In addition to regular exercise, you'll also want to add some fat burning foods to your diet to help trim your waistline.
Foods that are high in protein and fiber are the best kinds of food to eat if you want to burn fat around your middle.
Did you know that it takes more energy to digest protein than it does to digest fat? So the more protein you eat, the more calories your body burns.
EggsEggs are super high in protein and can help you burn that unwanted belly fat.
You may have heard all the warnings about eggs and your health. That's because a couple of eggs will put you over the recommended daily amount of cholesterol.
Well, more recent studies have shown that dietary cholesterol has a minimal impact on blood cholesterol. Dietary fat is the real culprit. It's what raises your bad cholesterol levels.
However, if you're still worried about your overall cholesterol intake from eating too many eggs, you can remove the yolk and still benefit from the high protein contained in eggs. One of my favorite breakfasts is an egg-white sandwich. Mmmmmm!
Eggs contain the vitamin B12 -- a great supplement for breaking down fat cells.
Low Fat Dairy ProductsAccording to an article in Obesity Research, women who ate low-fat dairy products, such as nonfat yogurt and low-fat milk, three to four times a day lost 70 percent more fat than low-dairy dieters.
In another study done at Purdue University those who consumed 3 cups of fat-free milk gained less weight over the course of 2 years than those on low calcium diets.
So, not only do dairy products help you strengthen your bones, they can also play an essential role in burning that unwanted body fat.
If you are a regular consumer of milk and other dairy products, that's great (as long as you don't overdo it). Just watch your proportions and perhaps switch over to the low or no fat varieties.
BeansWhile beans are often associated with the gastrointestinal disturbances they may cause, they are also very good sources of protein, fiber and iron.
Some of the best kinds of beans to eat are:
And as always, there are those beans that you should limit in your diet - I'm talking about those that are baked and refried.
- Navy beans
- White beans
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
Refried beans contain tons of saturated fat while baked beans are usually loaded in sugar. Sure, you'll be getting your protein but you'll also be consuming a lot of fat and sugar you don't need.
Here's something else to remember. Be sure to cook your beans thoroughly because our digestive tracks are not adapted to breaking down some proteins that are contained in certain beans.
They are already good enough on their own at stimulating GI activity. You don't want to create any unnecessary turbulence in your belly. ;)
Lisa's Tip: I recently discovered a wonderful vegetable called Edamame (pronounced ed-uh-ma-may). It's an ogranic soybean in a pod often served at Japanese restaurants.
All you do is boil them for three minutes, add a pinch of salt and eat the soybeans out of the pods. They are surprisingly tasty and very good for you. One serving contains 10 grams of soy protein.
The best place to find them is at a store that sells organic foods. (Whole Foods, for example).
OatmealWhile it may not be the tastiest thing you can eat, oatmeal definitely has some great nutritional qualities.
You may have noticed that many of the oatmeal brands are now boasting that eating more oatmeal will help lower your cholesterol level. That's because oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber which helps reduce blood cholesterol by flushing those bad digestive acids out of your system.
The best kind of oatmeal to eat is unsweetened and unflavored. While I know it's tempting to select the apples and cinnamon flavor and load it with butter and sugar -- you really lose out on all the health benefits. If you must sweeten your bowl of oatmeal, do so by adding fruit.
I eat mine with a spoonful of honey (much better for you than sugar) and a handful of raisins or dried cranberries.
Oatmeal is also beneficial in fighting colon cancer and heart disease.
Olive OilCertain fats are good for you and your body needs them. Olive oil is one of those "good fats". In fact, it's so good that it helps you burn fat and keeps your cholesterol down.
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that researchers are finding provide outstanding health benefits. One ounce of extra virgin olive oil contains about 85% of the daily value for monounsaturated fat.
So instead of taking a swig of orange juice in the morning, many dieters are picking up a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.
Whole GrainsThese days everyone seems to be screaming "No carbs!" It's as if the world has gone no-carb crazy and everyone is running from sliced breads and pastas.
Well the truth is, your body needs carbohydrates. If you go without them completely your body will start to crave them. So it's not a good idea to exclude all carbs because the right kinds are actually good for you.
It's the processed carbohydrates that are bad for you -- the white breads, bagels, pastas, and white rice to name a few.
