Padma Lakshmi

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Swimsuit season is officially here. So if you're anything like us, you've been racing to the gym to shed the last of those cold-weather pounds.

But a simple workout routine won't cut out—a well-balanced diet is a must as well.

Not sure what to eat to keep your bod in tip-top shape this season? We caught up with Top Chef star, cookbook author and expert chef Padma Lakshmi in New York City to catch her three rules on what to eat to stay healthy this summer. 

Here's what we learned:

1. Eat Plenty of Berries and Melons: "Melon and berries have a lot of fiber in them, so they tend to fill you up," she says. "So for example, instead of saving berries for dessert, eat them throughout the day to keep you full."

2. Save Bread For Last: Believe it or not, the order in which you eat a meal is crucial to maintaining a higher metabolism. We tend to eat our breads and rolls before a meal, but that's not always best. "It's healthy to eat the protein first, the vegetables second and the carbs last because carbs are basically sugar, which makes your glycemic index spike," she says. "That yo yo-ing effect is what is bad for your metabolism."

3. Eat Chocolate: Good news—you don't have to give up chocolate to be healthy. "Love chocolate? That's ok. A small piece of dark chocolate will suffice that craving," she says. "Just skip the cake or pies come dessert time, which are loaded with sugar."

Awesome! We'll keep these healthy tips in mind all summer long.

How do you get in shape for swimsuit season?

PHOTOS: See healthy meal delivery services loved by celebs

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