I just finished booking a week-long summer vacation at the beach, and I can't wait! But a week at the beach also means a week in a bikini. I'm not sure which is going to be the bigger challenge-finding a week's worth of bikinis that I actually like or making my body bikini-worthy.
But with this diet trick, I'm thinking looking good in the bikini may not be that difficult.
As a registered dietitian and nutrition editor at EatingWell magazine, I know that I can prevent weight gain or even encourage weight loss-without dieting-just by eating more fiber, according to a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition. (Try these fiber-rich recipes to help you lose weight.)
Researchers followed the eating habits of women for nearly two years and found that those who increased their fiber intake generally lost weight. (Women who decreased the fiber in their diets gained.) Over the course of the study, the researchers found that boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories resulted in about 4½ pounds of weight loss.
Try it for yourself. If you're consuming 2,000 calories per day, aim to increase your fiber by 16 grams.
Here are 5 fresh summer foods that will help you get your fill:
Strawberries: A cup of halved strawberries offers 3 grams of fiber and about 50 calories. You'll also get more than a full day's recommended dose of vitamin C-an antioxidant that helps keep your skin looking younger. (Get luscious, sweet strawberry recipes here.)
Zucchini: You'll also get 3 grams of fiber in a cup of cooked zucchini, but only about 30 calories. Plus, zucchini contains lutein and zeaxanthin-two phytochemicals that accumulate in the eyes and help prevent age-related macular degeneration. AMD is a leading cause of blindness in older people, but much of the damage occurs decades earlier. Find delicious recipes for Zucchini-Walnut Bread and more zucchini and summer squash recipes here.
Green Beans: One cup of cooked green beans has 44 calories and boasts 4 grams of fiber. It's also an excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient that research suggests is important for maintaining strong, healthy bones. (Find fresh recipe ideas for green beans here.)
Corn: You'll get 5 grams of fiber (and 177 calories) in a cup of cooked corn. Or in a large ear of corn, 3 grams and 127 calories. Like zucchini, corn provides the eye-health phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin. (Get easy, quick corn recipes here.)
Raspberries: A cup of raspberries has a whopping 8 grams of fiber-and for only 64 calories. Another boon: some of the fiber is soluble-in the form of pectin, which helps lower cholesterol. Savor them in low-cal, high-fiber Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt (recipe below).
Raspberry-Chocolate Chip Frozen Yogurt
Jammy raspberries and rich chocolate combine for a delicious, tart frozen yogurt. It is quick and easy to prepare, but plan ahead if you're using fresh berries-they take a little longer to freeze. Mini chocolate chips give you the most chocolate in every bite, but any kind of chip will work-dark-chocolate lovers should try bittersweet chips.
8 servings, 1/2 cup each (1 quart)
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
• 3 cups fresh or frozen (not thawed) raspberries
• 2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup chocolate chips, preferably mini
1. Place raspberries, yogurt, sugar and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth.
2. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker (or see "No Ice Cream Maker?" below). Freeze according to manufacturer's directions, or until desired consistency. Add chocolate chips during the last 5 minutes of freezing. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve. No Ice Cream Maker? Pour the mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan and place in the freezer. Stir every few hours, until the mixture is firm along the edges and semi-firm in the center, 2 to 6 hours (using frozen berries will shorten the freezing time). Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container, stir in chocolate chips, cover and freeze until ready to serve.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 week. Let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 147 calories; 4 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 25 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 4 g fiber; 45 mg sodium; 253 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value), Calcium (15% dv).
By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.
Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.
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