It’s that time of the year again…Summer is here and everyone is getting ready to fit into their favourite swimsuit, but most of us allowed our New Year’s resolutions and healthy eating goals fall by the wayside months ago, so how do we achieve a leaner ‘bikini body’ in good time and safely? Riham Shamseddine, Dietitian, The Right Bite Nutrition and Catering Services L.L.C. gives KM Readers some healthy tips to get you started.
One should be able to set realistic and achievable goals. There are no “magic foods” that will make us lose the extra pounds we have accumulated throughout the year; however, the key formula is straight-forward: following a healthy lifestyle that includes both healthy eating and physical activity.
Being able to enjoy the foods we like in moderation, with 30-minutes of daily activity will help us reach our goal. Note: Always consult with your physician prior to starting any exercise routine.
A few healthy tips to help you get ‘Bikini Ready’:
• Choose wholegrain products (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, wholegrain bread) instead of refined ones;
• Avoid cream and creamy sauces in your dishes and replace with tomato sauce;
• Avoid eating from the bread basket that most restaurants offer and replace with a bowl of green salad;
• Avoid fizzy drinks and juices even if freshly squeezed as they have a very high sugar content;
• Choose more baked, grilled, steamed rather than deep fried, fried, pan-fried and stir-fried items;
• Choose lean cuts of protein like beef fillet, skinless chicken breast and fish rather than lamb, drumsticks and chicken wings;
• Avoid salad dressings made with mayonnaise, cheese and a lot of oil. Choose the ones made with a minimum amount of oil with mustard, lemon or vinegar;
• Decrease the consumption of sugar (ice cream, chocolate, sweets, candies), and eat more fruits when craving something sweet;
• Switch from full fat dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt) to low fat ones;
It is also vital to maintain a well-balanced and varied diet as follows:
• Always start with a healthy breakfast rich in carbohydrates (whole-wheat bread, unsweetened breakfast cereals, oats) and protein. A good breakfast will kick start your metabolism and provide you with good energy to start your day the right way;
• Eat three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) with 1 – 2 healthy snacks in between in order to avoid hunger, reduce cravings and overeating at main meals;
• Always start with a bowl of green salad or cooked vegetables as they are also very rich in vitamins that act as antioxidants, which are known to be very beneficial for the skin;
• Aim for 5-a-day! Enjoy at least 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables daily. Always choose the fresh fruits and avoid juices. Make your plate colourful;
• Include a small handful of raw, unsalted nuts daily, instead of desserts and sweets when you feel like snacking;
• Drink at least 6 – 8 glasses of water (1.5 to 2 liters) daily to hydrate your body and skin (unless otherwise indicated);
• Avoid fizzy drinks and caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, green tea);
• Get rid of all the unhealthy snacks and enjoy healthier selections. Start trying those easy, on-the-go snack ideas:
* Prepare your own trail mix: unsalted crackers, unsalted and raw almonds, raisins and some diced dry apricots and pineapple. Flavor them with a pinch of paprika to enhance the taste
* Fruit salads are unbeatable snacks, enjoy fresh and colorful fruits with their edible skin
* Fresh vegetable cuts: cucumber, celery sticks, lettuce, mixed and colored bell peppers, baby carrots
* Minted low-fat laban with crushed ice with cucumbers on the side or even whole-wheat breadsticks
* Homemade minted lemonade with a hint of honey and ginger. You can also use sparkling water instead of still water
* Baked chips or rice cakes with fresh homemade guacamole dip
* Homemade ice tea with crushed ice and no added sugar and to give it a more taste, add fresh fruits slices
* Fruit sorbet or plain frozen yogurt with chopped fruits can replace all the high fat ice cream
There are always ways to enjoy foods we like ‘guilt-free’ so enjoy your Summer and your time at the beach, but of course mind your portions!