By guest blogger Lisa Drayer, RD, nutritionist and author
Yes, fat keeps us warm, protected, and alive. But too much of a good thing can be, well, bad. If you're trying to drop a dress size before the new year, nibble on these seasonal goodies over the holidays. You'll thank me.
Nuts fight weight gain by slowing rises in blood sugar and curbing hunger. One study from Purdue University found that individuals who added 500 calories of nuts to their diets for three weeks experienced almost no change in body weight and had a 24 percent drop in triglycerides--blood fats associated with heart disease. Just make sure nuts replace other snacks throughout the day.
You probably know that fiber is the magic bullet of weight loss. It keeps you satisfied throughout the day--and away from the fridge. But you may not know that berries are an excellent source of said magic bullet! And cranberries have 4 grams per cup. Plus, cranberries are a slimming snack--they have fewer than 50 calories per 1 cup serving. Just don't overdo it with the sugar.
This clucker has the fewest calories per ounce of any animal protein. Like dairy, it contains the amino acid leucine, which may play a role in preserving muscle mass during weight loss, keeping metabolism running at full speed. Protein is also more satiating than fat or carbs--so you're less likely to overeat.
Face it--eggs are diet food. There is no other food on the planet that packs more satiating protein per calorie than eggs. Add in all that brain-enhancing choline and fat-burning vitamin D, and you have yourself one super holiday treat that will build you up without filling you out!
Yes, chocolate. Studies have found that those who eat dark chocolate consume 15 percent fewer calories at their next meal and are less inclined to choose fatty, salty, sugary snacks. Chocolate also boosts your brain's serotonin and endorphin levels, giving you that warm and fuzzy feeling that will keep you from wandering around in search of quick snack fixes.
People who eat apples regularly are less likely to develop metabolic syndrome and other obesity-related illnesses, according to research. Plus, apples' satiating power helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day, and studies have found that people who ate an apple 15 minutes before a meal consumed almost 200 fewer calories at the meal.
Lisa Drayer, M.A., R.D., is a nationally known nutritionist and health journalist. She is the author of THE BEAUTY DIET: Looking Great Has Never Been So Delicious (McGraw-Hill) and Strong, Slim, and 30! Eat Right, Stay Young, Feel Great and Look FABULOUS (McGraw-Hill). Lisa has been a regular contributor to CNN, CNN Headline News, and WCBS-TV in New York. She has also been a columnist, contributing editor, and spokesperson for Women's Health. For more information, visit www.lisadrayer.com.
*Portions of this blog are adapted from an article that appeared in Women's Health magazine.
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