Winter is here, and with that comes colder temperatures, sweatshirts, and cravings for comfort foods. While delicious, comfort foods typically aren’t the most figure-friendly. But, rest assured, it is possible to enjoy your nutrition plan and continue getting results during your transformation challenge.
Here are 10 foods for weight loss!
No fruit may be more synonymous with fall than the humble apple (except maybe cranberries). Available in numerous varieties from the crisp and tart Granny Smith to the succulent and sweet Fuji, there’s an apple to please anyone’s palate.
Apples are highly nutritious and low in calories. In fact, a medium apple contains only about 80 calories, but packs 5 grams of belly-fillingfiber as well as numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pair a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter or cup of Greek Yogurt with your favorite apple to make the ultimate quick-fix, healthy snack!
Surprised to find another fruit on the list of our 10 favorite fall foods for weight loss? You shouldn’t be. Despite what you may have been led to believe, fruit does not cause fat gain or hinder fat loss. Fruit is one of the best things you can include in your diet.
Pears are juicy and sweet and can be eaten raw, or baked for a low-calorie, yet indulgent, treat. A medium-sized pear contains ~6 grams of fiber and several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, niacin, and folate.
A staple of autumn, pumpkin is most often used as a decoration for Halloween and as the base of Thanksgiving dessert (pumpkin pie). However, pumpkin pie is more sugar and butter than actual pumpkin, robbing this gorgeous gourd of its micronutrient prowess.
Pumpkin is rich in fiber, vitamin A and potassium. It’s also very low in calories and very affordable. In fact, most grocery stores sell cans of 100% pumpkin puree (no sugar added!) for less than $1!
One of our favorite ways to use pumpkin is to make a pumpkin pie smoothie using 1 cup milk, ½ cup canned pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin pie spice, ½ frozen banana, and 1 scoop of 1UP Whey Protein powder.
Beets abound with polyphenols and antioxidants. They’re also packed with nitrates that support nitric oxide production, blood flow, and cardiovascular health.
The classic preparation for beets is to roast them at high heat in the oven, but they can also be prepared in the slow cooker with rosemary and a small amount of honey as well as in the pressure cooker (insta-pot) to shorten cooking time.
#5 Butternut Squash
Another fantastic fall food is butternut squash, which delivers a similar creamy texture as sweet potatoes, but with a fraction of the calories and sugar. Roasted butternut squash is always a satisfying way to enjoy this veggie, but another great way is to use it as the base for a rich, luxurious soup with smoked gouda, onion, chicken broth, salt & pepper.
#6 Spaghetti Squash
Love pasta, but don’t love the truckload of carbs that accompany a hearty bowl of pasta?
Then, you’re going to love spaghetti squash!
It has a neutral to slightly sweet flavor and can accompany any of your favorite pasta sauces -- marinara, pesto, alfredo, and more! Preparation couldn’t be easier, either. Cut it lengthwise down the middle, place it flesh-side down on a cookie sheet, and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes. Let cool and then use a fork to get your spaghetti squash noodles!
#7 Brussels Sprouts
When cooked properly, these mini-cabbages are ridiculously delicious! They’re high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C & folate as well as low in calories!
Our favorite preparation is to cut them in half, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. (Pro tip: you can also dice up a few slices of your favorite bacon and toss with the Brussels sprouts, which adds a TON of flavor for little extra calories).
Roast in a screaming-hot oven (450°F) for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway, and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastically fit side dish this Thanksgiving (or any other time of year)!
#8 Sweet Potatoes
High in fiber, antioxidants, and flavor, sweet potatoes are a fall favorite. They can be roasted, boiled, broiled, and used for either savory or sweet applications.
As is the case with many of the foods on this list, sweet potatoes are inexpensive but have a LOT to offer in terms of supporting your nutrition needs. They’re rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which support immunity, gut health, and vision. Sweet potatoes also contain easily digestible carbohydrates which make sweet potatoes a great pre-workout or post-workout meal to boost energy levels, replenish glycogen stores, and aid muscle recovery and growth!
Perhaps no other vegetable is more synonymous with healthy eating than broccoli. It’s rich in vitamin C, fiber, and sulforaphane -- a powerful antioxidant that supports cardiovascular health, detoxification, and longevity.
Broccoli is frequently roasted or steamed, but it can also serve as the base for a hearty, comforting soup. Steam (or microwave) 170 grams (6 ounces) of fresh or frozen broccoli, and then add to the blender with 1 cup of milk, 1-½ ounces of cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of chicken bouillon. Blend for 2-3 minutes and you have the perfect bowl of broccoli and cheese soup that’s higher in protein than your average restaurant soup, cheaper, and considerably more healthy!
A staple of holiday meals, cranberries are best-known as an accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey. They’re rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, and essential vitamins that support muscle recovery, blood flow, and cardiovascular health.
But, if you want to get the most from these holiday berries, skip the canned, jellied varieties of cranberry sauce (which are bloated with refined, cheap sugars) and make your own. Buy a bag of whole, fresh cranberries from the store, add them to a saucepan with the juice of two oranges, a small drizzle of honey or maple syrup, and cook over medium-low heat until the cranberries start to burst and thicken (about 15-20 minutes). You’ll save a bunch of calories and ramp of the nutritional value of this consummate fall food!