them on hand. Don't forget to find time to exercise! There is always time to get in a quick workout.

Here are a few go-tos you can do anywhere in under 10 minutes:

There may be last-minute invites to parties, and you can't always plan ahead, but if you use tips one through four you'll be on the road to maintaining that summer body and still be sociable.

Tip #6: Be the winning guest

Not sure what the snack options will be at a party? Be the winning guest in so many ways by bringing your own beautiful, festive, yet easy and healthy dish (plus, it's a great conversation starter). Try sprinkling halved bananas with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar and grill each side for two minutes. You can stock up on frozen yogurt or light whipped cream to top it off (just remember tip #1).

Now you can sit back, enjoy the festive occasion, and welcome in summer, all without feeling guilty!

Other fun recipes and ideas you might enjoy:

What are your plans for summer? I love hearing from you, so leave your comments below!

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