As spring nudges its way forward, some of us are left with an unpleasant souvenir of winter—an extra "layer." Though that winter coat might have kept us warm through the long, cold season, by spring it's time to shed the padding. The good news is many springtime foods promote weight loss naturally, and not just because they're lighter than those hearty winter dishes.
Here are my top picks for spring foods to help you slim down.
—Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.
Strawberries' fiber content makes them a good choice for weight loss. A two-year study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate 8 extra grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories per day lost about 4 1/2 pounds. (Women who decreased their fiber intake actually gained weight.) One cup of strawberries has a respectable 3 grams of fiber and more than a full day's recommended dose of vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps keep skin healthy.
Eggs are packed with protein, which staves off hunger. In one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast.
Filling up on fiber- and water-rich foods first can help prevent you from overdoing high-calorie fare later. Research out of Penn State shows that eating a first-course salad can reduce overall calorie intake at a meal by up to 12 percent. Not a fan of salad? Vegetable soups achieve the same result (in fact, a different study found that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup).
Mushrooms taste meaty, but have only a fraction of the calories and fat of red meat. Research reports that when people ate mushroom-based entrees, they felt just as satisfied as when they'd eaten those same dishes made with beef.