Colder temperatures mean it’s time to roll out the comfort food. From pastas and soups to baked chicken dishes and plenty of melted cheese, comfort food keeps us warm when the mercury drops…unfortunately, it doesn’t do us any favors with our waistline.
However, with portion moderation and regular exercise, the right comfort foods can actually help with weight loss. Of course, they aren’t a substitute for a healthful lifestyle, but who’s going to say “no” to comfort foods that help?
Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants that help to reduce your cortisol, a stress hormone that causes your body to cling to belly fat. Its content of carbs and protein can also help your muscles recover faster from a tough workout.
A single serving is just 46 calories and contains more than your daily dose of vitamins A and K, which boost your immune system for a healthy metabolism. It also include 7.6 grams of fiber, which can lower your body’s absorption of calories from carbs.
Chicken noodle soup
A comfort food classic! Eating broth-based soup helps you reduce your calorie intake by as much as 20% by the time the main dish is served. The broth fills you up to boost satiety and slows your eating enough for your body to recognize feelings of fullness. Plus it’s packed with the vitamins, protein and fiber that helps to boost your metabolism.
Protein fights fat. Because your body has to work harder to break it down, you burn more calories during digestion. It also leave you fuller for longer. Research shows that people who increase their protein intake to 30% of their total diet eat about 450 fewer calories a day.
Carrots’ high water and fiber content fills you up fast. Plus, carrots roasted at 104 degrees contain as many as three times more antioxidants than raw carrots.
A 2009 report from the University of Ulm in Germany suggests that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grape skins, inhibits fat cell production. Also, calcium pyruvate, found naturally in red wine, helps fat cells burn more energy. Proceed with caution, however — one 6 oz. serving contains about 150 calories.
Don’t pass on that slice of pumpkin pie! One cup of pumpkin contains only 46 calories and three grams of fiber. Plus, it’s an excellent source of beta-carotene that fights oxidative stress and inflammation in the body that’s linked to increased fat storage.