The concept of losing weight is pretty simple. To drop pounds, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. There’s no way around that. Actually applying healthy habits to your everyday life, however, isn’t quite so easy. But what you eat can have an impact. Certain foods are more helpful than others in the shedding of body weight. They make you feel fuller longer and help curb your appetite.
An example of a helpful food is soup. Starting a meal with a small 100-150 calorie broth based soup, may make you eat less. Just be sure to skip the creamy, rich soups that are high in calories and fat. Next, there are nuts. Loaded with protein, they make a great healthy snack on the go. Research shows that people who snack on nuts eat less during they’re larger meals. Choose a small handful of peanuts, almonds, or pecans. Be mindful of serving sizes and stick to it. Right in time for the season, there are apples. Fruit is always a healthy, delicious option as a snack. Stick with the whole apple as oppose to the juice or the sauce to obtain the full fiber benefit.
Small changes, like adding one healthy option at a time to your diet and increasing over time, can truly make a difference in the battle with weight loss.
Fennel and Spinach Soup with Roasted Pepper Yogurt (96 calories per serving)
2 red bell peppers 2 large fennel bulbs with stalks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 cups chopped leek (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped shallots (about 2 large) 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3/8 teaspoon salt 2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water 1 bay leaf
4 ounces fresh spinach 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice Dash of ground red pepper
1. Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop; set aside.
2. Trim tough outer leaves from fennel. Mince feathery fronds to measure 2 tablespoons; set aside. Remove and discard stalks. Cut bulbs in half lengthwise; discard core. Chop bulbs to measure about 4 cups.
3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add fennel bulb, leek, and next 3 ingredients (through salt); cover and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth water, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in spinach and black pepper. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes at room temperature.
4. Pour half of fennel mixture into a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining fennel mixture. Return pureed soup to pan; heat over medium heat 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
5. Combine roasted bell peppers, yogurt, lemon rind, lemon juice, and ground red pepper in a food processor; process until smooth.
6. Ladle about 3/4 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 tablespoons yogurt mixture. Garnish with fennel fronds.