Sunday, January 16, 2011

Filling Food to Speed Weight Loss

I received this article from a site called Living with Diabetes. This is not only true for diabetics but for any of us trying to loose weight.

Learn which foods fight hunger by keeping you feeling full longer.

It's the dieter's worst enemy — that gnawing hunger when you're trying to eat less and lose weight.

But fighting off those feelings of hunger could be as simple as a walk to the nearest soup and salad bar for lunch. Here's how you can make food choices that will keep you feeling full and help prevent the hunger pangs that lead to diet-busting snacks or binges.

Food Strategies For Losing Weight

If you want to feel full all day on less food, focus on these eating strategies:

  • Get enough lean protein and fiber. A study of 22 men who changed the amount of protein in their diets for 18-day periods showed that those who ate the least protein were the most likely to report being hungry. "Protein is the number one thing to help you feel full," says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. "The second thing is fiber."
  • Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Researchers tracked the weight-loss success of 71 obese women between 20 and 60 years of age on a low-fat diet. Half of the women were also told to increase their fruit and vegetable intake. At the end of one year, both groups of women had lost weight, but the women who ate the most fruits and veggies reported the greatest weight loss and were less likely to say they felt hungry on any given day. In fact, when the researchers crunched the data, they found that whether the women reported feeling hungry frequently predicted their ability to lose weight. Other studies have shown that changing your eating habits to focus on these water- and fiber-rich foods will help you maintain weight loss for up to six years.
  • Sip soup. Adding two low-calorie soups to your diet every day could stave off hunger pangs and keep you satisfied longer. Choose soups that are broth-based, not cream-based, to reduce the calorie count; also look for soups that are low in sodium. Consider chunky, pureed vegetable soups, as they have been shown to produce the most lasting full feeling. Timing your soup so that you have it before a meal also reduces the amount you eat at that meal by about 20 percent, according to a study of 53 overweight adults.
  • Eat whole grains. A serving of whole grains will stick with you longer than a serving of refined wheat bread or any other refined flour product, for that matter. Most refined flour is white and often bleached.
  • Pick "airy" snacks. If you must snack and you don't have a piece of fruit or a veggie tray on hand, choose the snack food that has more air in it — think cheese puffs instead of potato chips, rice cakes instead of cookies. You will feel just as full as you would if you ate the same serving size of another snack, but you will consume fewer calories on average.

Another way to fight off hunger is to develop a "low-energy density" eating plan. This means that you can eat a large quantity of foods that do not have a high calorie count. Learning about portion sizes and counting calories is one way to approach this, but you can also try the plate method, which dictates that half your plate be full of veggies, one-quarter dedicated to a starch (preferably whole grain), and one-quarter to a lean protein.

And speaking of plates, it's worth noting that a study of 45 adults demonstrated that the oft-repeated advice to eat on a smaller plate if you want to feel like you have more food in front of you actually has no effect on the amount you eat at a meal (if you are serving yourself) or your feeling of being full.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Brown Rice Pasta with Apples

3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled & cubed
1/2 cup Ideal brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp. spice (your choice. I used apple pie spice)
1 cup uncooked brown rice pasta
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

In a medium size pan cook apples, Ideal brown sugar, butter, pecans and spice until apples are tender. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and rinse pasta. Pour into apple mixture and toss gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Serves 6.

This idea came to me after a friend told me about a dessert recipe made with pasta. I've never had "sweet" pasta and the idea didn't really appeal to me. I had 3 Granny Smith apples that needed to be used or they would go to waste and when I started thinking of ways to cook them I decided stewing would be the best. Then I spotted a box of brown rice penne that was staring at me from it's shelf in the cabinet. What did I have to loose? That's how I came up with the above recipe. I simply decided to "Think With My Taste Buds."

After making this dish I did what I always do which is serve it to some of my food testers. It was sampled by 5 testers. Four gave it a 10 with one of them actually eating 3 servings. Only one didn't like the dish but as she said, it's the concept of eating "sweet" pasta. All in all, this turned out to be a really good dish and a healthy one too.