Worried about squeezing into that teensy-weensy bikini? Relax! If you want to shed a few extra pounds, now is the best time to make healthy changes to your diet. Warmer weather has plenty going for it to make weight loss easier, says New York City-based Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D., author of Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life (Clarkson Potter, 2005). "There are so many delicious fruits and vegetables at your fingertips. You're wearing less clothing so you're more body-conscious--that creates more of a natural awareness. And it's easier to be active." Krieger knows a thing or two about swimsuit season: A former model, she financed her education by working with the Wilhelmina agency.
To help you get bikini-ready this year, we've enlisted Krieger's help for expert advice plus that of five other nutrition gurus (all registered dietitians too). Read on to learn their diet strategies and insider tips and tricks for dealing with everyday food challenges. We've also included a list of Krieger's super-easy steps to boost your nutrition, plus three scrumptious recipes from New York City-based chef and wellness coach Gayle Reichler, M.S., R.D.
Dietitians struggle with the same problems as the rest of us, from junk-food cravings to what to have for dinner. But it's how they tackle these challenges that's different. Eat like they do and you'll always look fabulous. Here's how to do it.
make breakfast a priority
If you want to be slim and healthy, dietitians advise that you never ever, ever miss breakfast. Make it a nutrition powerhouse, and you're less likely to overeat all day. Carolyn O'Neil, M.S., R.D., co-author of The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! (Atria Books, 2004) and an Atlanta-based nutritionist and former correspondent for CNN, goes for the triple threat--a morning meal that combines complex carbs, fat and protein--to keep her going through hours of meetings and television appearances. "I have a whole-grain English muffin with melted cheese and tomato and calcium-fortified orange juice," she says. "Though I like grapefruit juice, too, which has fewer calories."
Molly Kimball, R.D., a sports and lifestyle nutritionist at the Ochsner Clinic's Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans, typically begins her day with a run and homemade whey protein shake followed by a weight workout. Afterward, she enjoys a high-fiber bagel topped with peanut butter.
"I usually have a whole-grain cold cereal with fruit--berries, bananas or some kind of citrus--with soy milk," says Barbara Lewin, R.D., a Hollywood, Fla.-based sports nutritionist to Olympic athletes. "One of my favorites in summer is fat-free vanilla yogurt, plus added oatmeal, bananas, apples, berries and maybe a few nuts."
more is more
To maintain a steady energy level all day long and avoid uncontrollable cravings that lead to bingeing, the pros swear by 200- to 300-calorie mini-meals--four to six a day. For meals between breakfast, lunch and dinner, Lewin creates her own trail mix with dried fruit, roasted soybeans and Puffins, a high-fiber cereal.
O'Neil often grabs a handful of nuts and reaches for a peach as a mini-meal. "I look at foods like fruit, and I see all the things it's giving me, not just the fact that it's a low-cal choice," she explains, referring to fruit's high fiber, vitamin and antioxidant content.
For a midday meal on hot days, salads are the most carefree food choice, nutritionists say. These are big (2-4 cups) and feature a variety of deeply colored greens and veggies, including a warm-weather bounty of fresh tomatoes, corn and zucchini. And don't forget to include appetite-satisfying protein. "I love to have a big salad topped with 3 or 4 ounces of grilled chicken or fish," Krieger says. "I might put a tablespoon of blue cheese on it to make it burst with flavor, so I don't need to add as much dressing."
Instead of a rich, heavy dinner, nutritionists end their day with a light meal: about 4 ounces of protein--fish and chicken are ideal choices--often grilled and paired with loads of veggies. "I'm a big fan of the grill," says O'Neil, who uses hers all year long to cook chicken, shrimp and other seafood, as well as veggies and fruit.
just desserts (sometimes)
Surprise! Nutrition gurus crave sundaes and chocolate cake just like we do, but they make indulging in dessert the exception, not the rule. "Many people have something sweet after they eat and I'm not in that habit--I think it's a habit you can get out of," Krieger explains. "One thing I do enjoy in summer is some ice cream. I go out for it so I don't have it tempting me at home. [When] I get the real thing--maybe four times over the summer--I have a small scoop and enjoy every bit of it."
3 lean summer recipes
You don't have to sacrifice taste to eat lean and healthy, insists nutritionist and chef Gayle Reichler, M.S., R.D. Here are three scrumptious, easy-to-prepare dishes from her new cookbook Gayle's Feel-Good Foods: Unbelievably Healthy, Impossibly Delicious, Surprisingly Easy Recipes for Every Day (Avery/Penguin, 2004).
