By Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.
If you're looking for creative (and delicious!) ways to enhance your weight loss efforts, here's a fresh collection of six slimming foods you should add to your repertoire. I'm a firm believer that dieting and losing weight doesn't mean you have to subsist on bland, boring cardboard. With that in mind, I've put together a list of strategic skinny eats, each of which has its own unique way of satisfying your taste buds while blunting your appetite. I encourage you to peruse my list and use these tasty bites to your advantage!
1. Pumpkin Pudding: Decadent, creamy pudding for less than 150 calories--and it helps you lose weight! Just combine a 6-ounce container of nonfat vanilla yogurt with ½ cup canned 100% pure pumpkin puree and a dash of cinnamon. The pumpkin bulks up the yogurt--already a protein-rich, nutrient-packed food--and adds a hefty dose of fiber. This winning combo of protein and fiber expands in your stomach, keeping you full long after you finish, so you're not looking for more munchies an hour later.
2. Vegetable Soup: Studies have shown that just by starting a meal with a fiber-rich bowl of broth-based veggie soup, you can reduce your total calorie intake by 20 percent. That's because this "veggie first course" helps to fill you up, so you wind up eating less at the main meal.
3. Cucumber Tomato Salad: Thanks to their high percentage of water (95%!), cucumbers are low-calorie, high volume, and top-notch for weight loss! Slice up one whole cucumber plus a medium tomato, then toss with light vinaigrette or unlimited vinegar (balsamic or red wine is delish) plus 1 teaspoon olive oil. The entire salad has only 125 calories!
4. Ginger Green Tea: Nursing a warm mug of tea is a calorie-free way to de-stress after a long day without falling prey to emotional eating. As an added bonus, research suggests that regularly drinking green tea may give you a slight calorie-burning advantage. Steep your tea with a thin slice of ginger root for an extra punch of flavor.
5. Fiery Chicken Salad: Adding a few dashes of fiery hot sauce to your food slows down your eating big time so you're less likely to eat past the point of fullness. For a simple lunch, whip up a chicken salad with diced chicken breast, 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayo, hot sauce to taste, and any diced veggies on hand. Serve over a bed of lettuce (and have a glass of water handy!).
6. Shrimp Cocktail: At around 8 calories a piece, shrimp are a fabulous source of lean protein, which helps rev your metabolism and keeps you feeling full for hours. Next time you dine out, start your meal with a shrimp cocktail appetizer. When you're eating at home, dunk your shrimp in this could-not-be-easier cocktail sauce recipe: simply combine 1 tablespoon ketchup with 1 teaspoon