There are so many choices to make when it comes to food. And the diet that works for one friend might not suit your lifestyle or level of willpower. We’re not fans of totally banning any food group but there is benefit in eating selectively. If you want to modify your diet and scale back on carbs, it’s important that the carbs you do keep eating come with healthy benefits. “Although they may not immediately come to mind when planning a low-carb diet, fruits fit in,” says Rebecca Lewis, a dietician at HelloFresh. You need carbs to help your body create energy to burn calories. Try to make fruit a part of every meal or snack.
This is not permission to drink juice. Whole fruit has lots of benefits that are lost when it’s in liquid form. Citrus varieties like grapefruits and oranges are high in vitamin C with only about 70 calories in an entire fruit. Studies have found that people with ample vitamin C levels have smaller waist-to-hip ratios and burn more fat during cardio exercises. You also want to avoid dried fruits. “These are a huge calorie pit,” says Andrea Wise, a Chicago-based trainer and nutrition coach. You probably add dried fruits to salad, oatmeal and yogurt, or snack on a handful. That’s fine. But they contain so much natural sugar that your calorie intake can skyrocket so be careful.
So what fruit should you eat? Berries are an excellent choice because they are bursting with natural sweetness and you can eat way more of them without worrying about the scale. For example, ¼-cup of raspberries is 15 calories, ¼-cup of blueberries is 20 calories and a ½-cup of strawberries is 25 calories. All berries are high in polyphenols, micronutrients that combat cellular stress by slowing down and blocking the inflammatory response in the body. Berries have a high fiber- and a low sugar-content compared to other fruits. For example, raspberries and blackberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup!
Another bonus: Berries have lots of water to battle bloat. The water and fiber help food move through your system quickly before you suffer from gas and puffiness. “Studies suggest berries 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. When you can’t find fresh, try frozen! Fruit from the freezer maintains all health benefits and flavor. We like using frozen fruit in smoothies or heating up a half cup in the microwave and pouring it all over oatmeal.
Melons, specifically watermelon and honeydew, rank as some of the lowest carbs per serving, says Lewis. Plus they have the highest water content of all melons to keep your body hydrated and feeling satisfied. Watermelon is 93 percent water (a natural diuretic that helps you drop pounds)! Foods that are loaded with sodium lead to bloating, but you can relive that with the potassium in pineapple as well as bananas. All fruit is naturally sweet and pairs wonderfully with spicy foods. We like to use watermelon to make a salad with feta cheese and mint leaves. Pineapple is delicious when grilled and sprinkled with a touch of sea salt. Or chop it into fine pieces along with red pepper for a sweet and spicy salsa.