No one wants to feel like they’ve been restricted to eating only “diet food”. It sounds unappealing. Instead, think of it as eating more healthy and helpful foods while reducing the processed junk. When you feel full you’re less likely to partake in excessive snacking. Plus our bodies need protein, good fats and fiber for basic key functions from building and repairing tissues to producing hormones. These foods get you the nutrients you need to slim down. They’re also packed with flavor for fewer calories. Combine smart eating with consistent exercise and you’re well on your way to loving the scale again.
We loooove pasta but let us clarify. We love really, really good pasta. If it comes from a box, we’ll pass. It’s not worth the possible extra lbs. Grain bowls have replaced our giant portions of store-bought spaghetti. “Whole grains reduce fat and takes inches off your waist because they’re absorbed into the blood stream at a slow pace,” says weight loss expert Dr. Rachita Reddy, MD. Barley and other whole grains like brown rice, bulgur and steel-cut oats are loaded with fiber that prevents inflammation and a sugar spike. “Without that sugar spike the sugar in your body isn’t convert to and stored as fat,” she says. “Fiber also helps to boost metabolism,” says Brooke Zigler, a registered dietician in Austin, Texas. Plus, all of that fiber in your belly actually absorbs calories and fat from other foods before it settles on and expands your rear end.
"The best foods to eat are high in protein and good fats, which keep your blood sugar steady and provide energy from nutrient-dense sources that will keep you satiated,” says culinary nutrition expert, Andrea Wien. She has deemed our most favorite protein in the world the one of the best options: eggs! “The egg is a nearly perfect food and it's a powerhouse in terms of nutrition, clocking in at 7 grams of protein plus a good dose of vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory omega-3s,” she says. Eggs aren’t just for breakfast. Keep hard-boiled eggs on hand and bring a couple to work for a snack. Add two sunny side up eggs to a big salad for dinner and top it with red peppers, lentils and feta cheese.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Cook with extra virgin olive oil. Use it along with fresh lemon juice to make salad dressing. Drizzle a little on to Greek yogurt along with dried herbs for a savory snack. EVOO has been shown to significantly blunt the inflammatory response following high fat meals. Rachel Swanson, a RDN at Lifespan Medicine, says people who include it in their diets may have better success at shedding excess pounds. “But remember to take into account the amount of calories oil contains before liberalizing the pour of this golden elixir,” she says. “If you’re looking for improvements on the scale, then a caloric deficit still needs to be achieved at the end of the day no matter what your diet may entail!” Note: Don’t soak vegetables in oil – always use a light touch!
Get familiar with the seafood section of your supermarket. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout, herring, albacore tuna and sardines are especially healthy because they are great sources of anti-inflammatory omega- 3 fatty acids. We’re not trying to malign other types of seafood. Fish such as cod, halibut, snapper, shrimp and scallops are also excellent sources of protein, but without the omega-3 bonus. And it’s not difficult to prepare. Season a salmon filet with sea salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil then bake it on the oven until it’s cooked through. Serve it on a bed of kale and add a squeeze of fresh lemon.
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. Brainstorm creative ways you can add more citrus to your diet. Try peeling a clementine and adding it to salad or snacking on it along with a handful of almonds. Add a few segments of grapefruit to avocado toast or make citrus salsa for your baked fish tacos.