Ten steps to slim down for summer

Summer is right around the corner. Here are some tips to get slim before swimsuit season from Parents magazine:

1. Snooze to lose. If you can nab just 30 additional minutes of shut-eye a day, it may help you ward off extra pounds because sleep deprivation can masquerade as hunger.

2. Eat off your child’s plate. Don’t pick at leftover chicken fingers from your child’s plate; use a kid-sized dish to help cut calories from your own meals.

3. Use a plate and sit when you eat. “People eat 20 percent more food out of a box or bag than if they pour the amount they want into a bowl,” said Brian Wansink, Ph.D., author of “Mindless Eating.”

4. Avoid hanging out In the kitchen. It’s the focal point of most homes, but if you spend all your time in a room full of food, you’ll want to eat. If everyone seems to gravitate to the kitchen, remove any junk food from the counter and put it in a cabinet to avoid temptation.

5. Eat like a child. Children are perfectly attuned to hunger cues — they know when they need to eat and they stop when they’re full. Get reacquainted with your body’s signals and you will slim down.

6. Fill up on fiber. This weight loss weapon helps you ditch pounds because it fills you up for fewer calories, says Melinda Johnson, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Great sources of fiber include: fruits, veggies, small portions of nuts and whole grain cereals.

7. Beware of trans fats. You’ve probably avoiding giving your child food containing partially hydrogenated oil (trans fats) ever since you first heard it’s the worst fat for the heart. If it’s not good for your kids, it’s not good for you either. Cut the trans fats out of your diet.

8. Sip your way slimmer. If a fancy coffee is your go-to drink when you need a pick-me up, make sure you know how many calories are lurking in your cup. Add- ins such as while milk, sugar and flavored syrup are not diet-friendly.

9. Sneak mini-workouts into your day. When it comes to blasting calories, doing several short bursts of exercise is just as effective as sweating through one long workout. Ramp up your metabolism by jogging for five minutes, followed by five minutes of strength moves and another five of crunches.

10. Munch on kid-sized cuisine. If you’ve never met a bag of chips or cookies you couldn’t polish off in one sitting, try noshing on foods that come in child-size portions so you don’t go overboard. Stash a few in your purse or desk drawer.