By Brynn McKenry
May means bikini season is right around the corner, but don’t worry because it’s not to late to work on that bikini body. Between getting in some workouts and eating the right foods, you have plenty of time to shed those pounds for those beach days. And one of the most important factors to remember is motivation, motivation, motivation. Because when we put our minds to it, the results will really show.
One thing that helps with staying motivated is finding delicious food without all the junk. The summer time is perfect for getting us into that healthy spirit because of all of the different color we can include on our plate. It’s fun to look at and even fun to put together the flavors and create a party in our mouths and stomachs. So here’s a list of some of my favorite summer foods:
1) Greens. Salads are a perfect summer, outdoor meal where you can mix in that sweet or that savory flavor. The best part is that those greens like Spinach and Kale contain nutrients like Vitamins A, C, K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, and Fiber. If salad isn’t your thing, you can also incorporate those greens by mixing together a nice green smoothie. I like to add a little spinach in with mine in the morning. You don’t get any taste from the Spinach, but you get ALL the nutrients.
One of my favorite smoothies to make includes almond milk, spinach, strawberries, half a banana, and some whey protein powder.
2) Salmon. This is another one of those foods that will add some color to that plate while adding a little protein to a nice lunch or dinner. Most meats seem to be a little heavy for summer but salmon is very light and is naturally low in calories. It is also low in saturated fats and sodium while containing those Omega-3 Fatty Acids that can help your body fight against anti-inflammatory diseases. I like to grill the salmon and place it on a bed of spinach or serve a spinach salad with it.
3) Greek yogurt. This is one of my favorite year-round staples. It’s a great source of protein with 18 grams of protein and also contains probiotics and 20% of your calcium needs. I personally choose the Oikos brand because you can find many delicious flavors like strawberry, key lime pie, orange, lemon meringue, vanilla, and even chocolate covered strawberry and bananas foster.
And for those of you who want to add a little more flavor to your greek yogurt, you can try adding some granola (I really like the Nature Valley Oats and Dark Chocolate Protein Crunchy Granola) or you can add some fresh fruit.
4) Almonds (Or really any nut for that matter). They are high in those healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Eating nuts, specifically walnuts and almonds, has been known to reduce your risk of heart disease and possibly prevent Breast Cancer. I really like to buy the raw, natural almonds and I have a little snack size tin to keep them in so I’m getting the perfect serving size. A daily serving of almonds should be about 14 pieces.
5) Berries. These aren’t just something to top on our Greek yogurt or our oatmeal, but these are a great snack in themselves. Berries are packed with antioxidants and fiber. For those of you who workout, berries also help to improve the blood flow in your muscles.
6) Celery. Ever since I was a little kid, I heard that celery was the one food that you could eat and actually burn calories. Celery alone doesn’t have any calories and helps to decrease fluid retention while filling you up. Now for a more filling snack, a great pairing is always adding peanut butter (there’s some protein) to the celery.
Plus, if you want to channel your inner kid you can relive the ants on a log dish and add some raisins to your peanut butter and celery.
7) Pineapple. This should be my number one because this is one of my FAVORITE fruits. Not only can pineapple (and all fruits) help to satisfy that sweet tooth with the natural sugars, it contains bromelain which is actually a digestive enzyme that helps reduce gas. Other than just eating pineapple by itself, I like to dip it in cottage cheese to add some additional flavor and texture.
8) Grapefruit. This is a perfect summertime breakfast food. This is high in water content for hydration and contains Vitamin C which is important for that skincare because we all want to maintain that summer glow in our skin. Plus, many studies are showing that grapefruit promotes weight loss by lowering insulin levels and boosting metabolism.
You can cut the grapefruit in half and just dig your spoon in or for some added flavor many people add a little sugar to the grapefruit.
9) Apples. Not only does an apple a day keep the doctor away, but did you know that apples can help reduce cellulite? Because they are full of enzymes, they help break down the digestive process and eliminate fatty deposits in the digestive cells. And in addition to just taking a bite out of it, a delicious snack is cutting apples into pieces and dipping it in some peanut butter (adding some protein again).
10) Sushi. This one excites me because it gives us an excuse to indulge a little and go out. While many Asian cuisine dishes tend to be higher in sodium, sushi is a good low-calorie option. Well, it’s low-calorie as long as you pick the rolls that aren’t fried or covered in sauce. If you’re ordering sushi and want to say healthy, try sticking with the simple rolls, slimmer sashimi, and brown rice.
You can still give your taste buds some enjoyment while choosing healthier options and these 10 foods are just a small selection of those summer, motivating options that can help you stay on track to that bikini body. So have fun mixing and matching and remember to add color to your plate. It’s pleasing to the eye and will give your body the nutrients it needs.
Tell us which of Brynn’s top 10 do you have to “Just Have”?!