What are you craving right this second? We want crispy bacon topped with caramel popcorn and maple syrup. If we knew one bite would be enough, we’d go for it. But that’s the problem with cravings: it’s hard to stop. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in favorite foods. The key is to make sure you have eaten a well-balanced meal of healthy, filling, and anti-inflammatory foods before you dig in. Eating treats after you’ve prepped will help to prevent over-indulging that leads to weight gain.
There is nothing quite like an avocado. It’s a delicious, versatile, satisfying and anti-inflammatory fruit. “The healthy fats in avocado decrease your appetite and supply your body with a healthy balance of minerals,” says Dr. Marizelle Arce, a naturopathic physician. Avocados have fiber and monounsaturated fat to keep the belly feeling full, aid digestion and increase the absorption of nutrients. A 2013 study in the Nutrition Journal was way ahead of the avocado toast trend. Researchers found that people who ate avocados on the regular had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t. We’re sold. If eating something we already adore can help us slim down, it’s a win-win situation. Add avocado to smoothies for a creamy texture, spread it on fiber-filled toast with Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey and a pinch of sea salt, or slice a few pieces on top of eggs. You can even use half an avocado in its skin as a bowl. Place a poached egg inside then spice it up with sriracha.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews and sunflower seeds, are packed with protein (about 4 to 7 grams per ounce), fiber and heart-healthy fats. Walnuts are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids. Melissa Groves, an RD at Avocado Grove Nutrition & Wellness, says a recent study showed that people who ate walnuts felt less hunger and had better impulse control when exposed to tempting foods. “Other studies have shown that people who eat nuts weigh less than people who don't, even though they eat more calories overall,” she says. “They were also less likely to gain weight over time.” All nuts and seeds are great for making pesto and sauces, for blending into smoothies, adding to salads and layering on to yogurt and oatmeal.
It’s no secret how much we love eggs and Julie Andrews, The Gourmet RD, agrees with us. “Is there anything as satisfying as a super-runny, fresh yolky egg?” she asks. “It’s, like, nature’s perfect sauce, and eggs automatically make whatever you put them on breakfast.” One egg has 7 grams of protein plus vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory omega-3. Eggs keep your blood sugar steady and provide nutrient-dense energy to keep you satiated. Eating eggs (the yolk included!) any time of day is a delicious and simple way to advance your weight loss goals. We love to cook meals once and eat them for days. These egg cups from Andrews are the perfect fit. Take a muffin pan and fill each cup with a wanton wrapper. Place your ingredients in the cups – kale, chickpeas, barley, broccoli, and sweet potato – anything! The final step is cracking a fresh egg over each cup and then baking the entire pan. Keep extras in the fridge. An egg cup and an apple make a nice afternoon snack.
This sweet and spicy, anti-inflammatory food aids digestion and helps metabolize excess adipose tissue (that’s a fancy word for fat). “Ginger also decreases hunger and bloating,” says Dr. Arce. A little ginger goes a long way so use it in moderation. Always buy the root fresh and grate or finely chop it. You probably think of it as savory dinner ingredient, but trust us you’ll realize it’s the missing piece of your morning. Add ginger to fruit smoothies and juices. We love an avocado and mango smoothie with coconut milk and ginger. Or make a classic cup of fresh carrot juice and add pep with ginger. Try a hearty fruit salad with chunks of grilled pineapple and peaches. Add some red grapes, blackberries, and a dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt. Grate fresh ginger on top! It’s also a healthier alternative to honey. We love dipping fresh fruit slices into honey but realize that’s just adding extra sugar. So we tried grating a bit of fresh ginger onto apple slices and haven’t looked back. Oatmeal is another fabulous vehicle for ginger. Prep it with vanilla almond milk, add shredded coconut, grated apple and fresh tart cherries.