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Summer time calories!

It's just easier to make better food choices in summertime, when heavy, high-calorie dishes seem less appealing. The best foods for weight loss in summer are light, refreshing and, most important, keep you out of the hot kitchen.

The single easiest way to trim calories from your summer diet, experts say, is to load up on nature’s bounty. Produce is at its peak in summer. Delicious fruits and vegetables abound at farmers' markets and in your local grocery. Besides being low in calories, produce is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Eat fresh produce in season. Save the oranges and apples for fall, and load up on fresh berries, melons, greens, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, beets, pea pods, and all the super-nutritious and low-calorie fruits, greens and vegetables that grow in the garden this time of year.

To keep your cool and cut your time in the kitchen, start with prepared produce, such as cut-up fruit and washed greens. Add rotisserie chicken, prepared soups, and pre-threaded kabobs when you need something a bit heartier. Pre-prepped foods may cost a little extra, but they save time in the kitchen. 

Here are dietitian's picks for some of the best foods to help with weight loss during the summer.

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 1: Chilled Soups
I love all kind of produce but says cold soups are among my favorite low-calorie dishes.  Chilled soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are a great way to start a meal.
Research shows that a low-calorie, broth-based soup at the beginning of the meal will fill you so you eat less at the meal.

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 2: Watermelon
Who doesn’t love diving into a crisp, juicy slice of watermelon when it's hot outside?
Half of the watermelon comes from water. …It’s a wonderful way to satisfy thirst and ½ a cup has only 46 calories!

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 3: Grilled Veggies
A plate of grilled vegetables is a summertime must-have.  Keep onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and garlic in your fridge. You can use them to make dishes like:

  1. Grilled vegetable and goat cheese salads
  2. Grilled vegetable pitas
  3. Grilled vegetable, ricotta, and fresh herb pasta and frittatas

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 4: Salads
Salads make for quick, healthy meals -- with no recipes required.
Just give the produce a quick rinse; slice, dice, toss fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, a handful of toasted nuts with some salad greens and a light raspberry or ginger vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll, and you have a meal in minutes. OR go naked like dressing at all, just a little fruit or lemon juice!

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 5: Low- and No-Calorie Beverages
Smoothies, sweetened specialty coffee drinks, sweetened teas and sodas -- they all go down so easily, especially when it's hot outside. But the calories add up just as easily.
Drinks can be SOOOO dangerous during summertime because we need to drink lots of liquids to stay cool, but liquids quench thirst and don’t usually impact our hunger!   

  • Root Beer or Orange Dream Float.  1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt in 12 ounces of diet root beer or orange soda (100 calories)
  • Tart Lemon Pom Spritzer. 12 ounces of lemon sparkling water mixed with the juice of 1 lemon and 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, served over ice (35 calories)
  • Large Ice Skim Latte from Starbucks (130 calories)
  • White Wine Spritzer. 5 ounces white wine mixed with 3 ounces lemon/lime seltzer water (120 calories)

Best Summer Weight Loss Food No. 6: Fruit-Based Desserts
Blizzards and Sundaes and Mcflurries OH MY! All of the ice cream treats are so tempting on a hot day, butt they do not help your bottom line! (It’s okay to indulge every now and then, just avoid the extra large size....)
I suggest:

  • Grilled banana sundaes made with low-fat ice cream
  • Grilled white peaches with blackberries and honey
  • Frozen, dark, sweet cherries
  • Frozen grapes
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