By David Grotto, RD, LDN
What’s standing in the way of having the body you always wanted? Maybe it’s your kitchen!
After visiting hundreds of patients in their homes, I’ve stumbled on one undeniable fact: skinny people “do kitchens” differently than those who aren’t so svelte. And it’s not just that thin folks spend more face time with their kitchens, it’s what’s in their “skinny kitchens” that’s dramatically different than their weight-challenged counterparts. The kitchen, as it turns out, contains secrets that are the linchpin to long-term success in managing weight and health. So what are these secrets? I’ve narrowed them down into four key areas. This week, I’ll let you in on secret #1.
Skinny Secret #1: Stock a Skinny Pantry
Fill your pantry and fridge with these essentials to keep hunger at bay, belly bulges busted, and metabolisms boosted:
Hunger and Calorie-Blockers:
High-protein breakfast foods like eggs and Greek yogurt keep hunger at bay for hours compared to carb-laden breakfast choices.
High-fiber foods such as whole grains, cold or hot breakfast cereals, dried fruits, and fresh and frozen veggies are all excellent ingredients that can be added to most dishes to pump-up fiber and diminish calories from being absorbed in the digestive track.
Go nuts! Studies on nuts, especially almonds and pistachios, show amazing hunger-busting and fat-shedding effects for those who add them to their diets. Two studies showed that substances in nuts increase fecal excretion of calories when a handful of them are added to the diet. In fact, 55-75% of calories provided by nuts may not be fully absorbed. Research has also demonstrated that people who add nuts to their diet stick to their diets longer and achieve greater weight loss than those who forgo these foods.
Belly Bulge Busters:
Whole grains: In a study from Tufts University of nearly 3000 men and women, researchers found that adults who ate three or more serving of whole grains and limited refined grain items to 1 serving or less had 10 percent less belly fat than those who didn’t eat this way.
Resistant starch (RS) food sources such as firm bananas, beans and lentils, potatoes, pasta, rice, and certain whole grains such as corn contain RS which increases glucagon-like peptide-1, a major appetite suppressant hormone. RS also helps make insulin work better and regulates blood sugar – the key essentials to stopping the accumulation of belly fat and reducing the risk of “dia-besity”.
MUFAS, also known as monounsaturated fatty acids, are found in such foods as avocado, almonds, olive oil, and canola oil. MUFAs help eliminate belly fat, especially in insulin-resistant individuals.
Anti-Bloat ingredients such as parsley, fennel, cabbage, watermelon, watercress, celery, and cucumber are not only low in calories but have unique properties that rid the body of unwanted excess fluid. Many of my bloated patients were poor water consumers when I first began to work with them. Ironically, drinking more water helps the body’s natural fluid regulators, the kidneys, do a better job of managing water balance.
Coffee & tea and less of me: Beverages that contain caffeine and antioxidants called catechins have been found to help burn calories through thermogenesis (the creation of heat). They counteract the decrease in metabolism that often accompanies weight loss efforts. The overall effect may be small (less than 50 calories a day burned) but this can add up to nearly 5 pounds on the scale in the course of a year. Combine this intervention with other metabolic boosters such as physical activity and proper rest and the fat-burning potential is substantial!
Poly wants a crack at her. Research shows that fruits like apples, pears, grapefruit, and grapes, long associated with helping to manage weight, are rich in naturally occurring plant chemicals called polyphenols. These polyphenol-rich fruits decrease skinny-phobe bacteria called firmicutes that accumulate in the gut and contribute to weight gain. These fruits also increase friendly bacteria called bacteriodetes that break down polyphenols into helpful substances that boost the body’s metabolism. In one study, people who drank Concord grape juice daily lost weight compared to a control group that consumed a sugar-sweetened grape beverage and gained weight. It’s possible that the polyphenols in the grape juice helped keep the weight off among the drinkers of unsweetened grape juice.
Hot stuff. There’s a spice that’s just dying to rev-up your fat-burning engine but rarely sees the light of day in culinarily impaired kitchen cabinets: hot peppers! Capsaicin is the active ingredient in hot peppers that boosts metabolism and decreases appetite – not only in the meal that it’s eaten in, but even for the next few meals, according to recent research. Capsaicin can be found in paprika, chili, and cayenne pepper powder, as well as dozens of other hot pepper varieties.
I’ve put some of these tips together in a killer egg salad sandwich for you. Hope you like it. What else do YOU put in your kitchen to help keep the pounds away? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.
Hunger-Busting Egg Salad Sandwich
Servings: Makes 4 sandwiches
6 large eggs, hard boiled
3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 stalks celery, washed and chopped
½ red onion, diced
2 tablespoons pistachios, chopped
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
4 large romaine lettuce leaves
8 slices of hi-fiber whole grain bread, toasted
Place eggs in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for seven minutes. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice and water. When eggs are finished cooking, place them in the ice bath for three minutes. Remove eggs and peel them and then place in a medium mixing bowl. Add yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and hot pepper sauce along with salt and pepper. Mash mixture with a fork, being careful to leave some texture. Stir in celery, onion, pistachios, and cilantro. Taste and add more hot sauce if you want more of a kick.
Toast bread. Spread mixture onto a slice of toast. Place lettuce leaf on top and cover with another slice of toast. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
293 Calories, 13.7g Total Fat, 3g Saturated Fat, 317mg Cholesterol, 25g Carbs, 8g Fiber,
20g Protein, 495 mg Sodium