Bonus: Save money by choosing meals that use in-season produce and combining your meals with your local grocery store’s sales flyer. And don’t forget about leftovers! Use them to create new meals (for instance, make a stir-fry with leftover cooked meats and veggies) or have a weekly night where all the leftovers get put out and everyone in the family can eat their favorites again.
“Salsa is low in calories and tastes great on all kinds of healthy foods (vegetables, salads, poultry, and fish). It has antioxidants, such as lycopene, which aid in cellular health. Use salsa in place of other high-calorie dips such as hummus, onion dips, and cheese dips and you’re guaranteed to cut calories,” says Ellis. Make your own at home with this easy recipe for roasted corn salsa.
You don’t need to bust out the measuring cups to properly portion out your food: A serving size of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards or the size of the palm of your hand. Your entire fist should be the size of a serving of veggies (although the more, the better!). A serving of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, should be the size of your thumb. Your carb serving should be no bigger than what can fit in your cupped hand. For other ways to eyeball your proper serving sizes, check out What the Perfect Food Portion Sizes Actually Look Like.
No, I’m not talking about fast food … in fact, please cut out ANY fast food, which relies on terrible ingredients and excessive sodium, from your diet. But simply speaking, there are going to be times that you are in a situation where you are in a position to eat something that is usually “off-the-menu” for healthy eating. So, instead of binging on these foods, keep your goals in mind and nibble on smaller amounts.
“Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
Delicious, full of antioxidants, AND they help you to lose weight? Tomatoes are definitely among our favourite fat-fighting foods. Tomatoes have been found to reduce inflammation and water retention in the body, as well as reversing leptin resistance. Leptin is a type of protein which helps to regulate metabolic rate and appetite, so our bodies rely on it to shed those extra pounds.
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To prep his patients for success, Dr. Seltzer tells them to plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch—NBD since most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full, he says. Research suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
“Mushrooms’ meaty flavor and texture make them great additions to ground meat dishes such as hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, and the like,” Zeratsky says. Because they hold up to cooking, mushrooms can even serve as beef substitutes for vegans and vegetarians. Research has even found subbing out meat with mushrooms for one meal a day can prompt significant weight loss because you’re consuming less fat and fewer calories. “They add flavor and moisture as well as fiber—stretching recipes to make them more economic, lower in calories, and more nutritious,” she adds.
“The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it’s like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!” — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs
While we’re on the subject of water, why not throw a few lemon slices into the hydrating and satiating beverage? In addition to adding a pop of color and flavor to a tall glass of H2O, lemon can also help encourage weight loss. Just one of the bright citrus fruits contains an entire day’s worth of vitamin C, a nutrient that has the power to reduce levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that triggers hunger and fat storage. Additionally, lemons also contain polyphenols, which researchers say may ward off fat accumulation and weight gain.