Yummy Vegetable Recipes will Encourage Your Kids to Eat Healthy

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Preparing yummy vegetable recipes for children is not as arduous a task as it is made out to be, especially since there are considerable options pertaining to the varieties of cuisines and seasonings available in the market. Vegetables for kids are considered to be less tasty as compared with the processed, high-fat food available, so the way in which to win over a fussy child is to make their vegetable dish fun, creative, and as tasty as the junk food they crave.

Stick with Their Favorites

Vegetable recipes that are based on the child’s favorite food will encourage them to eat more of it. If your child is particularly fond of a particular meal, consider making a vegetable version of it with the same flavors used in the original dish, but leave out any oil, fat, and other unhealthy accompaniments that you can.

For instance, if they like macaroni and cheese, you could come up with your own yummy vegetable recipes based around the dish and include whole wheat macaroni, a variety of vegetables, and less fattening varieties of cheese.

If your child is a fan of burgers, you could construct your own healthy version of them by layering lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, and coleslaw between multigrain buns, and adding a vegetable patty or using lean turkey burgers as opposed to a beef patty. This dish served with sweet potato fries will look exactly like a fast food meal, but will be much lower in calorie content, and will contain at least two servings of vegetables.

Vegetables for Kids will be Eaten Faster When they Look Good

Kids will be more likely to form a lasting relationship with vegetables and other healthy foods if they are presented in a manner that is fun and aesthetically pleasing. There are plenty of yummy vegetable recipes available that will help vegetables taste delicious.

Adding fun and simple touches to meals, such as decorating a salad to make it look like a smiley face or their favorite cartoon character, is likely to please your child and will enable him or her to enjoy their healthy serving of vegetables rather than forcing them to eat boring, uninspiring meals.

It is okay to offer them a few condiments on the side, such as limited servings of ketchup or mayonnaise, but it is also a good idea to introduce them to the more healthy condiments such as mustard. Introducing your child to a healthy and balanced diet early in life will ensure that they are getting their daily nutritional requirements and will enable them to avoid obesity and other illnesses as they get older.

Health Benefits of Breakfast: 3 Reasons Not To Skip Your Morning Meal

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How many times have you woke up in a hurry, got ready, and rushed out the door without a second thought to eating breakfast? We’ve all been there and have suffered the consequences when mid-morning hits and we are starving and ready to eat the first unhealthy thing we come across. Avoiding this trap and making breakfast a part of your daily routine can not only add to the success and productivity of your day, but also begin your path to a healthier lifestyle. Here are just a few benefits of this important daily meal.

Increased energy level – You will find that by eating a healthy breakfast your energy level is much higher throughout the day. You will be more productive and less inclined to eat that unhealthy bag of chips calling your name. Breakfast provides the right kind of nutrients our body needs to get through the day and be the best version of ourselves. We will be much more likely to focus on productivity when we routinely give our bodies the fuel it needs to carry on.

Weight Control – It’s been said that those who tend to eat breakfast in the mornings are more likely to lose weight or simply not weigh as much. That being said, it makes sense because we don’t find ourselves bogged down with those nasty cravings that come with not eating anything in the morning. We tend to make healthier choices throughout the day when we aren’t starving and looking for anything to satisfy us. You need breakfast to get give your metabolism a boost so you can burn more calories throughout the day.

Happier and Healthier – Eating breakfast routinely every morning will not only start you on the path to a healthier life but also cause you to have a better, happier attitude. We are mentally and physically able to focus on things that matter when we give our bodies the right kind of nutrition. This means staying away from sugar and caffeine and consuming more whole grains, dairy, and fruit. Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast tend to be grouchier throughout the day. When you deprive your body of the fuel it needs, it affects all aspects of your life.

There are huge benefits to getting into a routine each morning and eating a healthy breakfast. This one meal sets the tone for the entire day and our mood and physical well-being is affected by it. You will not only be more productive but your overall health will improve by just making a few changes to your daily routine. Rather than rushing through those early morning hours give yourself a little more time in the morning to plan a healthy meal. The success of your day depends on how you start it out.

 

 

3 Healthy & Delicious Fruit Desserts That Will Have Your Kids Begging For More

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When you think of the word “dessert” what comes to mind?

