Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Slim down for Summer

As summer gets closer, I've been looking to new foods to not only help me feel lighter and slimmer, but also to get me in the mood for the season!
Last year, I started making fruit and yogurt parfaits a lot for a really refreshing, healthy breakfast. I would also have fruit around for easy snacking. My favorite mix is Dannon brand plain yogurt (I buy the really large container. I don't feel the need to have the sweetened kind, but the Vanilla flavor isn't much higher in calories, if you can't stand the taste of non-sweetened yogurt), blackberries, and strawberries. I love layering them all in a wine glass. It's such an easy way to create a pretty presentation.
I'm telling you, this simple parfait is so delicious, and you can also substitute it for desserts (especially when you're having an intense ice cream craving) and it will really do the trick! You wont feel like you're sacrificing anything.

My dessert the other night.

I've also been substituting fish for my usual protein for dinner. It just seems like such a better choice when the weather is warm. You don't feel as weighed down, it's so good for you, and once again, it just really puts you in that "summery" mood. Tilapia is my normal go-to fish, but lately I've been eating more salmon. Salmon is actually incredibly filling, as it's a heavier, tougher fish. If you're really craving a steak, but are trying to eat better or avoid red meat, top a Salmon fillet with some steak sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce!
I love a lime glaze like Paul Newman's lime salad dressing, which I believe I mentioned in an earlier post. This dressing also works wonders on chicken! Steve and I have also experimented with stuffed salmon and chicken breasts lately, using ingredients like spinach and feta cheese. Feta is a great cheese to use, because it's so strongly flavored that you are less tempted to overload on it. I also just love the flavor. I highly recommend adding a little bit to a salad, too. It can make the simplest salad (even just spring mix and some grape tomatoes) feel a little more "gourmet" and more exciting.

Spiral salmon fillet stuffed with spinach and feta, picked up fresh from our HEB deli, and baked. Paired with cooked asparagus.

Let's be honest though, when trying to eat well, sometimes you just. crave. chocolate. And when you're craving chocolate, there is no substitute!
I keep a bag of dark chocolate Hershey Kisses around for when that mood strikes. Dark chocolate has been said to be high in antioxidants and easier to digest than other types, so that's a plus. Having to unwrap each individual kiss also helps you not absent-mindedly pile chocolates into your mouth (and when you do that, before you know it, you've eaten half the bag!). Also, (not unlike the feta cheese) dark chocolate has a strong taste to it, and I find that I don't actually want to eat a whole bunch of it in one sitting. After about 3 or 4 kisses, I feel fine, and my craving has been taken care of.

Look for the pretty purple wrapping...

The one "diet" tip I've discovered over the past year or so, however, has been to keep your proteins and starches separate for easier digestion. This is not a tip that effects weight loss, necessarily, but it is incredibly helpful if you're concerned about bloating, which less face it, can make us look and feel much heavier than we actually are!
So what this means is, just pair your salmon (or whatever meat) with a salad or some cooked vegetables. Skip the potatoes or pasta for that meal. If you want to have starch for a meal, have it, but just leave off the meat. Pair pasta with a yummy sauce and some veggies. I find this isn't that difficult of an adjustment, and it really does make a difference (for me, at least). Bonus: I can see how this could also significantly reduce your calorie intake for each meal without too much effort, depending on what exactly you're eating.
I don't do this 100% of the time (let's face it, sometimes you just want to have a sandwich with meat and bread!), but I try to keep to it whenever possible, and certainly when I'm doing a "detox diet" for a period of time to get my body back on track.

I hope I've provided some easy tips for adjusting your normal diet through the summer. What are some of your summer eating tips? Let's help each other out this season and look amazing!


  1. Good post! :)

    Here's a tip: Substitute your salad dressing (which, is generally the bulk of calories on a salad) with some fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a little bit of sugar (or I use Stevia - no calorie sweetener). I know it sounds odd to put sugar on your salad, but just a little mixed with the acid of the lemon gives a good flavor! It's all really light and refreshing as opposed to heavier dressings like ranch (which also pack a lot of calories!) Be wary of even low fat and low calorie dressings, as some contain a lot of sugar and sodium.

    If only I could eat fruit on my diet, I'd be making a parfait tonight! ;)

  2. Great tip! I like mixing together a just little avocado (until it gets creamy) and a splash of lemon juice together as a salad dressing. It's pretty easy to think of ideas like that. In general, just making things yourself, so you know exactly what goes into it, can really make a huge difference.

    To me, low-fat dressings (especially ranch) taste pretty awful anyway. Might as well save yourself those nasty chemicals, and even more calories!