Eliminate this! Avoid that! Way too often weight-loss diets seem to revolve around these temporary tactics. But some foods can help you peel off the pounds by eating them rather than deleting them. Incorporate these sumptuous “loser” foods into your cuisine to help you win at losing.
Get cracking! New findings from a University of Connecticut study will have you dropping that doughy bagel for good and picking up a plate of eggs. The study concluded that choosing eggs for breakfast can help adults manage hunger while reducing calorie consumption throughout the day. And findings from a University of Kansas Medical Center study suggest that teens are less hungry and eat fewer calories at lunch when they choose a protein-rich breakfast. In fact, the protein-rich egg is the original perfectly-portioned food at just 75 calories a pop—including the yolk.
Tip: Always eat breakfast. Try this one on for size. Prepare one organic egg over-easy in 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and season to taste. Serve on a slice of whole grain toast, top with fresh baby arugula, and squirt with fresh lemon juice. 200 calories. (1 egg = 75 calories.)
It’s okay to be a little nutty. Nut eaters tend to have lower body-fat levels. But not all nuts are created equal. One of the best picks: pistachios. Call them the “skinny nuts.” Pistachios have a significant amount of protein, healthy fat and dietary fiber, all of which can boost your feeling of fullness and the length of time it takes before you get those pesky hunger pangs. Plus, UCLA researchers studied overweight adults who were able to lose the equivalent of 10–12 pounds over three months by cutting 500 calories and adding an afternoon 3-ounce in-shell pistachio snack.
Tip: Choose in-shell pistachios instead of those already shelled. They take longer to eat, slowing consumption time. Empty pistachio shells act as a key visual cue, encouraging “mindfulness” as one eats, ultimately curbing calorie consumption. 30 pistachios = 100 calories.
3. Pizza Slice
Okay, so this idea is a bit of a stretch. Or is it? A large slice of plain cheese pizza on a thin or hand-tossed crust is a just-right portion for dieters. Pile on lots of fresh veggies, and it’s a nutritiously-balanced entree. Nutrition experts say that planning favorite foods into a healthful meal plan is a key for long-term weight management. Even the American Dietetic Association suggests pizza can be a nutritious pick! And in a brand new British Journal of Nutrition published study, researchers found that including water, coffee, tea, diet soda, fruit, soup, cereal, pasta, and, yes, pizza in the diet weren’t associated with higher calorie intakes and, in some cases, were connected to lower overall calorie intakes.
Tip: Savor a cheese or veggie hand-tossed or thin crust pizza slice instead of overindulging in one (or more) meaty, way-too-greasy deep dish or thick crust pieces. One large slice of a 14-inch hand-tossed cheese pizza provides about 240 calories. Make it a veggie slice and you’ll add just 10 calories—plus lots more interest, satisfaction and a big nutritional boost.
4. Green Tea
Sip yourself slim. In a Phytochemistry published review of green tea health research, it’s been shown that drinking green tea daily can be beneficial for good health, including weight management. It’s mainly due to its catechins, which are plant compounds with antioxidant properties. A recent Korean study conducted on obese mice suggests that green tea EGCG, a particular catechin, effectively reduces body fat. What’s more, a French study found that after moderately obese patients (humans) consumed green tea extract for three months, body weight decreased by 4.6 percent. All together, refreshing news!
Tip: Drink a cup of unsweetened green tea daily. Consider eating it, too. For instance, poach chicken in green tea when making chicken salad or use green tea to replace some of the oil in vinaigrette. Try other flavor varieties, too, like jasmine green tea. One cup unsweetened green tea = 0 calories.
5. Beet Juice
Need energy? UK-conducted research published in Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that beet juice boosts stamina. Nitrate, a nutrient found naturally in beet juice, seems to make exercise less exhausting. In fact, it might actually help you exercise for 16 percent longer. The longer you’re able to exercise, the more body fat you’re able to burn, of course. Though this study was conducted on men, I think it’s worth a shot for us ladies! But you can’t just drink beet juice to get these potential effects. You do need to exercise.
Tip: Since beet juice isn’t readily available, simply eat beets. Roast a beet in your microwave oven like you might a potato; peel, cool and slice; and splash it with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy as is or toss onto your favorite salad. 1 beet = 35 calories.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so goes the saying. But will it keep the dietitian away? It might! When it comes to fruit, eating it whole rather than drinking or eating it pureed as a sauce is a key to satiety – that feeling of fullness so important when trying to stick to a reduced-calorie eating plan. Results of a Pennsylvania State University study published in Appetite, found this to indeed be the case. Additionally, eating an apple at the beginning of lunch led to a 15 percent calorie drop at that meal. Now that’s something to take a bite out of!
Tip: Hide the candy dish and keep a bowl of apples in sight. I call that the “see food” diet. Nibble an apple a day at the beginning of the meal in which you tend to eat the most calories. 1 apple = 90 calories.
Eat chocolate, lose weight. Really! There’s now research suggesting that eating your favorite “guilty pleasure” may in fact help you slim down, guilt-free. A study published in Appetite concluded that confronting temptations (i.e. eating chocolate) doesn’t necessarily undermine self control and may help you meet your long-term goals (i.e. lose weight).
Tip: Purposely plan chocolate into your weight-loss endeavors. After you exercise, enjoy 1 ounce of chocolate to help to replenish your energy supply while helping you reach your weight loss goals. 1-ounce bar Seeds of Change Organic Dark Chocolate = 140 calories.
Updated on September 11, 2010