Summer is here! Which means many of us are well aware of the need to focus on our diet and exercise a little more to get ready for the holiday season. Before you rush out and spend more of your hard-earned dollars on diets and detoxes, keep in mind that a few simple, yet sustainable strategies are the key to getting leaner and healthier long term. So, here are some proven dietary strategies that will help get you into top shape over the next few weeks.
Make your breakfast bigger
While fasting regimes may work for some, if you are either hungry in the mornings, or exercise early, breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. Additionally, it needs to be more substantial in order to keep your metabolism pumping until lunchtime. Aim for fibre and protein-rich options such as protein bread with nut spread and banana, a banana and yoghurt smoothie or a couple of eggs with fruit salad.
Get rid of the milk coffee
A cappuccino or latte may not seem to have that many calories, but they add up. Especially if you consider the fact that a single latte contains as many calories as a slice of toast. The answer is not to ditch the coffee entirely, but rather choose varieties that do not contain as much milk. Try a piccolo as a small, low-calorie alternative or make sure you count every milk-based coffee as part of your meal.
Get lunch right
A common scenario in busy lives is that we eat lunch too late and don’t make it substantial enough to keep us going for another 3-4 hours. Lunch should be consumed by 1pm at the latest to help manage sugar cravings later in the day. Aim for a 350-400 calorie lunch of leftovers, stir fry, salad and a wrap or soup and crackers and you will notice not only how much more satisfied you feel, but also how in control of your cravings you are come mid-afternoon.
Halve your dinner
If you are eating regular meals and snacks, aim to keep your dinner lighter in calories simply by sticking to a small piece of lean meat or fish and team it will lots of fresh salad and vegetables. A light, small meal at night will ensure you wake hungry for a big breakfast and will support you in achieving calorie deficit and weight loss. And if you love something sweet at the end of your meal, seek out lower calorie treats such as a few berries with plain yoghurt and vanilla essence or half a frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate.
Replace one meal with a soup or salad
The low-calorie content of vegetable-based soups and salads means that you could literally eat as much of these foods as you like without weight gain. Put simply, when we eat lots of low calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, there is less room for other high calorie foods! One of the easiest dietary strategies you can adopt when trying to shift a few kg both quickly and safely, is to replace a meal with a soup or salad. Whether you choose a rich vegetable soup for dinner or a leafy green or roasted vegetable salad for lunch, your total calorie intake will be significantly reduced.
This content courtesy of Susie Burrell, one of Australia’s leading dietitians, known for her extensive background in both nutrition and psychology. Early in her career, she spent almost 10 years working at The Children’s Hospital and with elite sporting teams including the St George Illawarra Dragons and the South African Blue Bulls where she gained much applied experience working with children, families and elite athletes. Susie is currently the resident dietitian on Channel’s 7’s SUNRISE and writes regularly for bodyandsoul.com.au. She holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching Psychology at Sydney University, loves going on long walks around Sydney and is kept busy with her twin boys, Gus and Harry.