More than likely you immediately think of pies, cakes, cookies – all the unhealthy things that most people associate with the word desserts. But did you know there are healthier versions available? And healthier doesn’t mean boring and bland! Things like fruit desserts can be healthy, full of flavor and a great way to help ensure that you and your family are getting more fruits in your daily diet!

What exactly do these desserts have to do with getting more fruits into your daily diet?

First, if you have a hard time getting picky eaters to snack on plain fruit, these desserts offer a delicious flavorful alternative to eating it plain. Sometimes all it takes to get a picky kid to eat fruit is to add it to something else and label it a dessert. After all, what kid doesn’t like dessert? And two, sometimes eating fruit is just plain ole boring and fruit desserts add enough variety and more flavor to ‘spice’ things up.

Want to try it on your own kids? Here are three quick and easy fruit desserts that are healthy and packed full of flavor and are sure to have your family asking for more! And best of all, you can give them more knowing it’s healthy and helping them get more of the vitamins and minerals they need that fruit provides.

Fruit Dessert Recipes

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
(Makes about 4 servings)

1/2 cup sugar
1 package (16 ounces) unsweetened strawberries
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

In a food processor, add the sugar and strawberries. Pulse until chopped coarsely. Slowly add the yogurt and lemon juice with the food processor still running. Process until smooth and serve immediately.

Banana Bites

1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 large bananas
Coconut flakes

Tear a decent sized peace of wax paper off and put on counter top (or working surface). Cut bananas into bit sized chunks. Heat the peanut butter and chocolate chips in microwave (about 1 minute). Dip banana pieces until well coated. Sprinkle coconut flakes on them and let harden (about 1 hour).

Broiled Pineapple

1/2 lb. pineapple
Nonstick cooking spray

While preheating oven, coat broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray. Core pineapple and cut wedges lengthwise to make 8 spears. Put pineapple spears on broiler pan and cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tender. You can even serve this with a dollop of vanilla ice cream if you wish.

As you can see, from the three recipes shared, fruit desserts are a quick and easy way to ensure that you and your family are adding more fruits to your diet. Another way, not mentioned in the recipes above, to make a fruit dessert is as simple as putting some berries in a bowl and adding some cool whip on top.

 

Feel Full and Lose Weight with these Five Natural Foods

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Weight loss is a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the United States. There are pills, potions, mixtures and lotions. You can even find vibrating belts and fat melting shakes. Some of these weight loss aids are gimmicks and some might actually help you lose weight in the short-term, but usually you gain the weight back in a few weeks. For long-lasting, permanent weight loss you have to eat right and exercise. The right foods combined with exercise can help you lose weight and keep it off while providing your body with essential nutrients and elements necessary for good health. Natural foods help stimulate your metabolism, boost your energy and make you feel good.

A delicious way to get your daily fruit and veggie fix is to enjoy a cool, crisp salad. Salads with light green, dark green, orange, red and yellow vegetables will provide color, aroma and flavor to any ordinary salad. Vegetables are fat free, loaded with fiber and full of nutrients your body needs. The fiber will fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. Vegetables are naturally low in calories, but salad dressings can be high in both fat and calories. Choose no salad dressing or a low-fat dressing. Chop up and dice some fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth or to get an extra boost of energy in the late afternoon between meals. Try some fresh fruit mixed with low-fat yogurt for a delicious pick-me-up loaded with nutrients and healthy carbohydrates.

What’s not to love about chicken soup? It’s good for the soul and the perfect food to comfort your body when you have a cold. Chicken soup not only boosts your immune system, it also helps you lose weight. A bowl of chicken soup with a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, celery and yellow squash, is rich in nutrients and fiber to help you feel full and satisfied for hours. Vegetables in chicken soup contain antioxidants to help stave off cell damage. The bits of white meat chicken are low in fat and high in protein. Enjoy a bowl of chicken soup to feel full, while adding important nutrients to your diet without adding calories.

Lean beef is a good choice to help promote weight loss by adding fiber and protein to your diet. You should not sacrifice muscle mass when trying to lose fat. Lean beef and other protein-rich foods combined with regular exercise can help maintain muscle mass while burning fat. Amino acids found in lean beef are necessary to the production of muscle cells. You can also add cooked lean beef to other healthy meals, such as salads.

