Tired of the same old, same old? Here are some out-of-the-box eats to incorporate into your diet, along with some stand-bys with benefits just too good to ignore:
WATERMELON – If you need an excuse to load up on this summer favorite, here’s one: watermelon contains lots of nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s 92 percent water, meaning it will fill you up with minimal calories.
JICAMA – While this Mexican turnip may look like a fuzzy brown lump, beneath the surface is a fiber-packed snack that can work wonders for weight loss. With a high fiber-to-sugar ration and plenty of potassium (which the body requires for maintaining its water balance) – not to mention a delicious, light taste and crispy crunch – jicama is a winning snack to work into your diet.
NUTS – There are few foods smarter than nuts. Not only are nuts like almonds and pistachios packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which help you control your appetite while lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but they also contain protein that will keep you full AND increase your calorie burning potential for up to three and a haf hours. Other nut benefits include increased vitamin E levels along with improved memory and performance. Not all nuts are created equal, so be sure to check out what’s best for your goals.
PURPLE CARROTS – If you think regular ol’ carrots are a healthy eat, just wait until you try their purple cousins! In addition to the beneficial phytochemicals contained in the orange variety, purple carrots contain anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants with anti-aging properties.
MANGOES – These delicious fruits hold a number of benefits in their juicy orange flesh. Sweet enough to curb sugar cravings, mangos are also high in fiber, iron, magnesium and antioxidants. They also aid in digestion, so make sure you opt for the fruit over just the juice.
EGGS – The incredible, edible egg is making a comeback among fitness circles. Several studies have shown that egg protein outperforms other proteins in boosting muscle strength and development, thanks to its high concentration of the amino acid leucine. Egg protein also helps curb hunger over a sustained period of time while providing plenty of energy.
MULBERRIES – Change up the summer berry routine with this power-packed fruit. Like most berries, mulberries are low in calories, but these winners also contain plenty of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and the phytonutrient resveratrol, which has been shown to protect the heart.
WHOLE GRAINS – While whole grains aren’t news, this research is: after analyzing the diets of more than 27,000 people across an eight-year span, Harvard University researchers found that those who ate whole grains daily weighed an average of 2.5 lbs less than those who ate only refined-grain foods. Researchers at Penn State University additionally found that those who ate whole grains lost 2.4 times more belly fat than their refined-grain-eating counterparts. This makes sense when considering how whole grains favorably affect blood-glucose levels, keeping your body from blood sugar spikes. Whole grains’ antioxidants help control inflammation and insulin (which the body uses to store belly fat).