April 18, 2013
With the first hint of warm weather and the start of spring, if you’re anything like us and our clients you’re already planning your beach vacations and pushing your workouts a bit harder. You’re also probably looking for those foods that are going to help you in your quest to get beach body-ready faster. To help you shape up, here are six foods that can help you get and feel lean.
The stats: Strawberries 45 calories/cup, 3 g fiber; Blueberries 80 calories/cup, 3.6 g fiber; Blackberries 62 calories/cup, 7.6 grams fiber
Why they’ll help you get bikini ready: Research suggests these berries are super skinny because they contain the phytochemical C3G that may increase production of adiponectin, which enhances fat metabolism, and leptin, which suppresses appetite.
And the berry on top? They’re low in calories and sweet, so add them to yogurt or cereal and they’ll bust a sugar craving (goodbye candy bars!) while flooding your body with healthy nutrients that contribute to glowing skin—perfect when you’re getting ready to show more skin. Plus, berries are packed with fiber to help to keep you full…and to help flush out your digestive tract so you don’t experience bloat from constipation. This is all berry exciting news when you want to step on the beach!
The stats: Depending on the brand, one half cup contains 60-90 calories, 12-16 g protein; 50-160 mg sodium and 25% DV calcium. (We like Calabro brand: ½ cup has 60 calories, 12 g protein and 68 mg sodium.)
Why it will help you get bikini ready: It’s a creamy and delicious source of protein, which is key to sustaining lean muscle tissue and looking great in that swimsuit. Unlike many other protein sources, ricotta is low in sodium so it won’t bloat you and make you look or feel puffy. Another bonus: Ricotta has a texture that is rich and creamy, so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating the typical “diet food.” Eat it on its own, put it on whole-grain toast with sliced berries, or blend it with tomato sauce to make a creamy topping for a baked potato, fish, poultry or whole-wheat pasta.
The stats: One medium lemon contains 17 calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Why they’ll help you get bikini-ready: Lemons are the ultimate substitute for anything that bloats you and makes your pants feel like they’re fitting a little snugger. The best chefs will tell you that a squirt of lemon on veggies, fish or poultry can make a fantastic substitute for salt or butter. Low-calorie, nutrient-packed lemons make healthy and lean foods taste great so you’re less likely to sabotage your weight-loss efforts with high calorie condiments—and it won’t leave your taste buds craving something that packs on the pounds. Plus, lemons are rich in limonoids, which can help to reduce the risk for certain cancers.
The stats: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium in 4 ounces of green tea
Why it’ll help you get bikini-ready: Tea is a calorie-free beverage that helps to fill your stomach and help take the edge off of hunger. When consumed warm, it soothes the nerves and can help to prevent stress eating and overindulging. Green tea is packed with potent antioxidants, and research suggests that drinking five to six 4-ounce servings of green tea per day may help to give your metabolism a modest boost. Drink up!
The Stats: (Ry-Krisps, Wasa, etc.) 25-35 calories, 1-2 g fiber 30-60 mg sodium per slice
Why they’ll help you get bikini-ready: You need carbs for energy to not only fuel your workouts (and refuel after them), but also so you don't feel deprived. Skip carbs and you wind up craving them and looking for energy through the quickest pick-me up you can find—sugar. Crispbreads are healthy, whole-grain, low-calorie, fiber-filled carbohydrates that give you long-lasting energy, helping to keep you lean and on track. Plus, they offer that crunch that many people look for when trying to lose weight. Research suggests people who replace refined grains with whole grains tend to have less belly fat, and unlike other whole grain breads, these crispbreads are low in belly-bloating sodium. Try topping them with fat-free ricotta and berries for the perfect bikini-ready meal.
The stats: A dieter’s dream—16 calories per cup and 95% water
Why they’ll help you get bikini-ready: If you’re ever hungry, you can snack on them often and enjoy as many as you want, as they’ll help fill you up with virtually no calories. Cucumber’s ultra-high water content will also help keep you hydrated and flush out any bloating sodium if you overdid it on the salt. Cucumbers are crispy, cool and refreshing, making them enticing to snack on, especially as the weather warms up.
The Nutrition TwinsContributor
Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse (“Lyssie”) Lakatos, The Nutrition Twins®, share a passion to teach people how to eat healthfully and exercise so they'll have energy to live happy lives. The twins have been featured as nutrition experts on Good Morning America, Discovery Health, Fox News, NBC, Bravo, CBS, The Learning Channel, FitTV, Oxygen Network, and Fox & Friends. They co-wrote The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure: Expert Advice and Tantalizing Recipes for Health, Energy and Beauty, The Secret to Skinny: How Salt Makes You Fat and the 4-Week Plan to Drop A Size & Get Healthier with Simple Low Sodium Swaps. The twins are both ACE Certified Personal Trainers, and members of the American Dietetic Association and several Dietetic Practice Groups.