Whole grains, including oats and wheat and wild rice, are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A small serving of whole grains helps you feel fuller faster so that you eat less than you normally would eat. Choose grains that have not been processed for maximum benefit. Warm oatmeal with low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast will stimulate your metabolism for fat burning all morning long. Beans, rice, lentils and peas are also a good source of fiber and nutrients. You can eat beans or lentils and wild rice as a side dish or combine them with other foods, such as soups and stews, for flavor and fiber.

 

Add More Whole Foods to Your Diet

Photo credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia CommonsThe phrase “whole foods” refers to foods that are raw, unprocessed or as close to nature as possible. Whole foods include whole grains, whole raw fruits and vegetables, and unprocessed chicken and meats. It is easier to improve your diet by replacing processed foods with natural, whole foods than you might think. Whole foods are generally lower in calories and carbohydrates than highly processed foods such as frozen dinners and fast food. Switching from processed to whole foods means meal preparation will take a little more planning, but your health and your waist line will thank you.

Add more whole foods to your regular diet by replacing highly processed white flour with whole grains. Instead of white bread, choose whole wheat, oat and bran breads. Opt for fresh or frozen whole fruits and vegetables instead of canned. The canning process includes cooking and adding preservatives. Many canned fruits and vegetables have added sugar or sodium. The canning process also removes beneficial phytochemicals and nutrients that your body needs for good health. Buy fresh or frozen as opposed to canned vegetables and fruits, so that you can enjoy all the benefits of eating vegetables.

Pass by the convenience foods, such as frozen macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and frozen meatloaf in the freezer section. These foods are usually high in calories, carbohydrates and are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Fresh, skinless chicken breasts baked or grilled with whole wheat rolls, fresh vegetables or a salad makes an excellent whole food dinner. Forget the instant mashed potatoes that are loaded with preservatives and other chemicals. Choosing long grain and wild rice as a side dish is another way to add whole foods to your diet.

Beans, rice and legumes can replace high-calorie side dishes, such as macaroni and cheese and instant mashed potatoes. As for potatoes, they are an excellent whole food. If you don’t have time to peel, cook and whip your own potatoes, a baked (sweet) potato is just as delicious and takes less preparation time. Top your baked potato with low-fat sour cream and some fresh chopped green onions for delicious side dish. Many supermarkets offer fresh fish and other seafood. Select local fish or fish that is flown in daily. Fresh fish can be a little more expensive than the fish in the freezer, but one taste of fresh grilled perch or shrimp will convince you it’s worth the price. A salad with a mixture of lettuces, spinach, radishes, carrots, bell peppers and tomatoes is the perfect way to start any whole foods meal.

Many of the preservatives we consume come from snack foods and sodas. Rather than potato chips and snack crackers, satisfy your snack urge with fresh sliced apples, bananas, grapes and berries. You can also enjoy raisins, nuts and other dried fruits. Keep some banana and apple chips in your desk for a quick, naturally sweet snack. Blend up a berry smoothie with fresh berries, ice and 100 percent fruit juice for a refreshing whole foods treat. Keep a bowl of fresh apples, oranges, and bananas on the counter for a healthy, quick after work or after school snack. Tea, especially green tea, is a refreshing alternative to sugary soda. Toss the cold breakfast cereals and fill your pantry with whole grain cereals instead. Whole oats, wheat germ and quinoa are healthy, whole food breakfast choices. Add fresh fruit for extra flavor and nutrients. Avoid using processed sugar. Sweeten your morning oats with honey or natural maple syrup.

 

Juicing Your Way to Weight Loss

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It seems that each new day brings a new weight-loss fad, and you can usually spot the fakes. They promote a pill, a powder or a belt that promises rapid weight loss without actually changing your diet or your lifestyle. Some of these fads may result in some weight loss in the short term, but you will most likely re-gain the weight you lost and then some more. You have to change your diet, get more exercise and drink healthier beverages if you want to lose weight and keep it off. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is one way to change your diet to promote weight loss. If raw vegetables are unappetizing to you, consider getting more veggies in your diet by juicing. Juicing vegetables and fruits is one way to get all the benefits of raw, whole foods.

