03/29/2013 08:08 EDT | Updated 05/29/2013 05:12 EDT

Five Ways to Spring Clean Your Diet

Spring has sprung! It's time to pack away the chunky knit sweaters and start getting ready for bikinis and sundresses. If you're feeling like your diet could use a little cleaning up before you're ready to bare it all, follow these tips and you'll be well on your way!

Set Yourself Up for Success

Our environment is one of the most powerful influences on what we choose to nosh on. Avoid temptation by leaving treats out of the house and stocking your pad with healthy grab-and-go snacks like nuts, fresh fruit, whole grain crackers and mini cheeses. If you've got a craving for ice cream, make it a date and go out and get it. No leftovers means you won't find yourself standing at the freezer, spoon in hand, just out of boredom. Out of sight, out of mind!

Say Goodbye to Sodium

Although we do need some sodium, too much will leave you feeling puffy and bloated. Sodium triggers our thirst mechanism and causes us to retain fluids. The majority of the sodium in our diet comes from packaged and processed foods. Pack your plate with fresh, whole foods that are naturally low in sodium like lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Go easy on sauces and use fresh herbs or citrus fruits to flavor your favorite dishes.

Veg Out

Pack your plate with vegetables, half of it to be exact. Not only are veggies packed with nutrients and other health promoting components, they are full of fiber which fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer after meals. Filling half of your plate with these nutrition power houses will help you manage portion sizes and still feel satisfied after meals.

Drink Up

As the weather heats up it's that much more important to pay attention to hydration. Dehydration can leave you feeling lethargic, nauseas and can even mask itself as hunger! Carry a refillable water bottle with you if you're always on the go. Tired of plain old water? Try adding berries or cucumber for a refreshing and low-cal thirst quencher.

Give it time

It takes your brain twenty minutes to recognize that it's full. Eat your food slowly and mindfully, paying attention to the taste and texture of your food. Not only will this leave you feeling more satisfied with the food you've had, it will help you not to overeat. Knowing that you can always go back for more will make it easier to dish up appropriate portion sizes.

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