At The Hungry Heart, we know how difficult it can be to keep from emotionally overeating. Yo-Yo Dieting is another common practice we see amongst our clients. We find that it helps to have as many tips in our back pocket as possible to keep our diet on track. Here are 5 suprising superfoods that will keep you on the right track!
This low-cal staple pumps up the flavor of everything from chicken breasts to scrambled eggs. “It’s jam-packed with antioxidants, including lycopene, which may reduce the risk of some cancers, and beta-carotene, which may help fight heart disease,” says Joan Salge Blake, RD, an associate clinical professor of nutrition at Boston University.
Eat It Up: Beta-carotene and lycopene are more easily absorbed by the body when consumed with a bit of healthy fat, so add some chopped avocado to your salsa-topped chicken. Or add salsa to Low Sodium V8 for extra fiber.
Nutrition facts per 2 tablespoons: 9 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0.5g fiber
Whole Wheat Pitas
Give your usual turkey sandwich a healthy upgrade by swapping the bread for a whole wheat pita pocket. If you put veggies in your sandwich, it’s usually a few lettuce leaves and a slice of tomato or else the bread falls apart. “But with a pita, you can stuff it full of vegetables and still get a healthy dose of whole grains,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet. Just be sure to check the ingredients list: “enriched wheat flour” means the pita is an imposter. Look for the words “whole wheat.”
Eat It Up: Go Greek by filling your pita with feta, hummus, diced cucumbers and tomatoes, arugula, and black olives. Or put a Mexican spin on your sandwich by adding low-fat refried beans, salsa, avocado, and chopped romaine lettuce. Rather have a snack? Make pita chips. Cut a pita into triangles, drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt, and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until crispy.
Nutrition facts per 1 large pita: 170 calories, 6g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 2g fat (0g saturated), 5g fiber
“Because it’s super-low in calories, popcorn is the perfect food for those times when you don’t want to worry about portion size,” says Sharon Richter, RD, a nutritionist in New York City. And it’s loaded with fiber, which is crucial for staying slim. In fact, people who maintain a healthy weight consume an average of 33 percent more fiber daily than those who are overweight, according to research.
Eat It Up: Save calories (and money) by getting a basic air popper. One we like: Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Hot Air Popper by Presto ($25, bedbathandbeyond.com). Pop the kernels with a bit of salt and toss with nuts and raisins for a tasty trail mix.
Nutrition facts per 1 cup air-popped: 31 calories, 1g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 0g fat, (0g saturated), 1g fiber
Apples get all the glory, but oranges are the unsung heroes of fresh fruit, says Susan Kraus, RD, a clinical dietitian at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. “They’re very low in calories and a good source of potassium, fiber, and folate,” Kraus says. Not to mention that a large orange has a day’s worth of immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Eat It Up: Add orange slices to a spinach salad topped with goat cheese, chopped nuts, and some slivered red onion. Or blend 1/2 orange, 1 cup yogurt, and 1/2 cup frozen blueberries for a delicious, nutritious smoothie.
Nutrition facts per large orange: 86 calories, 2g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 4g fiber
“Yogurt contains the perfect ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat — the carbs give you instant energy, while the protein and fat are released more slowly, keeping you full longer,” Kraus says. In a recent study, dieters who consumed three 6-ounce servings of yogurt a day lost 61 percent more body fat overall than those who didn’t eat yogurt. The researchers believe that the calcium in dairy increases the activity of enzymes that break down fat cells. Look for yogurts that have at least 20 percent of the RDA.
Eat It Up: Mix plain yogurt with a teaspoon of cinnamon or top it with berries for an easy, low-sugar snack. Or use plain Greek yogurt for an extra protein boost in recipes that call for mayo or sour cream, like tuna salad, veggie dip, or salad dressings.
Nutrition facts per cup: 137 calories, 14g protein, 19g carbohydrate, 0g fat (0g saturated), 0g fiber
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