Juicing is not just squeezing fruit juice into a glass. A juicer blends raw fruits and vegetables into a cool, smooth drink that tastes great. Even if you don’t like vegetables, such as kale, spinach, or broccoli, you can combine these healthy greens with bananas, strawberries and apples for a delicious, refreshing and healthy drink.

Drinking your fruits and vegetables can help you to get more fiber and nutrients into your diet. Raw fruits and vegetables are the best way to get the nutrients, trace minerals and antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. The raw fiber in fresh fruits and vegetables can help you feel full so that you do not overeat. Fiber also helps to regulate your digestive system and stimulate your metabolism for additional weight loss.

Invest in a high quality juicer for the best juicing. You don’t want your juice to be lumpy or contain chunks of raw vegetables. Find one that produces a smooth textured juice. Try juicing only the fruits and vegetables that you already love if you are new to juicing. Start with some sweet red apples, strawberries and a banana. You can blend these fruits with a cup of ice for a refreshing smoothie. Mix and match sweet fruits to find your favorite combination. Once you settle on a favorite flavor, add one green vegetable, such as a few kale or spinach leaves or one carrot. The rich flavor of the blended fruits will cover the taste of the carrot, spinach and kale, but you will still get all the benefits of these nutrient-rich vegetables.

Juice whole, unpeeled vegetables and fruit. Much of the taste and many of the nutrients are found in the skin. Replace your bacon, eggs and white toast with butter and enjoy a breakfast juice instead. Drinking juiced vegetables and fruits on an empty stomach will help you feel full faster and will keep you from getting hungry for hours. Take a thermos of juice to work for your lunch instead of a fast food burger. Your body will get the nutrients and energy it needs without the empty calories and bad carbohydrates found in most fast food. Even people who refuse to eat vegetables will enjoy a cold, fresh glass of juiced fruits and veggies.

 

The 5 Healthiest Foods You Should Be Eating

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there has been a dramatic increase in chronic diseases and other health problems worldwide. In fact, WHO projects that by 2020 chronic diseases will account for almost three-quarters of all deaths worldwide. Therefore, a greater emphasis has been placed on practicing healthier lifestyle habits, such as choosing more nutritious foods, getting daily exercise, and managing stress. There are lots of healthy food choices available, but these 5 healthiest foods will get you off to a great start on your health journey.

Vegetables:  You probably remember your parents saying, “eat your veggies!” Well, your parents were right. Vegetables contain a plethora оf vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients аnd dietary fibers, whісh offer numerous health benefits. Experts recommend аt lеаѕt five servings оf vegetables every day to keep our immune system strong, so we can have a better chance at keeping illnesses and diseases at bay. All vegetables are excellent for your health. Spinach, for example, is chock full of calcium, vitamin A аnd C, magnesium, riboflavin, and iron, giving your skin and hair a nice, healthy glow. Steamed broccoli is another nutrient-rich veggie that provides lots of potassium, fiber, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc and so much more. Eating plenty of leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, arugula and collard greens, is especially advantageous because they are nutritional powerhouses filled with chlorophyll, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. They are most nutritious when lightly steamed or raw.

Fruits:  Studies have found thаt people whо eat fruits regularly are less likely to develop diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and heart disease. Amоng thе different types оf fruits, thе two healthiest fruits that you should include in your diet аrе berries аnd citrus fruits. Berries, such as raspberries, strawberries аnd blueberries, аrе high іn disease- fighting antioxidants that help to protect our cells from free radical damage. Berries can help improve memory function, too. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes, provide a rich source of vitamin C, fiber, phytochemicals аnd flavonoids. Consumption оf thеѕе fruits may also lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, improve heart health, аnd may prevent thе development оf colon аnd stomach cancer. You don’t have to stick to just berries аnd citrus fruits either. Othеr fruits like red grapes, apples, apricots, plums, and papaya are also very beneficial to your health.

Whоle Grains:  Whоle grains include foods like oatmeal, millet, quinoa, barley and wild rice. Most whole grain foods are abundant in fiber, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium, to name a few. Regular consumption of whole grains can help reduce your risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The dietary fiber in whole grains will also help you feel full faster and longer, as well as help prevent constipation and aid digestion.

