Five foods for weight loss

By Phyllis Picklesimer
Media/Communications Specialist, U of I ACES News and Public Affairs

URBANA, Illinois — It’s a fresh new year, and many Americans want to slim down. However, most weight reduction advice comes in the form of what foods you shouldn’t eat. For a refreshing change, here are five foods you should consider adding to your diet, according to Jenna Smith, a University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator and registered dietitian.

1. Milk: Although you may already include milk in your diet, are you drinking enough? A study published in Obesity Research found that overweight and obese adults who consumed three servings of dairy each day lost twice as much weight as those getting only one serving or less. Milk is an easy dairy choice; one cup equals one serving, but an 8-ounce container of yogurt or 1-1/2 ounces of cheese also count as one serving. Consider low-fat (1 percent) or non-fat milk and milk products.

2. Mushrooms: These fungi can either enhance foods or stand alone. Save money and calories on meat by replacing all or half the meat with mushrooms. Mushrooms and ground meat can share the spotlight in Italian meat sauce for spaghetti or lasagna. Cut the beef altogether by using a portabello mushroom as a hamburger. A simple marinade of balsamic vinegar and olive oil can turn a seemingly dry “burger” into a mouth-watering mushroom sandwich. Mushrooms are satisfying and have practically no calories or fat, helping you to lose weight.

3. Beans: Beans, such as black, pinto, or kidney beans, are an economical addition to your weight loss efforts. They are a good source of protein and fiber, keeping you full longer. Look for lower-sodium canned beans and rinse before using to wash away 30 to 40 percent of the sodium that remains. Like mushrooms, beans can be used to replace all or half of the meat in a recipe. Tacos, enchiladas, stir-fries, and chili are great meals in which to add beans and decrease the amount of meat.

4. Raspberries: All fruits are good for weight loss because they are low in calories and have virtually no fat, but raspberries trump them all in terms of dietary fiber. Just one cup has 8 grams of fiber, which is more than a serving of bran flakes or oatmeal. Top cereals or yogurt with fresh raspberries or blend them to make smoothies.

5. Fish: Not only is fish a good protein source, it’s also very lean. The little fat that is in fish is usually good fat, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Fish is a good swap for red meats, which contain higher amounts of saturated fat, the bad fat that can raise cholesterol levels. Aim to eat fish twice per week to save calories.

There are no magical foods that cause you to shed pounds, but when these five foods are eaten as part of a healthy diet, you may lose the excess weight you’ve been wanting to get rid of,” Smith said.

From the Jan. 14-20, 2015, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!