Diet & Nutrition
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Favorite Foods for Losing Weight

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by Susan Woodward for MSN Health & Fitness


Why does the concept of weight loss conjure up images of, frankly,
unappetizing foods? Why do carrot sticks always spring to mind?

The answer seems to lie in the common delusion that to pare pounds you
have to barely eat, and the calories you do eat should be no more than
required by a mouse. But researchers are repeatedly finding that food
quality is more important than quantity when it comes to weight loss.
Combined with adequate exercise, your meals can be regular serving
sizes. The food just needs to be, well, wholesome.

“We’ve lost sight of that word—diet,” says Kristina Campbell, runner up in a
recent weight-loss challenge held in Phoenix, Ariz. “Diet used to mean what
your food is for the day, not losing weight.”

Below, Kristina and clinical nutritionist and author of Dare to Lose, Shari
Lieberman, Ph.D., pinpoint some essential healthy foods for anyone who
wants to lose weight and/or retain good health.

1. Yams and sweet potatoes.

Great diet foods because they’re low on the so-called glycemic index, says
Dr. Lieberman. The glycemic index measures the values of various foods
based on how quickly they break down and are absorbed into the
bloodstream. The slower the digestion, the lower the score, the better the
food is for regulating blood sugars, insulin, and overall metabolism—all of
which affect fat deposition.

2. Oranges, apples and grapefruit.

Dr. Lieberman recommends these particular fruits because they contain
high levels of the soluble fiber pectin. Fiber slows digestion, helps eliminate
toxins stored in body fat, and gives you a feeling of fullness.

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3. Killer sandwiches.

To lose 40 pounds in 21 weeks, Kristina relied on plenty of hearty
sandwiches stacked with vegetables, such as tomato, cucumber, sprouts,
lettuce and onion, as well as deli meats – but always oven-roasted turkey
over anything vacuum-packed. For bread choice, Kristina suggests
anything brown with lots of seeds and heavy grains you can actually see,
because less-milled ingredients contain much more fiber.

4. Cereal

They can be a little hard to find, but low-sugar cereals packed with protein
and fiber are hitting the market. The Kashi brand is one of the best, says
Kristina. “I eat my cereal with skim milk and blackberries or raspberries,
which contain about 8g of fiber per cup. That’s like three or four slices of
bread!”

5. Salad

“If you eat a salad, make it valuable,” suggests Kristina, also a former five-
star chef from New York City. “Get field or Asian greens and add a yogurt
dressing. Plus you need a ton of vegetables and some good lean protein,
like grilled salmon.”

6. Quiche

Quiche made with egg whites and just a couple of yolks is one of Kristina’s
favorite protein sources. She also tosses in a little low-fat cheese, broccoli
and spinach.

7. Yogurt

And other dairy goods that come in great-tasting, low-fat products.

8. Almonds

Nuts are loaded with monounsaturated fats—the good fats that are rich in
omega-3 fatty acids, known to lower cholesterol. Fats are as necessary to a
healthy diet as protein and carbohydrates. “I recommend that 20 percent of
calories come from [healthy] fat,” Dr. Lieberman says. Small amounts of
nuts are a good starting point.

9. Peanut butter

Likewise, nut butters are a great source of those healthy, monounsaturated
fats. Kristina likes unsalted, all natural brands of peanut butter. But almond
or cashew butter is considered an even healthier option (especially if you’re
allergic to peanuts!). Enjoy your favorite, but in moderation.

10. Hummus.

AKA pureed chickpeas, garlic, and a little lemon juice. Great with whole-
wheat pita bread or organic corn chips.

11. Salsa.

Another favorite for dipping, and a homemade batch is easy to make.
Fresh salsa is simply tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro. Now, tell me,
what could possibly be unhealthy about that?
Portion Sizes

3 ounces of meat, poultry or fish = deck
of cards
2 tablespoons of peanut butter = one
un-shelled walnut
2 tablespoons of salad dressing = shot
glass
1 teaspoon of olive oil = standard cap
size on a 16-ounce water bottle
1 teaspoon of butter = standard postage
stamp
1 cup cold cereal = baseball
½ cup rice or pasta = ½ baseball
1 ounce hard cheese = 4 dice
1 potato = computer mouse
1 piece of fruit = baseball

Using your Hands

3 ounces of meat, fish or poultry = palm
of your hand
¼ cup mixed nuts or granola = 1 layer
on your palm
1 cup veggies or berries = tight fist
1 cup popcorn or cereal flakes = 2
cupped hands
½ cup rice or pasta = rounded handful
½ teaspoon oil or butter = 1 fingertip