Nuts:  Anоthеr food having аn important place оn thіѕ list іѕ nuts. Nuts, еѕресіаllу almonds аnd walnuts, provide аn excellent source оf protein and omega-3 fatty acids. According to Mayo Clinic, people who eat nuts can lower their bad cholesterol, or LDL’s, thus improve overall heart health.   Thеу аlѕо possess vitamins B аnd E, monounsaturated fats, calcium, potassium аnd fiber. Try a handful of nuts as a between meal snack to help curb your appetite until the next meal.

Yogurt: Yogurt contains healthy bacteria, called probiotics, which can benefit your health by enhancing your digestive and immune system wellness. Yogurt is also rich in calcium and vitamin D, both essential for bone health. And, according to a study published in the January 2005 issue of the “International Journal of Obesity,” yogurt may speed weight loss because of its fat-burning properties and low-calorie content. Therefore, it’s important to choose low-fat, low-sugar yogurt to reap the health benefits without packing on the pounds. Eating yogurt may also help treat certain intestinal infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea, especially after receiving antibiotic treatment, according to Mayo Clinic.

Beachbody

 

5 Simple Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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The Holidays are a wonderful time of year, and there is so much to appreciate, to enjoy, and to be thankful for. This is also the time of year when many of us gain a lot more than just quality time with friends and family. Putting on an extra 5 to 10 pounds isn’t difficult to do and for most, they will spend the next 6 months or more working to get it off.  To help you stay focused on your health and fitness goals, here are 5 simple ways to avoid holiday weight gain.

Get some sleep.

The Holidays are a busy time for most of us whether it be holiday shopping, family and friends coming into town, traveling, cooking, cleaning, kids programs at school, projects, volunteering, and the list goes on. This is why it’s especially important to get plenty of rest, take care of yourself and take time to relax. Sleep is critical for a healthy immune system and maintaining a healthy weight. Adults normally need about 7 to 8 hours of sleep to help reduce stress, fatigue, exhaustion and fight off sickness…all of these factors can also lead to overeating during stressful times. Limit your intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugars, especially if you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep. Doing some light exercise, such as yoga or Pilates, a couple of hours before you go to bed will also help to reduce holiday anxiety and stress. Or, try to unwind before bed by taking a hot shower or bath.

Drink water before every meal.

The best rule of thumb is to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay properly hydrated. Ideally, you should be drinking your weight in ounces per day to help your body function at its best, as well as remove toxins and process foods. By drinking water before every meal, you will decrease the amount of food you consume at each sitting and thus prevent you from overeating and gaining unwanted weight. Many times when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty, so drink a tall glass of water to see if that curbs your appetite. Above all, listen to your body and give it the proper nutrition it requires, especially water!

Maintain an exercise routine.

The shorter days, cooler weather, and overwhelming to-do list can leave you feeling exhausted with no time to spare. And, more than likely, exercise is the last thing on your mind. However, incorporating a regular exercise routine will help you to stay healthy mentally, physically, and spiritually. So, weather permitting, get outside in the fresh air and take a 30-minute walk. If that doesn’t appeal to you, try dancing away the calories at your holiday party, or burning off those extra calories by shoveling your snow by yourself.  The important thing is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise, 4 to 5 times per week, to keep holiday weight gain at bay.

Watch your portion sizes!

Use a smaller plate size to control your portions and to trick your mind into thinking you have a full plate. Often times our hunger pangs are psychological, so if your mind thinks you have a full plate, then you’ll be more satisfied and less likely to reach for more food.  Also, you need to focus on what you’re eating, so don’t eat in front of the television. It’s amazing how much you can eat when you’re not paying attention! And lastly, control your portions and caloric intake by eating lots of veggies and protein at every meal to keep yourself fuller for longer, and avoid drinking high-calorie beverages. Liquid calories can add up fast.

Eat a meal, don’t graze.

When the average person sits down to their holiday meal, they’ve already consumed 90 percent of their daily calorie needs, according to Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating. How can this be? Well, you can blame it on grazing, which is a bad habit of snacking throughout the day without sitting down to an actual meal. To avoid grazing, pick out your favorite appetizers and put them on a small plate, sit down, chew slowly and savor every bite. Don’t spoil your appetite, though; eat just enough to hold you over until the main meal is served.

