If the warmer weather has you thinking about your bikini and shorts, yet your extra layer of winter fluff has you dreading skin-baring summer wear, it’s high time to shave calories from your meals and inches from your bod. Sure, you can tighten up your muscles with consistent exercise, but you still need to replace your yens for comfort food with cravings for healthy, lower calorie fare to get that slim, trim, lean physique. To help you comfortably slip back into your fitted sundresses and confidently strut your stuff in that eye-catching two-piece, here are our tastiest low calorie recipes to get your bod ready for the beach.
Bikini body breakfasts
Fill up without filling out by eating a balanced breakfast every day. Starting your day with a morning meal will jumpstart your metabolism, keep you from binge eating later in the day, and give you energy to power through your morning. Steer clear of the giant cinnamon rolls and diner grand slams and, instead, nibble on fruits, veggie omelets, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese.
Tasty smoothies and diet shakes
Refreshing as breakfast or as a cooler on a warm sunny afternoon, protein and fruit smoothies and shakes are packed with energy-upping nutrients without a lot of extra calories. Before your drink with abandon, however, keep in mind that these nutritious sips are not calorie-free, especially if you add nut butters or ice cream. To make your smoothies and shakes most satisfying, use frozen fruit and a small handful of ice to thicken the texture.
Low carb lunches
Part of the allure of winter comfort foods is their carb-rich tastes and textures. Who can resist a plate of pesto-tossed pasta or a mashed potato topped shepherd’s pie when the temperatures have bombed below freezing? Since the weather is changing, it’s time to lighten the load. Incorporating more low carb meals into your weekly diet can help you reduce both calories and carbs while satisfying your hunger – and keeping you full – with lean protein and veggies.
With the rich and colorful bounty of produce at your local farmers’ market and grocery store, eating salads every day is an easy and delicious endeavor. Naturally low in calories, leafy greens and crunchy veggies give you a near endless array of salad possibilities. Add a modest handful of nuts, berries and fresh cheese and you have an even more hunger-squashing salad to enjoy as a side or dive into as an entrée.
Let’s face it: When that midafternoon grumble gets your attention and has you craving something crunchy or something salty or something sweet, your best defense against a full-on binge is by indulging your yen. But before you buy the jumbo bag of fat-laden chips or the 3.5-ounce bar of chocolate, opt for healthy – yet tasty – alternatives in portion sizes that won’t have you kicking your scale the next day. Most important, eat slowly and really enjoy what you are eating. Hapless noshing doesn’t deliver any culinary pleasure and nearly always results in overconsumption.
Do it yourself desserts
Don’t blow your diet and negate your efforts at the gym by diving into an entire pint of premium ice cream or that tub of brownie bites from the bakery. Make your own desserts and save yourself hundreds of calories. Top off a fruit salad with Greek yogurt, grate a bit of dark chocolate and orange zest over low-fat vanilla ice cream, or drizzle warm berry preserves over a slice of angel food cake. Decadent desserts just seem to go with the cold temperatures of winter, but lighter, healthier sweets go best with spring and summer.
Low-calorie summer cocktails
While barbecuing or sitting poolside, who doesn’t love a refreshing cocktail or two to quench a hot weather thirst? However, many of your favorite summer drinks, like margaritas and mojitos, are loaded with calories and sugar! You won’t be scoring any waist whittling points by chugging away calorie bombs in a glass. Instead, make spritzers by mixing no-calorie club soda with wine or juice, opt for light or low carb beers and reach for lower calorie cocktails.