25 summer foods for weight loss
These sweet, juicy summer berries are tasty both fresh and dried in trail mix or in a salad, says Lisa Dorfman, a registered dietitian and author of The Reunion Diet. “At just 43 calories per 3.5-ounce serving, they contain 61 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, and they’re also chock full of potassium, fiber and resveratrol, a phytonutrient shown to protect the heart.”
“Cilantro has numerous health benefits and is packed with nutrients such as fiber, iron, thiamine, zinc, folate, phosphorous, vitamin K and more,” says Ellis. Plus, it has a great aroma, and a flavor that screams summer. Cilantro may increase the production of digestive acids, which can help stimulate the gut to move out waste. A healthy digestive tract is key for weight loss, says Ellis.
“This sweet tropical fruit is the perfect ingredient for summer smoothies and juices,” says Beth Aldrich, a certified holistic health and nutrition counselor, and author of the book Real Moms Love to Eat. “It contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which aids in the digestion of protein and blood clot formation. As an anti-inflammatory superfood, pineapple can help reduce swelling and in turn, you'll have a flatter belly.”
Also known as yam or yambean, this Mexican turnip is a great source of fiber, says Dr. Jaime Schehr, a registered dietitian in New York City. “This plant is great for weight loss due to its high fiber to sugar ratio (a whopping 32g of fiber per medium jicama—that’s almost an entire day’s worth). They are also a good source of potassium, an essential mineral in maintaining water balance in our body.”
Ceviche is a wonderful lean protein source found on many Mexican menus throughout the summer months, and it’s easy to make at home, says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian in New York City. Depending on what type of fish is used, ceviche can range between 120-175 calories per serving. (Fun fact: Lady Gaga fuels up on ceviche while on tour.)
This bitter and slightly sweet melon is typically found in Asian markets and helps improve digestion and lower blood sugar. “Keeping blood sugar under control is important if you want to lose weight,” says Nicole Kuhl, a clinical nutritionist and director of nutrition at Lifespan Medicine.
“Too much sugar in the blood stream sends a signal to the pancreas to release the fat-storing hormone insulin. By keeping your blood sugar under control, you will reduce the likelihood of storing calories as fat.” Can’t stomach the bitterness? Try soaking it in chilled saltwater for a few hours prior to eating (raw or cooked).
“Mangoes are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth and to help to ward off other cravings,” says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and owner of Essential Nutrition for You. Mangoes are high in fiber, magnesium, antioxidants and iron (making them a great snack for women who may have iron deficiency or anemia), says Batayneh. “And because mangoes aid in digestion, you want to focus on eating the fruit versus just drinking the juice.”
You know carrots are good for you, but did you know that purple carrots are even better? “Purple carrots contain all of the phytochemicals found in orange carrots, and they also contain anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants,” says Dr. Robert Rey, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, reality TV star of "Dr. 90210" and author of Body by Rey. This sweet, crunchy snack is loaded with powerful anti-aging properties and protects against damage caused by oxidation (free radicals).
This fiber- and potassium-rich fruit makes the perfect summer snack. At around 170 calories for 8 ounces, you can eat them alone, in salads (see one healthy salad recipe here), in cereals or wrapped in prosciutto (just don’t grab a Fig Newton—you’ll get more nutrition and less fat from the actual fruit).
Wild Alaskan salmon
“Research published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2006 found that the type of DHA omega-3 oil found in salmon may have an ‘anti-obesity effect’ by preventing an increase in fat cells, causing death of pre-fat cells, and promoting the breakdown of fat in the body,” says Shana Maleeff, a dietitian and fitness professional in New York City. Not sure how to prepare it? Try any (or all) of these five tasty salmon recipes.