Winter has set in and with the warm comfort that food provides it can seem that diet sabotage is lurking around every corner.
Believe it or not though some of the most popular winter comfort foods actually help put a stop to your muffin top development. Indeed some foods require more energy to be digested than others. Known as the thermogenic effect of feeding or TEF, choosing foods that require the body to ‘work’ to digest can significantly boost your caloric deficit! Want to know what to eat? Read on for five metabolic boosting foods you should be noshing on when winter comfort calls.
So while this isn’t an optimal thermogenic food – your daily chocolate addiction stimulates not only your senses but your metabolism too. Dark Chocolate has caffeine and the antioxidant catechin – two vital ingredients that have been demonstrated in numerous studies to supercharge your metabolism. Stick to the dark stuff, limit yourself to one serving (think 4 squares) and consider having it post a strength training session if you are looking to tone up. The mixture of caffeine and sugar will ensure the muscles you want toned are replenished and firmed at a faster rate.
Cinnamon need not be relegated to the dessert section. Consider sprinkling it on your porridge, splashing a little on top of your chai and using it in a Middle Eastern inspired marinade for meat. Cinnamon is a true thermogenic food, producing more heat in the body and in turn increasing your metabolism. Numerous studies have also shown it helps to regulate your blood sugar – sustaining your energy levels past the afternoon sweet hour. Just don’t go baking batches of cinnamon cookies and muffins…
Apples and Pears
Ok- so that’s two but they have high levels of pectin – a compound that actually binds to water and stops your body from absorbing fat! Need I say more?
Out of all the macronutrients – protein induces the most thermogenisis. Protein has a higher energy cost when you eat it, and up to 25% of the energy ingested is ‘lost’. That is, breaking down protein is a little more complex for your body, which means your body burns more calories trying to digest a protein rich meal. This is not a bad thing – it is natural. Now more than ever is a great time to invest in a slow cooker. Whack your meat, carrots and onions into it at the beginning of the day and come home to a comforting, protein rich casserole. Want more of a metabolic kick? Consider adding some cayenne pepper into the mix!
Ditch the pasta but whip up the pesto! Pine nuts contain the aptly names pinolenic acid – which boosts the hormone ghrelin – the one that tells you your full. Consider making a basil pesto or tapenade and using this as a dressing for your lunchbox salad. It means your won’t be carrying a precarious oily dressing in your handbag and your salad greens will be somewhat more filling than the usual rabbit food! Just don’t forget to add your clean lean protein, to further curb the appetite and ensure your weight loss journey is a healthy one!