04/03/2014 06:33 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Spring Cleaning: Healthy Lifestyle Tips

With summer approaching fast, the mindset to get "bikini ready" becomes obsessive.

But hey -- here's an idea.

How about making a few small changes all year long so that your lifestyle is more healthful, rather than just focusing on summer as the goal? While some of these suggestions may be reminders, they are easy and they work. Trust me -- it will go a lot further to make small changes over time than to try for quick makeovers!


1. Measuring is precise:
Knowing exactly what you are adding to your recipes or what a portion of your food item consists of is necessary! When you see how much you are putting in, it makes you more aware.

2. Keep the sweets away:
It's better to not have anything "on hand" because you'll likely exceed portion sizes unless you practice tip #1. I suggest buying when craving, i.e., if you feel like a cookie today, get one today and try to eat half today and save the other half for another time.

3. Sleep:
Yes, you heard me. When your body is tired, it craves more calories. It needs energy to operate. So that means you eat more. Focus on getting the rest your body needs.

4. Be natural:
Try to avoid the processed items. Instead of fruit juice, have a piece of fruit. How about brown rice over white rice?

5. Eat regular balanced meals:
Planning to eat every few hours is a great way to regulate intake and avoid binging. On most days, try to practice this.

6. Incorporate less sugar:
Try to consume items with less sugars per tablespoon or per serving. For example, if you like jam on toast, try apple butter or make your own jam.

7. Grocery shop when full:
You've heard this one before. If you shop when hungry, maybe you'll want everything?! Temptation is trouble, my friend. Make a list before hand and shop when you aren't famished.

8. Pile up on good fat:
The good fats are good for you. You've heard about the recent mashed avocado on toast? Adding avocado to sandwiches or a salad is a great way to achieve satiety. (Avocado is just one example of a good fat. Here are others!)

9. Salad dressing is not your friend:
Read the labels! There could be hidden ingredients. How about making your own? Oil and herbed vinegar is tasty and healthy.

Make your own herb vinegar:
-- Taking a glass bottle or jar
-- Fill it with your desired variety of fresh herbs
-- Add 1 quart of cider vinegar, red-wine vinegar or white vinegar
-- Cap it and keeping it aside in a cool, dark place for about three weeks

10. Plan ahead:
If you grill chicken on Monday, set aside some for Tuesday or Wednesday and make a salad with it or add it to a whole wheat wrap. Many times with just one or two ingredients you can make the staple for a few meals.

Do you have a tip that I haven't mentioned? If so, drop a line! I'd love to hear what works for you.