 

8 Foods to Boost Energy

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The saying, “You are what you eat” rings so true for many of us, and who doesn’t want more energy on a daily basis? This article highlights 8 readily available foods to keep energy levels up and spirits high.

WATER

Though technically not a food, water is our number one essential life force! Did you know that at the first moment of thirst, our bodies are already in dehydration mode? Thirst is the body’s signal of a desperate need to hydrate. Water helps to carry nutrients to your cells, and many of us are lacking hydration on a daily basis. At the first sign of sluggishness, drink a large glass of water. Chances are, you’ll perk up! You will always feel best when you are properly hydrated.

FRESH FRUIT

Fruits contain carbohydrates and sugar, both of which turn to glucose and all of which have gotten a bad wrap in recent years. But in proper doses, they are essential for your body to function energetically. Glucose is easily metabolized into quick energy, making fruits a great pre-workout snack. Some great choices include bananas, grapes, apples, citrus fruits and dates.

NUTS

Nuts contain great healthy protein, fats and fiber that help keep you full. They contain an array of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, and are high in omega-3s. Nuts also contain magnesium, which helps the body convert nutrients into energy.  A small handful (about ¼ cup) packs a powerful energy punch.

EGGS

There’s a reason why eggs have been a staple breakfast food for centuries. Eggs are full of amino acids such as leucine, which plays an integral role in how muscles use glucose. Eggs also contain B vitamins such as riboflavin, folate, B12 and B6, vitamins all essential for energy production. Because of this, eggs are said to be helpful with endurance training.

Having a proper breakfast also jump-starts your metabolism for the rest of the day, so eat those eggs!

QUINOA

Quinoa is one of “nature’s perfect foods” and boasts itself as one of the most protein rich foods that we can eat. It is a complete protein on its own, meaning that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), which helps in the production of energy within our cells. B2 also improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells, and helps cells release energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

DARK LEAFY GREENS

Green leafy vegetables are true nutritional powerhouses and are some of the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. They are packed with vitamins and minerals that contribute to stable blood sugar levels that in turn help maintain energy levels. Dark leafy greens are also full of iron, which is essential in maintaining red blood cell health throughout the body. Red blood cells are full of oxygen, and iron allows for them to move around at maximum potential. Greater oxygen distribution leads to more alertness and higher concentration capabilities. Popeye was definitely onto something!

KOMBUCHA

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that has amazing detoxifying and probiotic properties. These detoxifying effects allow for your body as a system to function to its greatest potential. This means that on a cellular level, things are running smoothly and your body can use its energy sources efficiently. In short, this means more energy for you!

DARK CHOCOLATE

We’re talking the good stuff here. In small amounts, dark chocolate with higher cacao content can have some positive effects on your energy levels. Besides containing a small (and safe) amount of caffeine, it contains vitamins and a stimulant similar to caffeine called theobromine. When choosing a bar, the darker the better. If you can also keep the ingredient list to a minimum, this ensures whole ingredients that are less processed and easier for your body to process and reap the benefits.

 

Fat-Fighting Foods

You’ve probably heard about green tea. Claims about the benefits of green tea range from helping you to sleep to increasing metabolism to helping improve your mood. There is a basis for the metabolism claim — catechins. Catechins is a plant chemical that boosts your metabolism. To enjoy the fat-fighting benefits of green tea, drink several cups of hot tea each day. Replace your regular soda or coffee with cream and sugar with a cup of hot green tea. You will enjoy the benefits of catechins metabolism boost while cutting out extra calories from sodas and coffee additives. Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which briefly boosts your metabolism and curbs your appetite. You might eat less when you eat spicy foods.

Grapefruit does not have a magic ingredient despite the fad diet claims from a few years ago. Grapefruit does contain plenty of soluble fiber, which takes longer to digest and may help you feel fuller longer. Raw fruits and vegetables of all kinds help you feel fuller longer and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables and fruits are generally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with nutrients your body needs. Trade potato chips and other calorie loaded snack foods for a plate of raw vegetables.

Use spices in your foods to boost flavor without added calories. Cinnamon helps to curb your appetite and may stabilize your blood sugar. Stir some cinnamon into coffee, tea, yogurt and milk drinks.