With the warmer weather round the corner, we understand you want to get in shape. Working out is key to a trimmer bod, and watching the calories will go a long way to helping you achieve the figure you want, but did you know, certain foods will help you get there quicker? They work by speeding up your metabolism and giving your body all the nutritious benefits it needs. To lose weight healthily this season, make sure you eat smart, by adding the following foods to your diet to give yourself that extra push in your fitness goals.
Fruit and veg
Fruit and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and potassium, and can prevent any digestion problems and help maintain a healthy gut. Fruit and vegetables are also low-energy foods, so you can plenty of it without consuming too many calories, as they are also high in water. (When it comes to vegetables such as white potatoes, which have a high content in starch, don’t fill up too much on these – swap for them for antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes or legumes such as kidney beans, lentils… for healthy good carbs).
Popcorn is easy to make at home, meaning you can avoid the fat- and sugar-laden varieties on offer at the supermarket. Providing wholegrain, fibre and anti-oxidants, just place the corn in a saucepan, close the lid, turn up the heat and wait for them to start popping! If you want a bit a flavour, sprinkle some xylitol (for sweetness) or salt or both! Or get creative and raid your storecupboard for healthy additions, think dried rosemary, garlic powder and Parmesean; matcha green tea powder and salt; or cinnamon.
Brown rice is whole grain and has a low-glycemic rating, it’s packed with nutrients such as fibre and selenium and will fill you up for a longer period of time, too. It’ll help lower cholesteral, high-blood pressure and other signs of cardiovascular disease – you can eat as much as you like.
Because they’re protein-rich, pulses and beans keep you fuller for longer and help maintain your energy levels (as well as being a great source of nutrients and fibre). Not just for vegetarian and vegans, use them as a basis for summer salads, or pop them into homemade soups and casseroles, when the weather is cooler. Mix with a can of tomatoes, sauted onions and herbs for a sauce for wholemeal pasta.
Got a sweet tooth? Say no to refined sugar and replace with xylitol, agave nectar or even honey. If you’re serious about cutting down, you may want to use rice malt syrup instead, which has a low frutose content. When you’re backing stick to wholemeal carbs (wholemeal bread, wholemeal self-raising flour, brown rice) and and use low-fat butters/margarine.
Avoid cream or you’ll soon see your waistline expand. Warm cakes, especially spicy versions, are lovely with a dollop of 0 per cent fat Greek yoghurt. Grate an apple and add some seed mix. This is very nutritious and fills you up, and gives you a sweet hit when you need it.
Chilli has a thermogenic effect on the body, meaning it stimulates the body’s own process of burning fat. Although it’s not enough to help you drop a dress size, adding a bit of spice to your food could rev up your metabolism enough to burn a few extra cals each day. And that soon mounts up!
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