Dietitian offers tips to shape up for summer

The sun is shining and summer is fast approaching.

That means it’s time to shape up for the shorts, sleeveless shirts, swimsuits and sundresses that will be coming out of the closet.

More than half of Americans — 52 percent — say that recent warm weather has them more motivated to get in shape for summer, but one in five — 21 percent — Americans say that they do not know where to begin, according to a recent survey. Registered dietitian Tara Gidus offers these suggestions to help you shape up for summer:

• The kids are into sports, why not you? Join a tennis club or sports team. You will have fun, get fit and socialize all at the same time.

• Move a bit more. Go on a 15-minute walk during your lunch break or stand up and move in place while you are on the phone.

• Need an energy break? Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, move your major muscle groups.

Doing a set of lunges can increase oxygen to the brain and provide a natural pick-me-up that is better than a cup of coffee.

• Rise and shine. Breakfast is a must. You will feel more energetic if you fuel your brain by giving your body the food it desires.

• Eat light and often. Eat only what you need to sustain yourself for three or four hours, then follow up with a light snack to tide you over until the next meal or snack.

Healthy meals are available that are low in calories and will satisfy your craving for health and convenience. They are portion controlled and feature whole grains and fiber — perfect ways to keep you full and satisfied.

• Slow down. Food is meant to be enjoyed, so slow down and taste every bite.

• Color your plate. Fruits and veggies are colorful and add nutritional value to every meal without adding excess calories.

• Track your spending — not dollars but calories. People who keep a record of what they eat lose twice as much weight as people who don’t.

• Shrink your plate. Eating from a smaller plate will help to control portions.

• Save money by eating at home. Restaurant meals can have high calories along with high prices. Cook at home or bring your lunch to work to save time, money and fuel. By increasing your activity level, eating healthy foods and watching your calorie consumption, you will not only fit into your summer clothes, you will look great in them. Most importantly, you will feel better and be healthier.