Start getting summer ready now and reap the body benefits come May! (Photo courtesy of Denise Crew)
March is such a weird month. It is kind of spring, but the temperature outside tells you it is kind of not. Though we might be in weather limbo, bikini season will be here before you know it. To celebrate National Nutrition Month and help ease into the transition of shedding our winter layers, we chatted with Keri Gans, a New York registered dietician and author of The Small Change Diet on behalf of Thomas English Muffins and Bagels on how to make tiny changes to your diet for big results. Check out her tips below and tweak your eating habits today.
- Don’t skip meals. "You shouldn’t be thinking of what you should eliminate from your diet, you should be asking yourself, ‘What should I include?’” Gans says. For breakfast, she recommends almond butter on a Thomas 100% Whole Wheat Bagel Thin (only 110 calories per serving!), low-fat Greek yogurt (it doesn’t have to be fat-free), or cereal with fresh berries for fiber. Lunch should include some protein like chicken, shrimp or beans to keep you satisfied through the end of the day. For dinner, Gans says to learn to make sacrifices. “Fish is a great option for dinner, but if you want something fried, skip something else. Get the burger but don’t eat the bun or pass on the fries.”
- Snack a lot. “Think of snacks as mini-meals to get you to your next main meal,” Gans says. She recommends an option that is 200 calories or less, but make sure those calories matter. “A 200-calorie pack of cookies will not go as far as a healthier choice because it is all sugar. Instead, have a cup of nuts (about the size of a shot glass), a glass of chocolate milk, a slice of turkey on a bagel thin or a veggie burger on a Wasa Cracker with hummus – my personal favorite!”
- Prepare yourself. In order to transform your eating habits, you have to build your meals and plan ahead of time. Gans recommends going food shopping when you’re not hungry with a list and making sure to stick to the list exactly (even if cookies are on sale!). If you’re eating out, look at the menu online first and figure out what you are going to eat. If the selection is one big calorie bomb, suggest another place for you to meet your friends.
- Eat a snack before you go out to dinner. On the note of eating out, Gans strongly advises snacking before your dinner date. “Snacks serve to offset calories later. By having a snack before you go, you’ll resist the temptation of the bread basket later.”
- Carbs are your friend. People have a love or hate relationship with carbs, and there is rarely an in between. You do need carbs for energy, but rather than stick to bread, Gans says to get them in forms of whole grains, fruit or beans.
- Start scooping! When the craving for an old fashioned bagel does come up, scratch the itch but first scoop the middle of your bagel out. You’re cutting out half the calories while leaving yourself plenty to eat. If you don’t have the willpower, tell the bagel shop to do it for you. You’d be surprised how often they get that request!