I'm suffering from eater's remorse. Holiday feasting has its brilliant moments, but my body is weary of it and wants to be clean again. So this week I will be back to eating foods that are robust and flavorful AND healthy. More nutrient dense. More fiber. Less fat and sugar. And to deal with those 4 pesky pounds I received as a Christmas gift, I will pull out my secret weapon: Negative calorie foods.
What is a negative calorie food? A negative calorie food requires more calories for its digestion than it supplies. For example, a serving of broccoli provides 25 calories. The body will expend around 150 calories extracting the vitamins and minerals and making the calories usable, for a net loss of 125 calories. When you add the fact that these foods are high in vitamin and mineral content and incredibly tasty, you have a win--win--win situation.
Here are some of the foods that fall into the negative calorie category:
Vegetables: Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Hot Chilies, Cucumber, Garlic, Green Beans, Lettuce, Onion, Radish, Spinach, Turnip, Zucchini.
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cranberries, Grapefruit, Honeydew, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Oranges, Papaya, Peach, Pineapple, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Tangerines, Turnips, Watermelon.
So, what does eating like this look like? Take a look at the plate above. All items are on the list except the salmon. However, salmon is considered a fat-burning food because the Omega fatty acids it contains speed up the metabolism. Here are the recipes in order of preparation:
In a one gallon zip-lock bag, combine one half cup soy sauce, two to three tablespoons brown sugar (I use sucanat, an unrefined natural sweetener), and 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced. Add 1 1/2 pounds fresh salmon. Press air out of bag and allow to marinate at least two hours. Grill.
Dice two ripe mangoes, half of a red bell pepper, and half of a red onion. Two this, add two jalapeno peppers, finely diced and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or basil. Pour the juice of one medium orange and one lime over all. Salt to taste. Stir together, and let sit for an hour or so before serving to allow flavors to meld.
Wash one pound of fresh asparagus spears. Cut an inch or so from the bottom of each. Place in a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook over medium high heat for two minutes. Remove from heat. Water should have evaporated; if not drain. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons sesame oil over all. Sprinkle a bit of cajun seasoning and a blend of Tuscan spices over this. Toss gently to coat. Place on hot grill for two more minutes. Enjoy.
Place fresh berries in a cup, and top with a dollop of low fat vanilla yogurt for a light, satisfying desert. (Berries are on the list, and the calcium in yogurt also helps accelerate metabolism.)
Here are a couple of other family favorites you might want to check out:
Ina Garten's Parmesan Roasted Broccoli (Thx Gail!)
Simple, Delicious Quinoa Salad Note: Calorie count looks high on this one, but that's based on a MONSTER serving size. We get far more than 4 servings out of this. Also, we like toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in place of the nuts.
Happy, Healthy New Year!