Beach and pool season is here, and you want to look your best. This past year has been stressful and being cooped up at home, many of us have put on a few extra pounds. It’s time to replace those comfort foods with lighter fare that can help you lose that unwanted weight. Try these summer foods for weight loss:
- Whole Grain Salads – We all know salads to be the typical weight loss food of summer. But those greens can get old fast (literally and figuratively). Try using whole grains instead. Use wheatberry, tabouli or quinoa as a base and create a salad to suit your tastes. Quinoa mixed with black beans, cherry tomatoes, lime juice, cumin and fresh cilantro is a zesty treat that will keep you feeling full.
- Fresh Salsa – Salsas can make your summer weight loss sizzle! Tomatoes are a rich source of folate, vitamin C, and potassium. Chili peppers give salsas a spicy hot flavor. They are a source of capsaicin, which can cause an increase in metabolic rate and a decrease in appetite. They’re also so low in calories so you can fill up on quite a bit without jeopardizing your daily caloric allotment. Looking for something different? Try fruit salsa. Chopped mango, honeydew and cantaloupe mixed with fresh cilantro, onions and lime is delicious. Consider spooning salsas on grilled fish or chicken for a tasty dinner.
- Shrimp – The heat of summer does have benefits! You’re less likely to crave heavy foods and opt for lighter fare. Shrimp is a protein powerhouse, but very low in fat. It’s also high in vitamin B12, the stress-relieving vitamin. Try a mix of shrimp, avocado, and cherry tomatoes for a healthy and filling summer dish. Or alternate shrimp and vegetables on a skewer and toss on the grill!
- Frozen Fruit – You think you want ice cream, but what you’re really craving is something icy cold and sweet. Keep fruit like grapes and cherries in the freezer. The iciness gives the fruit a sorbet-like consistency, and the sweetness will satisfy those sugar cravings.
- Soup – Are you sweating just thinking about it? No one wants a cup of hot soup on a sweltering day. But, low-calorie, broth-based chilled soups hit the spot when it’s hot outside. Consider a chunky gazpacho full of fresh veggies and topped with avocado slices or grilled shrimp. Or, try a cool cucumber melon soup with fat-burning mint leaves.
- Green Tea – Cool down with a refreshing glass of iced green tea. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who exercised and then drank plenty of green tea lost slightly more weight and shed more belly fat than non-tea drinkers. Chemicals called catechins found in green tea boost metabolism and increase fat burn. Do you prefer a sweeter flavor? Add some frozen berries or peach slices as a natural sweetener. Just stay away from bottled, sweetened green teas as the sugar content outweighs the benefits of the green tea!