This is the time of year when most of us start to feel a tad overweight. Maybe those pants that fit perfectly last month are just a little bit too tight right now. Or, just before you leave for that amazing Caribbean vacation you planned all year, you realize you need to run out and pick up a new swim suit that fits!
Our first impulse is to hit the gym. And we all know that what and how much we eat plays a huge role in weight loss or gain. Greek yogurt, kale, apples, and a plain chicken breasts are what come to mind. But US Family Health Plan – a TRICARE health program – wants you to know that losing weight doesn’t mean having to give up every food you love.
Here are 5 surprising foods that can help curb your appetite, stoke your metabolism and make your weight loss journey a little bit more enjoyable. Some of these tips may surprise you!
- Popcorn. You can enjoy your favorite Netflix snack even when you’re trying to lose weight. Popcorn is made from a plant based fiber, and this fiber plays a role in improving gut bacteria. Improving gut bacteria is one of the keys to preventing weight gain and improving overall health. Snack on!
- Potatoes. We all know the health benefits of sweet potatoes, but it’s hard to imagine that regular potatoes can stack up when it comes to health benefits and losing weight. Well, surprise, surprise! They are a good source for Vitamin C and potassium. Just avoid the giant size potatoes topped with bacon, cheese and sour cream. With the proper portion control, and topped with olive oil and sea salt, these babies can actually be enjoyed while you still lose weight.
- Coffee. Your morning cup of java is loaded with antioxidants that offer up tons of health benefits. What’s even better, coffee can help curb your appetite by increasing a hormone associated with the feeling of being full. Just omit two
things -- the cream and the sugar -- and don’t drink more than one cup. This way, you get all the health benefits, avoid what’s not healthy, and curb your appetite too.
- Vinegar. A little drizzle will do it! This tangy salad topping can help manage your appetite and regulate your blood sugar. And the flavor, added to the right things, like salads, soups or grilled proteins, is pretty good. It’s a great way to add a ton of flavor without adding calories. Just keep everything in moderation because vinegar by nature, is very acidic.
- Pasta. Pasta has always gotten a bad rap when it comes to weight gain. It’s usually associated with putting on pounds, not losing them. However, if you choose a 100% whole grain version, cook pasta only until it’s al dente (slightly undercooked) and watch your portions, it can do just the opposite – help you shed pounds. If pasta is used this way, it happens to have a relatively low glycemic index, which prevents spikes in your blood sugar that can lead to problems. And remember, what you put on the pasta is just as important as how you prepare it. Avoid the creamy, cheesy concoctions and replace them with simple roasted or steamed vegetables, in a light home-made tomato or garlic sauce. And skip the bread too. When it comes to portion control, do as the Italians do. Stick to a typical serving size of only 1 cup.
You may not have time to hit your weight goal before that winter vacation arrives, but at least you can enjoy a few of your favorites and still lose weight!