By Sarah W. Caron
With beach season here, having a beach body is on all of our minds. Give yours a jump start by noshing on some body-friendly foods. These 10 are loaded with nutrients and perfect getting your figure bikini-ready.
This thicker version of yogurt is a little tangy and very creamy. It’s also super good for you. “[It] contains a whopping 14 grams of protein, which plays a role in muscle building and keeps you full throughout the day,” says Cristina Rivera, a registered dietitian in Bethpage, NY. Rivera is president of Nutrition in Motion, PC. “Studies show that the calcium found in dairy can help reduce waist size more effectively than a supplement alone.”
In summertime, berries are ripe for the picking – literally. Head out to the fields and stock up on all the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries you can handle. Your body will thank you. “People overlook the basic berries but they shouldn’t. Berries have a tremendous amount of antioxidants,” says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist.
Nuts aren’t just for the free snack bowl at the bar. They are also extremely healthy – especially almonds. “Full of inflammation fighting omega 3 and minerals such as potassium and magnesium, this great snack food can help banish belly bloat while providing essential nutrients,” says Rivera.
Looking to flavor your oatmeal and dial up your sweet potato fries? Add a little cinnamon to the mixtures. “This familiarly-scented spice does more than just add a flavor kick to your breakfast. Cinnamon can help you easily achieve your weight loss goals by curbing sugar cravings as well as those pesky in-between meals snacking tendencies by regulating blood sugar levels,” says Kimberly Snyder, a nutritionist and author of The Beauty Detox Solution.
The creamy, soft green flesh of ripe avocados is perfect in guac, killer in burritos and amazing in salads. It’s also a great healthy food – when eaten in moderation. Richter recommends eating about one-quarter of an avocado, which she says is rich in Vitamin E, folic acid and the B vitamins.
“Avocados really are a weight loss wonder food, because in addition to the heart-healthy fats they contain, they are also high in fiber and essential minerals, keeping you feeling satisfied and full longer,” says Snyder.
It’s no secret that veggies with a deep green hue have a lot going for them. Broccoli is no exception. “Bursting with Vitamin C, this rates on the top of my vegetables list because it is low in calories and carbs and has plenty of fiber to keep you full longer,” says Jennifer Iserloh, chef and health expert who is LiveStrong.com’s nutrition expert.
Good things come in small packages, don’t they? Eggs are definitely a good thing – rich in a variety of nutrients. “It’s a calorie-controlled food (only 70 calories) with 6 grams of protein and seven essential vitamins,” explains Iserloh.
Are you familiar with quinoa? It looks like a cousin of couscous (it’s not) and is credited as a highly nutritious grain. But Richter says that quinoa is the highest protein grain and a great source of magnesium. “It works with calcium and Vitamin D,” says Richter, noting that it is helpful for bone repair. But just so you know, it’s not really a grain at all. It’s actually an amino acid-rich (protein) seed.
There is nothing like a juicy vine-ripened tomato from a local farm in summertime. The sweet, bright flavor is unmatchable. And it’s also really great for beach-readiness. “Tomatoes are great for you because they have lycopene which helps skin,” says Richter.
Leafy greens are nutrition powerhouses, and among them watercress could be the perfect must-eat food. “Your mother may have been on to something when she urged you to eat your greens. Watercress is an all-natural cleanser since it contains isothiocyanates, which boost our body’s detoxifying abilities,” says Snyder. She also noted that it’s a great source of vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, fiber and more, “which all help keep our skin clear and glowing.”
Now, the only question is which will you eat first?