By Saira Munir Hayat
By eating breakfast your body metabolism gets the right signals; whereas skipping it regularly slows down metabolism leading to increase in weight.
Luckily, the days of crash diets and starvation regimes are over. Now all you have to do is ‘smart eating’. Sounds easy? Well it is. But only if you remain committed!
In order to lose weight, a change in your food choices is definitely a healthy start; basic everyday food items which are easy to buy and consume can make a big difference in your weight and your overall energy levels.
These foods are mainly known to promote satiety relatively more than others and thus can help you eat less over the course of the day. Smart eating means making healthy food choices packed with important nutrients, vitamins and minerals; which help maintain your energy levels and prevent you from feeling lethargic and drowsy.
You have heard the idiom: “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Well, the latest extension to that is that apples also keep weight at bay. This versatile fruit is the perfect snack with a high water and fibre content; helps keep blood sugar levels normal, fills you up and reduces cravings. Apples are also the best example of negative calories.
A medium apple has about 85 calories. However the number of calories which will be used up by the body in digesting the apple is approximately 150. Hence the medium apple promotes 65 negative calories, which the body will use from its reservoir.
A tip is not to peel apples, although apples retain more pesticide residue than other fruits you peel, such as oranges or bananas. The peel plays a positive role in your smart eating plan. With half the fibre and a lot of iron, magnesium and vitamin C, you definitely want to eat that peel to get full slimming benefits.
Eggs make you feel fuller; resulting in fewer calories being consumed over the day. These are a much healthier breakfast option than bread and butter or bread with other spreads.
Eggs being high in protein also prevent morning lethargy. A single egg with one slice of bran bread can take you a long way into your weight management goals. A medium egg has about 80 calories which you can easily use up during the course of the morning. Eggs are a good source of vitamin D, which helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus necessary for making your bones stronger.
A bit on the pungent side and quite a killer to chop and prepare. Cauliflower is the perfect option when you are trying to lose weight as it is non-starchy and can be eaten in abundance.
There are many appetising ways of eating cauliflower besides simply steaming cauliflower heads.
If you love mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower; simply steam, mash, add chopped garlic and salt and for that extra punch a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. One cup of cooked cauliflower has about 25 calories. How can you ever beat that?
If you are not a cauliflower fan, try spinach or broccoli instead.
Not exactly a magical weight loss food, but it has qualities which aid in your eventual weight loss target. Yogurt is a welcome addition in most diets and menus, especially in summer. Most people consider it a healthy filler and an alternative to carbohydrates. In addition to this, the abundant amount of calcium combined with other bioactive compounds found in dairy products slows down the process of making fat and increases fat burning, especially around the belly.
Add yogurt to your diet by adding plain yogurt to dips, sauces and salad dressings. You can make a fast and tasty dessert by adding fruits like bananas, oranges, blueberries and mangoes to yogurt. These fruits are naturally sweet, so skip the sugar.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breaking your night-long fast is essential and the first step towards becoming slimmer. By eating breakfast your body metabolism gets the right signals; whereas skipping it regularly slows down metabolism, leading to increase in weight. People who eat breakfast tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and those who prefer cooked cereal have an even better chance at weight control.
Oatmeal has a high-fibre content which is why it fills you up for the day.
If cooking breakfast is not really an option every morning, combine whole-grain cereal from a box with plain low fat yogurt or milk and add dried fruit and fruit juice. This can be stored in the fridge and can be taken to work and consumed during the day.
The queen of dry fruits for most Pakistanis; abundantly found on every street corner during winter, peanuts are a good source of nutrition all-year round. Along with almonds and walnuts which are both good sources of essential fats, peanuts too cannot be left far behind. Peanuts fill you up. Hence, it is a good idea to have a handful as your mid-morning snack instead of having it after dinner in front of the TV. Peanuts do have a bit of oil, thus portion control is advised.
These tend to be consumed more on an SOS basis, i.e. either when you are down with flu or on a chilly winter evening. Little did you know soup is slimming and filling food.
Notice the word food? Soup is one of the healthiest and wisest choices when it comes to weight control. Adding broth-based soup to a weight-loss diet plan each day will multiply the amount of weight lost over a span of six or more months.
The water in soup adds volume to a meal without any extra calories.
To make soups more wholesome and nutritious, add raw or semi-steamed vegetables like carrots, cabbage, peas or onions. And for the fussy out there, some great choices are bean sprouts, mushrooms, beans and baby corn, all straight out of a can.
Fish as it is lovingly called “brain food” tops oatmeal and vegetables when it comes to filling food. Steamed white fish is a great choice for lunch or dinner, mainly because a protein-rich lunch tops a high-carbohydrate lunch any day. Besides, a meal with fish protein beats red meat any day, even though the caloric content of both may be the same.
Try grilling, steaming or baking fish instead of the usual fried or curry version or combine it with chopped ginger, soy sauce and lemon juice.
Just like soup, salads too suffer from an understated presence in our regular meals. Salads no longer mean a roughly-chopped mixture of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers but can be enjoyed in a variety of manners with a wide range of vegetables, pastas and meats.
You can add a lot of filling foods into your diet at one time: fresh vegetables, lean protein, beans and healthy fats to make it a complete meal.
Courtesy: The Magazine: Dawn