Fourth of July is around the corner, and I know you want to be strutting down the pool deck or playing in the sand with lots of confidence. Everyone seems to always be saying "I want to get that beach body" or "I'm trying to lose weight to look good in my swimsuit", but often, they give up after a bit and it just becomes a forgotten dream. But it doesn't have to be that way – these 7 swaps are the easiest way to ensure you look and, more importantly, feel your best this summer. 

Swap Butter with Olive Oil 

Unlike butter that contains saturated fats, which can lead to cancer and heart disease, olive oil contains healthy unsaturated fats that have been found to lower cholesterol levels and possibly benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control. Insulin "increases the storage of fat in fat cells and prevents fat cells from releasing fat for energy", and we definitely don't want that. Cooking with olive oil, and spreading it on bread, sweet potatoes, and more is a much better choice than doing so with butter.  

Swap Skippy or Jif for Real Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of those common kitchen items that can slyly pack the weight on you. This is unfortunate, because it's one of my all-time favorite foods. The key with peanut butter and other nut butters, like almond butter, is to eat them in moderation (they're highly caloric) and buy the right stuff. Your typical jar of Skippy contains added sugar and hydrogenated oils, which is evidently bad for you in large quantities. Try buying the peanut butter with only one ingredient – peanuts. Besides the health factor, peanut butter is delicious without all of the added nonsense, I promise.

Swap White Rice and Pasta for Zoodles and Cauliflower Rice

Zoodles and cauli-rice are awesome low-carb and lower-calorie alternatives to pasta and rice. What makes them so magical is that they taste pretty bland, similar to pasta and rice, so they'll absorb the flavor of whatever sauce you choose to put on them, such as pesto or tomato sauce. Add protein to your zoodle or cauli-rice dish for a more filling effect.

Swap Soda for Fruity Seltzer Water 

As you may know already, soda is filled with sugar. A can of Coca-Cola contains a whopping 35 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women. Research has shown that excess sugar in one's diet turns into fat, which is evidently not conducive to getting that beach bod. The answer? Flavored seltzer water. You still get the carbonation and  flavor, without the sugar.

Swap Processed Sugar for Dates

More and more these days, dates are being used to sweeten cakes, smoothies, and more. This is a great move because dates contain natural sugar, which is healthier than processed because it contains more of the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Furthermore, your body metabolizes the sugar in fruit differently and more efficiently than how it metabolizes the refined sugar added to processed foods.

Swap Regular Pancakes for Paleo Pancakes

banana, strawberry, syrup
Elizabeth Faile

How yummy do these pancakes look? You probably won't believe me when I tell you they were made with just bananas and eggs. Unbelievable, right? These pancakes are low-carb and filled with protein to keep you full and energized for the day ahead. Add vanilla extract and cinnamon to the pancake mixture to add even more guilt-free deliciousness.

Swap Ice Cream with Nice Cream

coffee, espresso, milk, mocha, cream, ice, cappuccino, chocolate
Madeleine Stein

Yes, that's right, the "ice cream" above is really just made from frozen bananas blended with almond milk. The bananas add sweetness and the almond milk makes it oh-so-creamy. Let me tell you, this stuff is unbelievably tasty. If you like peanut butter, I highly suggest putting a scoop of peanut butter in the blender, to make a decadent peanut butter and banana nice cream. This is one of my favorite desserts.

I can guarantee you that using these food and drink swaps will aid you in your goal to look beach body ready come time to hit the pool or beach this summer. I'd also like to make clear, however, that you should be happy with and proud of your body no matter how it looks – beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.