None of the above foods come out of the ground the way you eat them -- which is usually a bad sign. They've all been processed, thus stripping out all the nutrients leaving you with loads of starch.
The key is to eat "whole grain" foods because they haven't been processed and contain the fiber and minerals your body needs.
So don't be fooled by a loaf of bread labeled "wheat". Regular wheat bread is still lacking in vitamins and minerals. Manufacturers add molasses to it so it turns brown.
Don't let them trick you. The only kind of bread that's good for you is the kind that's labeled "whole grain".
Lean Cuts of MeatTurkey and beef are great for building muscle and boosting the immune system, but as always you have to be careful:
Basted turkeys are usually injected with fatty substances while beef contains saturated fat. That Thanksgiving turkey may look good, but it's not always good for you. And if you are going to eat beef, be sure to consume the leanest cuts you can find by looking for "loin" or "round" on the labels.
Salmon and tuna are also good sources of protein. They both contain omega-3 fatty acids which may sound bad, but are actually healthy fats. These two foods are also good for giving your immune system a nice boost and should be consumed at least 3 times a week.
Healthy Snacks For Your Tummy
PopcornAs long as you don't saturate it in butter and/or salt (a.k.a. movie theatre popcorn) this is a very healthy snack.
It's very high in fiber and low in calories. The best kind to eat is the air popped but if you're going to pop it on the stove make sure you use oils with monosaturated fats like canola or olive oil.
Be careful with microwave popcorn. Check the labels for sodium and fat content because it varies from brand to brand.
Almonds and Other NutsYou've heard the old phrase "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Well now people are saying the same thing about a handful of nuts.
The biggest weapon contained in nuts is the monosaturated fat. This kind of fat is actually good for you and can even help clear your arteries.
Nuts help fill you up and are also high in Vitamin E, fiber and magnesium.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight diseases such as cancer, asthma, osteoperosis and a host of other inflammations.
Sunflower Seeds Will Also Work Sunflower seeds are like a cousin to the nut and contain a lot of the same good characteristics.
If you choose to eat these, be sure to choose the ones with low or no salt. Many people like to lick the salt from the shell and that's when a healthy snack turns into a not-so-healthy snack.
The salted shells are fine in moderation but just be sure to limit your consumption.
Peanut ButterPeanut butter is a delicious member of the legume family. It has a lot of the same good qualities as regular nuts, and is great because it will fill you up quickly.
If you ever want to hold yourself over to the next meal just eat a couple of teaspoons of peanut butter. That's 190 calories right there and you get a load of protein.
You can also add it to your fruit, crackers, or even a smoothie. It makes a great healthy snack.
Watch your consumption of it, however. Despite the protein, peanut butter is considered a high-calorie food. So be sure you don't overdo it.
SmoothiesFruit smoothies can actually be used as a meal replacement if you pack them with enough ingredients.
Depending upon what you put in them, they can contain anywhere between 400 and 600 calories which will keep you full for hours.
The benefit to this kind of snack is you can get fruit, protein, fiber and dairy all in one delicious serving. The choice is up to you.
Lisa's Tip: If you live near a Smoothie King this is the best place to go! Not only do they have tons of flavors, but you can even ask for extra protein/whey powder (great for toning your stomach) and many other healthy ingredients that will give your drink a healthy boost.
Another Note: If you're watching your sugar intake, please understand that smoothies are very high in sugar - even though most of it is natural.
Sugar turns into fat when it's not burned off so I wouldn't eat a smoothie everyday. If you really find yourself enjoying them, see if you can order a "light" or "low sugar" smoothie. Many places offer that option.
Beef JerkyWho knew? Beef jerky is actually a very healthy snack contrary to popular belief. On average one ounce of jerky contains about 70-80 calories, 12 grams of protein and around 1 gram of fat.
Just remember to buy your jerky at a health food store. The kind you see in regular grocery stores are generally high in sodium.
Low Fat YogurtAn 8-ounce cup of yogurt generally contains 2-3 grams of fat and around 150 calories. This is a much better snack food option than something like ice cream.
A recent study showed people that consumed three servings of light yogurt daily as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost about 20 percent more weight than those who only cut calories.
Some recipes will even call for low fat yogurt to replace sour cream.