Do you ever look into a full refrigerator and wonder “What is there to eat?”
The ingredients to combat the battle of the bulge may be sitting right in front of you, or behind the cupboard door. While you may have purchased a complete list of superfoods from the grocery store, having ideas on how to combine them into tasty meals proves helpful.
We are here to help, so here are several ways to make flavorful dishes from key ingredients that fight fat. Scroll down to find out!
Mash your favorite ripe berries or use a food processor to make a chunky spread (strain off liquid). Fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cranberries or blueberries are best. Spread natural peanut butter on thin whole grain rye crisp bread and top with the berry mash. No added sugars and less starch than traditional PB & J.
Prepare a fresh salsa by dicing mango, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno in ratios to your liking and set aside as a garnish. Cook asparagus with a sprinkle of sea salt. Grill your favorite fish (we recommend salmon, tilapia, sea bass or mahi mahi) with a squeeze of lime.
In a high powered blender mix ½ cup soymilk, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, 1 teaspoon powdered green tea* (1 tablespoon if using sweetened powder), ¼ avocado, ½ banana and ½ cup crushed ice. Blend until smooth. * Try making your own using sencha tea leaves in a very clean electric coffee grinder.
Cook thinly sliced bell pepper, onion and chicken breast seasoned with cayenne or chili powder, black pepper, cumin and garlic powder in skillet coated with olive oil. Serve on large lettuce leaves with pico de gallo, slices of avocado and spoonfuls of black beans. No cheese or sour cream here.
Brown in olive oil on medium heat a chicken breast coated with 1 tsp flour mixed with spices (1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp each cumin and ground ginger, dash each of salt and ground red pepper). Mix 1 tsp flour with ¼ cup chicken broth and add to skillet. Stir in 2 tablespoons diced dates and 1 tablespoon sliced almonds. Cover and simmer on low until cooked through. Serve with cooked zucchini and onion and a squeeze of lemon.
Why these work:
Whole grain rye, berries, salsa, asparagus, banana, pico de gallo, beans, zucchini, and onion are high in fiber to fill you up and satisfy, curbing a desire to add calories. Their complex carbohydrates reduce the body’s insulin response, allowing the release of fat when needed for fuel.
Protein from fish, chicken, yogurt, and beans requires more effort to digest, keeps you satisfied and helps you build more calorie-burning muscle.
Peanut butter, fish, avocado and almonds provide heart-healthy unsaturated fats that fill you up, suppress appetite and support metabolism.
Green tea is an effective metabolism booster and belly buster. Its catechins enhance the abdominal fat loss from exercise.
Cayenne/chili, jalapenos and cinnamon are potent stimulators of fat burning because of their capsaicin content. The capsaicin promotes greater energy expenditure, increasing metabolism.
When combined together, these meals provide lots of protein and fiber with little refined carbohydrates, not to mention tons of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Each eye-catching colorful dish is a full meal for one and easily multiplied for couples or families. For larger appetites requiring more energy, enhance with an ounce of nuts, side of fruit, cup of milk or small corn cob to add about 120 calories.
This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your primary care physician.
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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.