In order to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories then you burn off during exercise. Even people who never count calories are often aware of the numbers. So what can a person eat for breakfast without sabotaging her diet? “All food aside from water has calories,” says Megan Ostler, MS, RD at iFit. “But there are nearly 0 calorie foods.” Skipping breakfast only leads to hunger and snacking later on. Ostler likes to use nearly 0 calorie foods (basically anything less than 25 calories) to add bulk to her morning meal without adding tons of calories. Try these tomorrow morning.
Mom always told you to eat your leafy green veggies and it’s time to start listening. The phytochemical composition of greens likes spinach may have potent effects against fat cells. Spinach is 7 calories per cup and offers vitamin K, calcium, potassium, zinc and selenium. These nutrients can help ward off hunger and stop snacking between meals. Create a breakfast salad with spinach (kale or collard greens work, too). Add anti-inflammatory almonds, tart cherries and some quinoa. You can even use larger leaves to make a breakfast wrap.
Red (yellow and orange) bell peppers are a sweet and crunchy vegetable that provides 240 percent of the recommended daily vitamin C. They’re loaded with fiber and one entire pepper has 31 calories. Cut it into sticks for dipping in hummus or stuff half with quinoa and lentils to deliver protein. And since we all love things that crunch, try celery. There are only 6 calories in each stalk along with vitamin K, vitamin A, folate and potassium. Plus you can consume a fairly high volume of celery without the risk of weight gain. Dip them in salsa or make some old-fashioned ants on a log using organic almond butter and golden raisins.
Berries make a great, sweet add-on to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and cereal. There’s no replacement for chocolate but berries are bursting with natural sweetness and you can eat way more of them without worrying about the scale. For example, one cup of slices strawberries is only 50 calories. All berries – blueberries, raspberries and blackberries – are high in polyphenols, micronutrients that combat cellular stress by slowing down and blocking the inflammatory response in the body. “Studies suggest raspberries may actually assist in weight loss because they contain compounds that could increase the production of leptin, the appetite suppressing hormone,” says Dr. Luiza Petre, MD, director of the Medi-Weightloss Clinics.
There is no food more upfront about itself than watermelon: it’s about 92% water. Eating it keeps you hydrated and studies show that eating foods high in water can help people feel more satisfied on fewer calories. Just ½-cup of the refreshing fruit is 25. Same goes for cantaloupe. The veggie version of watermelon is cucumber. It’s high in water, which helps your stomach feel full, and signals your brain not to binge on cookies. Think of munching on some cukes as another way of drinking a glass of H2O. There’s 10 calories in ½ cup. We like dipping them in low-fat Greek yogurt that’s been spiced up with dried oregano.