Welcome to Pink Lemonade's Weight Loss Wednesday!
We all know the basic rules for weight loss... eat less, move more... but what you eat is important too. Replace some of your less nutritious food choices with these beauties and you just might see that scale moving downward.
Watermelon - Did you know that almost half of a watermelon is actually water?... Watermelon is fat free, is a great source of vitamins A, B6, C, and thiamine and is loaded with lycopene (it has about 40% more than raw tomatoes!). Not only is watermelon nutritious, it's high in fiber too - which is always good for both the digestive system and your weight loss efforts.
Grass-Fed Beef - Almost all beef you purchase in the supermarket today is feed-lot beef, that is they're stuffed full of corn, protein supplements, antibiotics and other hormones (It would take too long to raise a cow from its 80lb birth weight to about 1,200lbs in a year on merely grass). Grass-fed beef is not only lower in overall fat and in saturated fat, but it has the added advantage of providing more good omega-3 fats. Meat from grass-fed cattle is also up to four times higher in vitamin E than meat from feed-lot cattle, and much higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been shown to reduce fat and preserve muscle tissue.
Low-Fat and Fat-Free Dairy Products -The combination of nutrients found in dairy, most notably calcium, may be responsible for helping the body break down and burn fat. A recent study published in Obesity Research showed that people who followed a reduced-calorie diet and consumed 3 servings of milk, cheese or yogurt daily lost significantly more weight and fat than those who only cut calories while eating little or no dairy. In addition to the weight loss benefits, your bones could always use the extra calcium, so add some low-fat string cheese or a glass of milk to your daily snack.
Soup - Begin your lunch and/or dinner with a bowl of soup. Research has shown that a low-calorie, broth-based soup at the beginning of the meal will fill you up so you eat less of the entree, which, in turn will drop those pesky pounds. A great summer alternative to the hot, broth-based soups, would be a gazpacho or, maybe, cucumber-dill that contain lots of chunky vegetables are a great way to start a meal... what about a cold watermelon soup with chunks of mango or strawberries and kiwi??...
Nuts and seeds - Nuts are naturally high in protein and they also contain "good" fats, so they will make you feel full longer. All nuts are healthy, but there are some that are better at what they do than others. Walnuts and Brazil Nuts are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Peanuts provide the most complete protein and the amino acid lysine. Peanuts are also rich in antioxidant polyphenols, just like those found in berries. Studies at Loma Linda University in California found that eating nuts five times a week (approximately two ounces per day) lowered participants' blood cholesterol levels by 12 percent. Walnuts were used, but similar results have been reported with almonds and peanuts. So next time you're feeling those hunger pangs, grab a handful of nuts (put them in a bowl, don't eat from the package) and, as long as you keep your consumption to the recommended amount, you'll find nuts are a huge help in your weight loss and your overall health.
Spicy Foods - Quite often, if you're eating spicy foods, you will find you're satisfied with less. Researchers think that the capsaicin (the compound in chilies that give the kick) may help rev-up your metabolism. An added plus - you're drinking lots more water to wash it down!
Smoothies - Nope, not the ones from the smoothie shops (although they may have some good all-fruit choices). I'm talking about home-made ones, packed with all things good for you - like frozen fruits and berries, some low or non-fat yogurt and maybe a scoop of protein powder. Not only will a good quality smoothie pack a ton of nutrients into your glass, it has lots of volume and that, plus the protein powder will keep you full longer.
Green Tea - It boosts your metabolism and helps to oxidize the fat that's stored in your body. Green tea helps to regulate your blood sugar so you're less likely to get those peaks and drops in energy levels. An added benefit to drinking green tea is that it's loaded with antioxidants, naturally contains fluorides so it's healthy for your teeth and the compound theanine helps to calm your nerves. So, drink up - 5 cups per day is the optimum amount to see results.
Breakfast Cereals - Research has shown that people who eat breakfast have an easier time controlling their weight than those who skip their morning meal. Begin your day with a healthy bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit. Look for cereals that are low in sugar, and high in fiber.
Veggies - I can't say this enough... increase your veggie intake! Summer is almost here and there are wonderful assortments of fresh, local veggies available at your grocers and farmer's markets. Try some you've never had before... or maybe, try one you have had before and didn't like - maybe it was just prepared the wrong way - try a new way. Yearning for pasta?... reach for a spaghetti squash instead and top with your favorite pasta sauce. Grill up a whole batch of veggies and turn them into a grilled-veggie salad or maybe put them on some great crusty whole-grain bread with a little low-fat cheese, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil... yummy!
Sneaking these little tricks into your weight loss efforts should be no trouble at all, and before you know it, you'll be ready for the beach in that new swimsuit!