There’s a reason apples are number one on the list! Probably one of the most versatile fall foods around, nutrient- and fiber-rich apples can be used in everything from beverages to main courses to desserts. Apples are the perfect addition to your weight-loss plan, says Karen Langston, a certified nutritionist and board member of The National Association of Nutritional Professionals. Low-cal, full of vitamins and minerals, and full of fiber, apples help maintain your blood-sugar level, staving off cravings for high calorie no-no foods. Plus, the low-sodium content in apples can help prevent excess water weight and retention, Langston says.
Pumpkin is not only a super healthy treat, but its also one of the greatest weight-loss foods around, Langston says. Low in calories, but full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, pumpkin is also an excellent source of the important antioxidant beta-carotene. Enjoy it fresh or canned—you’ll still get the same nutritional benefits. You can even have it for breakfast! Langston recommends mixing 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a few raw almonds. Need more ideas? Try one of these amazing ways to cook with pumpkin.
Roast and eat them instead! “These delicious little super seeds are packed with protein, fiber, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous, as well as potassium, zinc, selenium, folate, niacin, and amino acids arginine and glutamic acid,” Langston says. They will help keep you fit, healthy, and lean with their poly- and mono-unsaturated fat content, which raises metabolism and helps burn fat. “They’re also great stress relievers (chew away stored frustration through crunching). Less stress means reduced cortisol levels, which keeps you thin!” Toast them to perfection with this easy recipe.
Reducing your daily sodium intake is an essential step towards healthy eating and weight loss, Bajenaru says. “Using herbs like bay leaves are a great way to add flavor to soups, sauces, and meat dishes without adding extra salt. Try adding a leaf or two to your next pot of soup or spaghetti sauce (just make sure to remove the leaves before eating).”
Daily consumption of ginger may reduce muscle pain caused by exercise by as much as 25 percent, according to a September 2010 study published in the Journal of Pain. Less muscle pain = more workouts! Try adding fresh ginger into stir-fry dishes, soups, or smoothies. Bajenaru recommends storing peeled ginger in the freezer to keep it fresh.
“Garlic contains the compound allicin, which has anti-bacterial effects and helps reduce unhealthy fats and cholesterol,” says Lisa DeFazio, a registered dietitian and celebrity nutrition expert. Garlic acts as a natural appetite suppressant in several ways, DeFazio says. The strong odor of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, reducing feelings of hunger, and it increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin (a hormone that helps regulate appetite). We just love the way it enhances the flavor of almost any dish, including this soothing garlic soup.
If the candy bowl is tempting you, try eating a few dates instead. You’ll still enjoy a sweet, chewy snack, but you’ll also load up on fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium—all of which can increase energy and balance sodium levels, Inge says. “Just be sure to stick to only a couple of dates, as dried fruit is a more concentrated source of calories.”
Pears are high in fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system, and their pectin promotes fullness, Inge says. At only about 100 calories per pear, this juicy, sweet fruit is great as a stand-alone snack, with a meal, or pureed into dessert. Try them in this delicious dinner recipe for ginger chicken.
“One entire ear of corn has fewer than 100 calories—and is bursting with sweet, buttery flavor,” Newgent says. “In addition to being a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin (both beneficial for eye health), corn provides both dietary fiber and protein which, when coupled together, can help boost the feeling of fullness.” Don’t drown it in butter; instead keep it light and full of flavor with one of these healthy eating ideas.
Believe it or not, pork is a great source of lean protein, says Barbara Mendez, a nutritional consultant and registered pharmacist in New York. Lean protein helps you stay fuller longer and helps preserve lean muscle mass. Since muscle helps burn fat, holding onto muscle can help promote a healthier long-term body weight, Mendez says. Just keep it lean by preparing your pork without frying or heavy breading
Including nutritionally-dense yams in your diet can trigger the satiety center in the brain quickly, making you feel full faster, Mendez says. “They are also loaded in antioxidants (like carotenoids), vitamins and minerals, and are quite low on the glycemic scale, meaning you’ll digest them slower and stay satisfied longer.”