Friday, October 8, 2010

How to lose weight? Keep your refrigerator stocked!

The trick is to have, close at hand, nutritious and already or semi-prepared foods that take very little time and effort to whip into a tasty mini-meal.

Foods I like to keep on hand are:  Cooked brown rice…   Lentils...   Cannellini beans…   Chickpeas...   and, of course... plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fruits of choice? Anything you like: I prefer apples, berries and bananas.  The vegetables I always have in store are: Romaine lettuce, onion, garlic, green peppers, tomatoes, carrots and celery, and frozen green peas (I know, not "fresh" but infinitely practical since they steam cook in 2 minutes flat).

Cooked rice (make it the evening before -- it lasts 2-3 days in fridge) is easily re-heated and makes a scrumptious breakfast when combined with a couple of eggs: poached, fried, or scrambled.  It's also a great compliment to any curry you might quickly bring together with lentils, onion, celery, and curry seasonings.

Just about any cooked bean or lentil can be made into a super salad with a bit of chopped onion, some diced tomatoes, dried  herbs, sea salt, olive oil, and perhaps a squeeze of fresh lemon.

If you have cooked chickpeas in the fridge, a batch of humus can be whizzed up lickity-split with tahini, minced garlic, and lemon juice (I usually don't even bother with tahini - just use olive oil instead).  Spread the humus on whole wheat pita or a Rye Crispbread (my favorites are Wasa and Finn Crisps).  It's great with carrot and celery sticks, as well, or dolloped on a crisp leaf of Romaine.

The point of eating mini-meals is to boost your metabolism.  Eating small amounts of nutritious foods at frequent intervals will do that.  You'll never be hungry, and you're likely to eat less overall.  Also, your body naturally is at its peak metabolic rate in the middle of the day; so it's best to eat your biggest meal around noon -- if you can, and a series of lighter snacks into the later hours.  I know the idea of mini-meals may not  jibe with the schedules of you or your family or your current habits; but consider the concept.  You may find yourself developing new and better eating patterns.

I'm not saying "don't eat meat", "eat organic", or "eliminate dairy".  Just give your body a chance to eat some legume protein and a good dose of fresh fruits and vegetables each day.  Allow yourself to "snack" on these treats.  These foods are all "fat burning", i.e., they increase the body's metabolic rate and efficiency.

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