Getting In Shape For Summer.


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Getting In Shape For Summer.

With less than 3 months until Christmas 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 but sustainable strategies is the key to getting a little leaner and healthier long term. So here are some proven dietary strategies that will help to get you into top shape both inside and out over the next few weeks.

1. Make your breakfast bigger

While fasting regimes may work for some, if you are actually hungry in the mornings, or exercise early, breakfast remains the most important meal of the day. And often it needs to be more substantial 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 to keep you full and satisfied throughout the morning.

2. Get rid of the milk coffee

A cappuccino or latte may not seem to have that many calories but they do add up especially if you consider a single Latte contains as many calories as a slice of toast. The answer is not to ditch the coffee entirely 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.

3. Get lunch right

A common scenario in busy lives is that we eat lunch too late and do not make it a substantial enough meal 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, and a salad or sushi roll does not cut it. Aim for a substantial 350-400 calorie lunch of leftovers, stir fry, salad and a wrap or soup and crackers and notice how much more satisfied and in control of your cravings you are mid-afternoon.

4. Halve your dinner

As many of us are eating our last meal of the day much, much later than we did 20 years ago, and as it remains often the largest meal of the day, it is not surprising many of us are gaining weight. 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 a calorie deficit and weight loss as a result. And if you love something sweet to finish your meal, seek out lower calorie treats such as a few berries with plain yoghurt and vanilla essence, ½ a frozen banana dipped in dark chocolate or a homemade sweet treat (see recipe).

5. Replace 1 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 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 when you bump up the vegetable content of your diet.

Recipe: Banana Bites

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

2 large bananas, mashed

1 cup rolled oats, raw

1 cup pitted dates, chopped

1 cup coconut, shredded (for rolling)

Method

1. Combine the mashed banana with the oats and dates in a blender for 1 minute.

2. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.

3. Roll the mixture into small-sized balls in your hands.

4. Coat the balls in shredded coconut and store in the fridge.

Susie is currently a brand ambassador for Australian Bananas. To learn more about the partnership, click here.

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