Spring Foods to Help You Shed Your Winter Weight

From EatingWell Magazine

As spring nudges its way forward, some of us are left with an unpleasant souvenir of winter—that extra “layer” that just doesn’t come off as easily as your favorite winter coat. Though that extra insulation might have kept us warm through the long, cold season, by spring it’s time to shed the padding. The good news is, many springtime foods may help promote weight loss, and not just because they’re lighter than those hearty winter dishes (although that helps too).

Here are some top picks for spring foods to help you slim down.

Strawberries add fiber.

Strawberries’ fiber content makes them a good choice for weight loss. A two-year study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate 8 extra grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories per day lost about 4 1/2 pounds. (Women who decreased their fiber intake actually gained weight.) One cup of strawberries has a respectable 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day’s recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps keep skin healthy. Add sliced strawberries to your cereal in the morning, toss a few frozen strawberries into your smoothie or serve them with just a sprinkle of powdered sugar for dessert. They’re sweet enough to feel indulgent—but at a fraction of the calories of a slice of cake or pie.

Eggs can help you feel fuller longer.

Eggs are packed with protein, which staves off hunger. In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. Have a veggie-packed omelet for breakfast, or—if you don’t feel like carefully flipping your eggs—simply scramble them with your veggies for the same amount of protein that’s far easier to prepare.

Salad greens can help you stick to your goals.

Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. Not a fan of salad? Vegetable soups achieve the same result (in fact, a different study found that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup). Pass on the bread basket and say yes to soup or salad—just be sure that you look for vegetable-based soups without a ton of cream, and opt for a simple dressing of oil and vinegar, instead of creamy ranch dressing, on your salad.

Mushrooms make a great Meatless Monday.

Mushrooms taste meaty, but have only a fraction of the calories and fat of red meat. Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they’d eaten those same dishes made with beef. Finely chop mushrooms to substitute for a portion of ground beef in chili, hamburgers, casseroles and meatloaf, or try grilling a meaty portobello mushroom instead of steak to get in on the Meatless Monday trend.

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