By Barbara Pronin
Not surprisingly, summer’s bounty of fresh fruits and veggies can be your greatest ally in the drive to shed a few pounds. In fact, according one Harvard study, the right diet can be more instrumental in losing weight than spending extra time in the gym.
Nutritionists at WebMD suggest six ways to slim down – without worrying about portion size – by making the most of summer’s harvest:
Chilled soups – Refreshing and easy to make, broth and veggie-based cold soups like gazpacho or cucumber-dill make a satisfying lunch or can fill you up so you eat less at dinner. Get out your blender and find recipes online.
Watermelon – Since half of watermelon is made up of water, it can satisfy thirst as well as your sweet tooth. Eat as much as you want sliced or diced, turn it into a filling slushie, or combine it with other fruits in a salad.
Grilled veggies – An ample supply of grilled veggies, like onions, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, asparagus, and mushrooms can be the basis for vegetable pitas, veggie and goat cheese salads, veggie, ricotta and fresh herb pastas – or combine them with eggs in frittatas.
Salads – No recipes required. Just slice, dice and toss a combination of fruits, vegetables, low-fat cheese, and a handful of toasted nuts with some salad greens. Dress with a light raspberry vinaigrette, along with a whole-grain roll, and you have a meal in minutes. Add extra heartiness with canned beans or cooked quinoa.
Low and/or no-cal beverages – Stay full and satisfy your thirst with appealing drinks that shun a lot of sugar. Try a root beer or orange dream float made with a half cup of vanilla frozen yogurt in 12 ounces of diet root beer or orange soda (100 calories) – or 12 ounces of lemon sparkling water mixed with the juice of a lemon and 1/4 cup pomegranate juice, served over ice (35 calories.) A large iced skim Latte from Starbucks is just 110 calories and a white wine spritzer (5 ounces of white wine mixed with three ounces of lemon/lime seltzer water is 120 calories.
Fruity desserts – No need to skip dessert when you can have grilled pineapple, peaches or bananas with low-fat ice cream – or some frozen grapes or cherries.