The older we get the fewer calories our bodies need. Research shows that every decade from our 40s on we should eat about 100 calories less each day. But there are foods that can help you keep the calories down. UPMC Dietitian Leslie Bonci, who counsels the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, says once you're 40, fat deposits quicker in your body; so the older you get, the fewer calories you can eat. "The body composition starts to change in a not so fabulous way," says Bonci. But Bonci says she has five foods to help fight that over-40 fat.
#1: Spice It Up: Add some hot flavors to your food
"The active ingredient in all these things, Capsaicin, may have a role to play, although it's a temporary one, for a half an hour it can actually boost the metabolism," says Bonci. How about jalapeños in your eggs, hot peppers in your stir fry or just a dash of cayenne with Mexican, and if it's really hot, you won't be able to eat any more.
Glass of Water
#2: Drink Lots Of Water "When you drink a glass of water, this actually fills the stomach; although, it's for a very short time," says Bonci. "You feel a little fuller; so in that instant, you may be eating a little less." Bonci says at least four glasses of water a day also helps the body burn fat instead of muscle, and of course, it's zero calories. And if plain water is too boring, add fresh lemon or try sparkling water.
Research shows dieters who replaced sweetened drinks with water lost an average of three pounds more a year than those who didn't.
But if you can't replace that morning cup of coffee with water, Bonci say you can add cinnamon instead of sugar to sweeten it.
#3: Sweet Flavorings: Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla & almond essence "Because they do have an element of sweetness, they take the edge off," adds Bonci. "You don't need to be using as much sugar or honey when you use these items, and second of all, there's no calories in them." By replacing sugar in your coffee alone, you can save a couple hundred calories a week, enough to shed two to three pounds a year.
#4: Lean Protein "It makes us feel more satisfied as well as holding us over longer between meals," says Bonci. "Often times, when people increase the amount of protein they eat, they find they eat less overall." Bonci says you should have lean protein, things like skinless chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, lean red meat and eggs, with every meal, not just once or twice a day.
#5: Food With Fiber Foods with fiber include whole wheat bread, apples, broccoli, and many cereals as well as foods fortified with fiber, like granola bars. "When we eat food with fiber, it tends to cause us to pull more water into our stomach," says Bonci. "The benefit of that is we actually feel fuller longer, so if we're full, we're not likely to be gorging ourselves quite as much." Bonci says overall, it's not about giving up everything you love to eat, it's about making a few trade-offs everyday.