Summer Slim Down with Fruits and Vegetables
Summer sees the arrival of all sorts of delicious fruits and vegetables! Most of us know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber that are good for our health. Increasing your diet with fruits and vegetables can also be used as a strategy to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables are categorized as low-energy dense foods. Low-energy dense foods can be eaten in larger portions; however, don't add up to a large amount of calories. High-energy dense foods would be foods such as bacon, cookies, and butter.
High Energy Dense Foods: 4-9 calories per gram (cookies, crackers, bacon, butter)
Medium Energy Dense Foods: 1.5-4 calories per gram (bagels, dried fruit, hummus, skim cheese)
Low Energy Dense Foods: 0-1.5 calories per gram (most fresh fruits and
vegetables, fat-free yogurt, broth-based soups)
Sticking to low-calorie diets can be difficult, especially if you don't feel full or satisfied after eating. Research shows one of the most important factors to helping one feel full is the volume or amount of food we eat. Lower dense foods such as fruits and vegetables allow us to eat more, feel full, and feel full on a lower amount of calories. The secret behind low-energy dense foods is the higher amount of fiber and water these foods contain. Weight-loss related research studies show that individuals with high fiber diets lose the most weight.
The key, however, is SUBSTITIUION. Fruits and vegetables do have calories, so if you simply add them on top of what you are already eating, you will not lose weight. BUT, if you substitute an 80 calorie apple for a 200 bag of chips, or 2 cups of diced strawberries at 100 calories for 1 cup of regular ice cream at 300, you will definitely lose weight!
Here are some additional tips for making fruits and vegetables part of your weight maintenance or weight loss plan.
√ Choose whole fruit over juice. Fruit juice does not contain the fiber that whole fruits do. Plus, juice is higher in calories. For example, you could choose an 8-ounce cup of grape juice OR 3 cups of grapes for 170 calories. For most individuals, eating 3 cups of grapes would be more satisfying. (Try freezing your grapes for a sweet snack on a hot afternoon.)
√ Eat fruits and vegetables the way nature intended. Try steaming your vegetables and adding herbs and spices to them. Overcooking produce will decrease the amount of nutrients. Some vegetables, such as sugar snap peas, are great eaten raw, especially in the summer.
√ Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as healthy as fresh. Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually packaged shortly after harvest. The quick packaging process retains more vitamins and minerals.
√ Buy more than you need and freeze your favorite summer produce for the winter months.
• I like to clean fresh blueberries and throw them into the freezer to add to morning cereal (keeps the milk extra cold) or microwave them with light maple syrup to top whole-wheat pancakes (allows you to use less syrup).
√ Get creative. Try thinking of ways you can substitute more veggies and fruits into your typical meals.
• For example, right before you drain your pasta, throw in cut up vegetables to the boiling water. Blanch the veggies for a couple more minutes, drain, and add sauce. This gives you more volume to your pasta dish, as well as less calories.
• For a summer entertainment idea, use a blender, combine watermelon and fresh mint, and pour into ice trays and freeze. Add the tasty cubes to spark up a summer drink.
Grilled King Salmon with Tomato-Peach Salsa
YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and about 1/2 cup salsa)
1 cup chopped peeled peach
3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
3 tablespoons small fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons small fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) wild Alaskan king salmon fillets
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat grill to high heat.
2. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; add jalapeño, if desired. Sprinkle mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss gently. Sprinkle fillets evenly with remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place the fillets on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness, turning after 5 minutes. Serve with salsa.
Amount per serving: Calories: 325; Fat: 21.9g; Protein: 26.7g; Carbohydrate: 6.4g
Fiber: 1.2g; Cholesterol: 78mg; Iron: 1.4mg; Sodium: 544mg
Source: Cooking Light JULY 2011
If you follow these guidelines your everyday foods will be much improved! For more information regarding eating healthy and other nutrition topics, please contact: Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RD, CSSD, LD