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Get rid of those extra calories for your summer body

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Although it may not feel like it just yet, summer is right around the corner. Summer weather means spending time more time outdoors, as well as dropping those last few pounds. This means cutting calories and extra time working out. Fortunately, cutting calories is easier than many people think. Here are four ways to cut unwanted calories from your diet, and increase the number of nutrients in your diet as well.

Replace pasta with spaghetti squash: When cooked, spaghetti squash looks just like spaghetti. Use it in place of noodles, top it with sauce, a protein source, or other veggies just as you would a normal pasta dish. This will cut calories, and add an extra serving or two of vegetables to your diet.

To cook, spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place face down on the tray. Cook on high at 350 degrees for an hour. The squash is ready when the flesh starts to turn a bit brown. Use a fork to scrape out the flesh and enjoy.

Replace flavored yogurt with plain yogurt: Flavored yogurt, even the varieties with fruit, have added sugars. If you need some flavor to your yogurt, add fresh fruit to save some calories and get some added nutrients.

Replace instant oatmeal with regular oatmeal: Same as flavored yogurt, instant oatmeal contains added sugar. Regular oatmeal does take a bit longer to cook, but you can add to it for flavor. Milk, fruit, dried fruit and nuts are all great additions to oatmeal, and they will help keep you full longer.

Use Italian, Balsamic, or Vinaigrette dressing on salads: Most dressings contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. These three options get most of their calories and flavor from healthy fats, seasonings and natural flavor sources. There are a wide variety of brands and flavors to choose from to prevent boredom. Just be sure to avoid any creamy varieties.

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