Friday, June 04, 2010

Pool-time Blues

Any of you stressed out about swimsuit season and the return to a skimpier wardrobe? Such fears are common this time of year, when some folks turn to weight loss pills and the drastic elimination of certain foods and beverages to quickly cure weight woes. Instead of eyeing the latest fad diet, try a more sensible approach by utilizing sugar-free foods and beverages.
Products sweetened with sucralose allow consumers to enjoy their favorite meals without worrying about the additional calories. For example, drinking a diet soda can save 150 calories. Over the course of a year, that daily calorie savings could result in a 15-pound weight loss.
Here are a few more diet-related tips courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

* When it comes to salads, avoid piling on cheese, fried chicken, croutons, bacon bits and salad dressing. Remember that the principal ingredients in a salad are supposed to be fresh, raw vegetables, which are low in calories and a good source of fiber to keep you feeling full. Pick veggies in lots of different colors to contribute a wide variety of nutrients to your diet. Add a total of 3 to 4 ounces of lean proteins such as boiled egg, grilled chicken or steak, steamed shrimp, seared tuna or deli-sliced roast beef, turkey or ham. Accessorize with a few nuts or a small amount of grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese.

* Look for menus that take advantage of summer’s bountiful harvest of low-calorie, nutrient-rich produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, field peas, peaches, basil and all kinds of berries. Did you know that the vitamin C in produce is essential for building collagen for healthy skin?

* Grilled meats and fish are often slathered with butter or oil, so request that your order be brushed lightly with oil.

* Avoid cream-based cold soups, and go for choices chock-full of vegetables such as gazpacho. Fruit soups, from melon to strawberry, are delicious and nutritious summer menu additions, too.

* Instead of ice cream or gelato, you’ll save hundreds of calories per serving by choosing fresh fruit sorbets or frozen desserts made with low-fat or fat-free milk. Many of those trendy frozen yogurt outlets make versions with fat-free milk, but watch the toppings. Choose fresh fruit when possible, and skip the crushed candies. (Sidenote: A study in the June issue of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise reports that women who drank two glasses of fat-free milk a day after their workouts improved muscle tone and lost more fat.)

* Think about your drink. Pina coladas may be popular poolside cocktails, but the high calorie content really doesn’t pair well with a bikini. Count 400 calories per 8 ounces of a pina colada, margarita or fruit daiquiri. Look for the new "skinny" mixers made with no-calorie sweeteners such as sucralose. Or for less than 100 calories per 8 ounces, choose a light beer, vodka and soda with a spritz of fruit juice, or a rum and diet cola.

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