Almond Oatmeal Pancakes
Yields 14 pancakes
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 4-5 minutes
These pancakes are a great breakfast treat on leisurely summer weekends. Serve them with fresh berries or your favorite yogurt.
1/2 cup oat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond flour
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
In a medium bowl, combine the first 8 ingredients with a fork. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, almond extract and zest. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and gently stir to combine. (Do not overmix: Batter should be lumpy.)
Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low and coat lightly with cooking spray. Drop the batter on the skillet, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook 2-3 minutes, until bubbles form on top of pancakes. Flip and cook 2 more minutes. Serve immediately. Nutrition score per serving (1 pancake): 57 calories, 33% fat (2 g; 0.3 g saturated), 52% carbs (7 g), 15% protein (2 g), 1 g fiber, 14 mg calcium, < 1 mg iron, 180 mg sodium.
Salmon With Creamy Lime Dressing
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1/4 cup honey
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced mint
4 5-ounce salmon steaks or fillets (preferably Pacific or Alaskan)
16 green grapes, sliced in half
Combine dressing ingredients in a glass bowl and whisk until creamy. Set aside half the dressing to serve with the cooked salmon. In a large glass casserole dish, marinate the salmon in the remaining dressing and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Preheat the barbecue. Grill salmon for 10 minutes per side. Meanwhile, warm the reserved lime dressing in a small pan on low. To serve, place a salmon fillet on each plate then sprinkle with grapes. Serve with extra dressing on the side.
Nutrition score per serving (1 salmon fillet): 325 calories, 25% fat (9 g; 1.9 g saturated), 33% carbs (27 g), 42% protein (35 g), < 1 g fiber, 173 mg calcium, 1 mg iron, 105 mg sodium.
Crab and Avocado Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
4 tablespoons pineapple juice Dash of Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup diced sweet red peppers
1/2 avocado peeled and diced
1 medium tomato, diced (about 1/2 cup)
12 ounces fresh lump crabmeat
1/2 head of dark green lettuce, shredded
Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Mix peppers, avocado and tomato in a medium bowl until well combined, then fold in crabmeat. Place a cup of shredded lettuce in a large bowl and toss with 1/4 cup dressing. Divide greens equally among four plates and top with crabmeat mixture. Pour additional dressing on top to taste.
Nutrition score per serving (1/4 of salad): 186 calories, 44% fat (9 g; 1 g saturated), 19% carbs (9 g), 37% protein (17 g), 3 g fiber, 70 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 512 mg sodium.
5 diet dilemmas solved!
We asked our panel of expert nutritionists how they face everyday challenges that lead to weight gain. Here are their real-life solutions for tackling the five common diet problems that stand between you and your bikini.
"When I'm tired, that's a trigger for me. I crave things that are higher in sugar. It helps in the short-term, but definitely not long-term."
--Barbara Lewin, R.D., Hollywood, Fla.
Solution Fruit--whether dried, fresh or used in a smoothie--is Lewin's secret weapon. "I get the sugar, but it's pretty low-calorie and high in fiber to eat some frozen sorbet with frozen fruit or some frozen grapes." Lewin, who struggled with a weight problem in her teens, also keeps her energy up by staying well-hydrated, especially during summer's dog days. "I make my own version of a sports drink that's 4 ounces of water, 4 ounces of orange juice and a pinch of salt," she explains. "You don't taste the salt, though."
problem: cravings for chocolate and other sweets
"Sweets are definitely my challenge--any kind of candy or sugar."
--Tammi Flynn, M.S., R.D., Wenatchee, Wash.
Solution To avoid falling prey to her sweet tooth, Flynn (who once owned a lowfat bakery) makes sure she eats her veggies first, before anything else--including her entree. Then she checks in to see if she really wants dessert. "If I still have that sugar craving, I eat a couple of pieces of chocolate. In summer, my cravings are more satisfied because so many fruits are in season."
Molly Kimball, R.D., sticks to individual-sized packages of 4-6 cookies that she shares with her boyfriend and tames cravings with a daily 1-inch square of the dark stuff. Former pastry chef Gayle Reichler, M.S., R.D., likes chocolate so much that she created an award-winning chocolate truffle that's just 30 calories and 1 gram of fat. (To try them, check out www.activewellness.com/truffles.)
problem: afternoon slump
"At around 4 o'clock, that's a critical point for me. I feel hungry but dinner is still a few hours away and if I wait to eat I'll wind up nibbling on things I don't really need."
--Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D.
Solution To perk up in the afternoon, Krieger chooses a snack over a caffeinated beverage. "I have a cup of a whole-grain cereal with skim milk at that point," She says. "Or a tablespoon of peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain toast. In summer I might have strawberries with lowfat cottage cheese."
Tammi Flynn, M.S., R.D., author of The 3-Apple-a-Day Plan: Your Foundation for Permanent Fat Loss (Broadway Books, 2005) reaches for--you guessed it--her favorite fruit. "Apples have pectin, a soluble fiber that keeps your stomach from absorbing sugar too quickly and helps curb your appetite. And they tend to help with sweet cravings."
problem: eating away from home
"I enjoy eating out so much, and it's hard to keep track of how much I'm consuming."
--Carolyn O'Neil, M.S., R.D., Atlanta
Solution Travel poses special eating challenges. "You're not in your own environment; you're not in control of where you're eating," says Reichler. "So a lot of it for me is about strategizing: What's in the airport that I can feel good about eating? It's usually a smoothie with skim milk, ice and fruit, or a salad; and if I can't find either of those, a small piece of pizza, or yogurt and popcorn."
problem: chips and fries
"My weakness is french fries--they're my Achilles heel."--E.K.
Solution "I have a recipe for baked 'fries' that really does the trick for me," says Krieger: To make a batch that serves 4, cut 3 large, unpeeled baking potatoes (Idaho russets) lengthwise into 10-12 wedges, toss with 1 tablespoon canola oil and bake on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray for 20 minutes at 450[degrees] F. Season with salt and serve. "If I'm eating out I'll order the smallest size fries or just take a few of my husband's," she adds.
Kimball opts for munchies that offer more nutrition than your average potato chips. "I'll have higher-protein, higher-fiber chips for something salty," she says. "I like Atkins Crunchers, Doritos Edge or Tostitos Edge chips. The Atkins BBQ Crunchers have 13 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in a 1-ounce bag."
RELATED ARTICLE: 5 easy ways to improve your diet this summer
Baby steps are the key to taking weight off and keeping it off for good, says Ellie Krieger, M.S., R.D. Here are five of our favorite diet and nutrition tips from her new book Small Changes, Big Results: A 12-Week Action Plan to a Better Life (Clarkson Potter, 2005).
1. Every Monday, bring five pieces of fresh fruit to work and keep them in an attractive basket or bowl on your desk. You'll pretty up your work space and add more fiber to your diet with a daily apple, pear, orange or banana as a snack.
2. Get more calcium (most women need more and some research shows the mineral could make weight loss easier) by sprinkling sesame seeds (88 milligrams per tablespoon) on your cooked rice and salads and into stir-fries; dipping veggies in plain lowfat yogurt (225 milligrams per half cup) flavored with onion soup mix or herbs; and choosing a handful of almonds (70 milligrams per ounce) and an orange (52 milligrams) for an afternoon snack.
3. On a fullness scale of 1-10--with 1 being famished and 10 being stuffed--stop at a 5 or 6 at every meal. Listening to your body's cues can help you maintain your weight--and you may even lose a few pounds.
4. To avoid eating more calories than you need, stock up on individual-sized servings of tuna, lowfat yogurt, lowfat cheese, whole-grain cereal, baby carrots and healthful, low-sodium instant soups.
5. Choose sports drinks over sodas. Beverages like Gatorade have only 50 calories for 8 ounces (as opposed to 100 calories for sweetened colas) and contain electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that help your body function normally). Better yet, if you're not exercising intensely for over an hour, or in extreme heat, save the calories entirely and sip water instead.
Reprinted by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from GAYLE'S FEEL-GOOD FOODS by Gayle Reichler, Copyright [c] 2004.
Living outside Phoenix--where summer heat lasts nearly year-round--health and nutrition writer Lorie A. Parch stays cool and slim with regular swims.
Photography by David Prince
Parch, Lorie A. "The bikini body diet: it's easy to slip into summer's skimpiest outfits when you follow these strategies from 6 top nutrition gurus." Shape May 2005: 236+. General OneFile. Web. 11 Nov. 2009.
Gale Document Number:A131994109
Disclaimer:This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional care.
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