Start new year with these fat-fighting foods

These foods can provide some great nutrition and also help you lose that holiday flab. Most people start the New Year a few pounds up, so here’s to helping you get your weight back down where it should be.

Greek yogurt has double the amount of protein that other yogurts have, so it takes longer to digest and keeps you satisfied for a longer time. Also, because protein is more difficult to digest than carbohydrates, you burn more calories digesting Greek yogurt than other types. Of course, to maximize your fat-burning potential choose low-fat and low-sugar types. Plain low-fat Greek yogurt is best. You can always add some stevia or fruit to sweeten it.

Quinoa is a whole grain that has 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber in one cup. Quinoa is just as easy to prepare as rice, but it will not spike your blood sugar in the same way and has much more protein and less carbohydrates.

Another grain that is fiber rich, has lots of water and is satisfyingly hot is oatmeal. Hot food takes longer to eat than cold food and therefore you will eat less. Use cinnamon as a sweetener for you oatmeal.

Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar levels, helping to curb your appetite. This is particularity important for people with Type II diabetes or hypoglycemia. You can also use cinnamon in tea or coffee, or your Greek yogurt, to add sweetness and flavor without adding any calories.

Hot peppers have a chemical called capsaicin, that although flavorless is hot! Capsaicin curbs the appetite and speeds up the metabolism for a little while. Jalapenos and habaneros have a good amount of capsaicin and will help you lose weight and make food fun.

Green tea promotes weight loss by stimulating your body to burn abdominal fat. The catechins in green tea are a phytochemical which may also affect the metabolism. It is recommended that you drink the tea hot because it takes longer to consume. Don’t put sugar or milk in it, as that destroys the zero calorie count factor. Coffee helps rev up the metabolism too, but of course you don’t want to include sugar, artificial sweeteners and cream because you destroy the effect by adding those components in.

Grapefruit has soluble fiber that leaves you feeling fuller longer because it takes a long time to digest. Eating a half a grapefruit before a meal is a great strategy. Another fruit, the watermelon, is well, mostly water. Watery foods can also fill you up with less calories.

Other good choices are raw fruits and veggies that are full of water, nutrients and fiber, such as pears and apples. You definitely want to eat the peels to get the fiber so go organic. And go for the whole fruit rather than the juice because the juice is high in sugar and low in fiber.

Another thing to think about is eating grapes rather than raisins. Two cups of grapes equals a quarter cup of raisins, and although dried fruit has its place as an energy food, or mixed with other nutritious foods, you will be more satisfied with the whole fruit — water included. Berries are a really good choice because of their antioxidant load, plus fiber, natural sweetness and water.

Veggies are an even better choice because the water and fiber are there but the sugar content is even lower than fruit. Many veggies are crunchy and therefore satisfy the urge to chew. And they are tasty. Sweet potatoes are a better choice than white potatoes because they are full of fiber and vitamins, and also so flavorful that you won’t feel like putting on a lot of toppings.

One egg has less than one hundred calories and has 7 grams of protein. If you start your day with protein rather than carbohydrates you will burn more calories trying to digest the protein than if you start your day with a carbohydrate-laden breakfast. If you are worried about cholesterol use the egg whites which have no cholesterol.

These foods and others are great fat-burning and weight-reducing choices. Let’s try to play catch up and reduce your weight back down to the pre-holiday numbers. Remember to work out too, so that you are totally healthy. You are what you eat. All the best this New Year!

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Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.

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