Spring Eating: Fat-Burning Foods to Help Lose the Winter Bulk
Spring is nearly upon us and it's time to do away with your winter transgressions and get back into a healthy routine. Maybe you've been keeping up with your workouts despite the distraction of holiday parties and the obstacles of snow and freezing temperatures, or maybe you haven't.
Perhaps you've slacked a bit in your usual regimen and allowed a little bulk to hide underneath those warm sweaters and Canada Goose jacket.
Don’t beat yourself up as Spring is all about renewal! By combining the tips for jump starting your workouts with the following recipes and snacking tips, you can find yourself back on the road to your pre-winter habits.
Foods to Keep Around
Even if you have a few pounds to drop after the holiday season, focus on healthy eating rather than simply losing weight.
Set yourself up for success by stocking your kitchen with foods that aid in burning fat. Use them in your recipes and as snacks to keep you going throughout the day.
Omega-3, the Healthy Fat
Walnuts are the king of nuts when it comes to omega-3s, essential to the body's function, but only obtained through food.
Just one ounce of walnuts contains up to three grams of alpha-linolenic acid which your body transforms into energy. So pop a handful of walnuts into your mouth when you need that extra boost to get your workout started.
Another rich source of omega-3s, salmon provides the fat in two necessary acid forms, so your body doesn't waste energy converting them.
Add Fuel, Subtract Fat
Considered a superfood for its various health benefits, avocados contain monounsaturated fats that not only create fuel, but also help burn fat.
Fat loss also occurs when insulin is inhibited and calcium is absorbed. Avocados feature a carbohydrate that does both.
Another insulin inhibitor is oatmeal, a slowly digested carb. These are believed to help burn higher rates of fat throughout the day and increase the fat-burning effects of a workout.
Snacking on edamame has dual benefits: muscle-building and fat loss. A protein as efficient as beef at creating muscle, the soybean is believed to inhibit your appetite and thus burn fat.
Consider a grapefruit or grapefruit juice for breakfast. Like oatmeal and avocados, grapefruit lowers insulin levels. It also contains naringin, which thwarts the body's storage of fat.
Broccoli is a low-calorie, low-carb veggie that fills you up but is also full of chemical compounds that aid in fat loss.
Although it is a sugar, honey is a great source of nitric oxide metabolites which encourages the release of fat from the body's cells.
A study cited by The American Council on Exercise shows a correlation between calorie controlled diets (including whole grains like your old friend oatmeal) and lower abdominal fat. The same study also cites broccoli as a go-to for a flatter stomach.
In addition to those great omega-3s, salmon has also been shown in recent studies to promote abdominal fat loss.
Putting it All Together
Besides snacking on walnuts and edamame, use these ingredients to create delicious yet healthy recipes. These recipes are simple even if cooking isn't your thing.
Look at what you cook and later eat as an extension of your workout. Put on some music to make your time in the kitchen more fun!
By using the day-long fat-burning benefits of foods like oatmeal, your breakfast will work for you hours after you've eaten it. Eating Well magazine offers a twist on oatmeal that lets you prep in advance and eat on the go.
A Better-than-Blueberry Pancake Breakfast
- 2-1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1-1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup blueberries
- Combine oats and milk in a large bowl and let soak in your refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours, until the bulk of the liquid is absorbed.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a 12-muffin pan with nonstick spray.
- Stir remaining ingredients, minus the blueberries, into the soaked oats until well combined.
- Divide into the 12 cups and top each with blueberries.
- Bake until the cakes spring back when touched, roughly 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and remove with paring knife.
The cakes are best served warm but you can store them for up to two days in your refrigerator and up to three months in your freezer.
Grab one each morning and warm in the oven or microwave to enjoy the 264-calorie snack on your way to work or workout, along with a glass of grapefruit juice of course!
Raley's, a California and Nevada-based grocery store dedicated to sustainability and helping those in need, offers a salmon recipe with only 320 calories per serving.
Prep time is estimated at 10 minutes and cooking time, 10 to 15. Make sure your sports earbuds are in before you start to get a 25-minute workout in, doing squats and lunges from one prep area to another, or try this Superfast Total-Body Workout by Women’s Health while the salmon cooks.
Raley's Honey and Walnut Crusted Salmon
- Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons grained mustard
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- Rinse salmon and pat it dry. Place skin down on the baking sheet and add salt and pepper to your taste.
- Stir honey and mustard together and spoon over the top and sides of the fish.
- Sprinkle chopped nuts on top and bake to your liking, roughly 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve over mixed greens as suggested by Raley's or add a side of steamed broccoli to increase your fat burning potential.
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