Healthy Eating Hacks for Summer Weight Loss

Healthy Eating Hacks for Summer Weight Loss

Swimsuit season is here! Stay slim in the sun with easy, expert-approved tips.

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By Ana Lopez

If you’re looking to slim down this summer, you’ve probably been upping your fitness game. But what about your eating habits? You already know that your diet has a huge impact on your ability to lose weight and keep it off. But you may not know that certain foods help rev your metabolism, while others can slow it down. 

We spoke with Kelly Snow, RD, of Grand Strand Medical Center in South Carolina to discover some of the best diet tricks to help you cut calories, boost your metabolism and reach your summer weight loss goals.

Go for Iron

2 / 8 Go for Iron

Iron helps your body produce energy and keeps your metabolism at its best. Too little iron may even slow your metabolism down. For that reason, Snow recommends eating iron-rich foods—like black beans, lentils, spinach and raisins—three times a day. And don’t forget grains like cereal or oatmeal. “If they're whole grains, that’s better," she says. Compared to refined grains, which digest quickly and can lead to blood sugar spikes, whole grains keep you fuller for longer.

Plan Your Breakfast

3 / 8 Plan Your Breakfast

If you're trying to slim your middle, don’t skip a protein-rich breakfast. Several studies suggest eating a protein-rich breakfast can help tame your appetite, curb overeating and prevent unhealthy snacking throughout the day. Because most breakfast items aren’t rich in healthy vitamins and nutrients, Snow recommends loading up on protein and including at least three food groups on your morning plate. Eggs, lean meat, cheese and peanut butter are great protein options. Add a side of fruit and a slice of whole grain toast, and you’re good to go!

Drink more water

4 / 8 Drink more water

While drinking water may not melt the pounds off, it can help cut your daily calorie intake. A study of more than 18,000 American adults found that most people who upped their water consumption by 1 percent saw a reduction in daily calorie intake. There’s more: The study suggests an increase in water also lowered consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol. "Water may help you feel a little fuller when you're eating, so you end up eating less," says Snow.

Take It Easy on the Margaritas

5 / 8 Take It Easy on the Margaritas

A poolside cocktail can be refreshing, but don’t overdo it. "Alcohol can be a source of hidden calories,” says Snow. “When you're thinking about how much you're eating, it’s easy to forget about the drinks you’ve had, and those calories can really add up.”

What you’re sipping also makes a difference. “Long Island Iced Tea and frozen margaritas have the most calories," says Snow. Your best bet is to avoid sugary mixers or spirits. Sip a drink made with club soda or seltzer, or simply on the rocks.

Rethink Seasonings and Condiments

6 / 8 Rethink Seasonings and Condiments

Sure, loading your plate with grilled chicken and veggies can be healthy. But, if your protein is coated with thick, sugar-laden barbecue sauce, your meal may not be as waist-friendly as you think.

Be mindful of how you flavor your food. Condiments like soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, ketchup and barbecue sauce, among others, are often high in sodium and sugar. Too much sodium may cause you to temporarily retain fluid, upping your water weight. Snow suggests making your own sauces, or seasoning your food with a squirt of lemon juice and a few chopped fresh herbs.

Fill Up on Fiber

7 / 8 Fill Up on Fiber

According to a series of clinical trials, fiber-rich foods make people feel fuller, which helps fight cravings and supports weight loss. Over the course of six weeks, trial participants lost a small amount of weight just by adding three-fourths cup of fiber-packed foods like beans, chickpeas and lentils to their diets. They didn't even have to cut other foods!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages eating the skin or peel of fruits and veggies for a boost of fiber. Other fiber-rich foods to munch on: brown rice, raspberries, air-popped popcorn, carrots, pearled barley, avocados and pears.


Swap your snacks

8 / 8 Swap your snacks

Trade in your chips for a healthier snack. Nuts like almonds, cashews and peanuts are not only filling, they can help with weight management. Nuts may also help boost your brain health and lower bad cholesterol levels.

"Nuts are very good for you because they have a lot of nutrients that your body can use,” says Snow. “The only problem is the calorie level. That's why you need to pay attention to portion sizes.”

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, nuts contain between 160 calories to 200 calories per ounce, so keep your noshing to a handful. A serving is approximately 49 pistachios, 23 almonds, 18 cashews, 14 walnut halves or 19 pecan halves.