Singaporebrides | Beauty

October 2012

Foods Actually Worth Dieting For

Along with The Proposal and The Ring (not the movies), comes The Dress and The Diet. If the thought of energy bars that taste like cardboard is making you reach for that bar of emergency chocolate in your drawer, read on for the sake of your love handles.

Almost every bride goes on some sort of diet before her wedding. Whether it is to look good in the wedding album or to be a few sizes smaller for the wedding dress, you will hear all sorts of weight-reducing stories, from the drastic and even to the surgical. I’m not going to tell you not to diet, because dieting is a process (or coming-of-age ritual, if you must) every woman goes through at some point in her life. If you have superhuman willpower and manage to lose some with the help of an exercise regime, good for you. If you, like most of us, have the determination of a puppy facing a bag of treats, then you need to smart about what you’re going to put into your mouth. Here are 10 different types of healthy food you can experiment with that can make your dieting adventure a happy and delicious one.

1. Apples

If fruits went to school, the apple would win the Miss All-Rounder award. Rich in nutrients and fibre, apples can be used in beverages, main courses, and desserts. It has to be one of the most versatile foods around, being low in calories, and it also helps maintain your blood-sugar level, staving off cravings for high calorie foods. Plus, the low-sodium content in apples can help prevent excess water retention, which adds on to your weight.

2. Pumpkins

Pumpkin is not only delicious, but it’s also one of the best foods for weight loss. Low in calories, but full of vitamins and minerals, pumpkin is also an excellent source of the important antioxidant beta-carotene, as you can tell from its bright orange colour. Also a very versatile food, you can add pumpkin to your salad or make it into a healthy soup. Pumpkins can be mashed, grilled, steamed, and make an excellent cake ingredient.

And don’t forget the seeds! Pumpkin seeds are like little over-achieving kids, because they are chock-full of protein, fibre, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, as well as potassium, zinc, folate, niacin, and amino acids. Their poly- and mono-unsaturated fat content raises metabolism and helps burn fat. They’re also great stress relievers, so grab a handful and crunch away when the wedding planning is getting to you. Just toast them lightly in a pan and you’re good to go.

3. Cinnamon

Not many people know this, but cinnamon is actually a natural appetite suppressant that decreases blood sugar, manages insulin, and revs up your metabolism. This sweet-smelling spice goes back a long way, finding a place in the Bible, and in more recent times, was one of the most expensive spice in the spice trade. Experiment with different forms of cinnamon: try sprinkling some cinnamon powder on fruity desserts, or flavour your chicken with whole cinnamon baked in the oven.

4. Ginger root

If you are training for muscles to have beautiful sculpted arms for your strapless gown, don’t leave this out of your diet. Apparently, daily consumption of ginger may reduce muscle pain caused by exercise by as much as 25 percent, according to a September 2010 study published in the Journal of Pain. Less muscle pain means less recovery time between sessions, which in turn means you can do more workouts. Try sliced ginger when steaming fish, or add them into a vegetable stir-fry. You can also steep it in boiling water and add a little honey for a refreshing ginger drink.

5. Garlic

Also a natural appetite suppressant, garlic acts in rather sneaky ways. The strong odour of garlic stimulates the satiety center in the brain, in effect reducing feelings of hunger, and it also increases the brain’s sensitivity to leptin, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. Garlic enhances almost any dish, whether Asian or Italian. Consumed raw, it is very pungent and spicy, but after some cooking, the flavour mellows and sweetens. If you’re afraid of garlic breath, you can still have it in your diet by infusing whole bulbs in olive oil, and the fragrant garlic olive oil can then be used as dips or for cooking.

6. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C, as well as protein and fibre—both important nutrients for weight loss. If you don’t like eating cauliflower as is, try making mashed cauliflower instead. It’s as yummy as mashed potatoes, and at a quarter of the calories! Just steam, mash with sour cream, then season with garlic, salt and pepper.

7. Sweet corn

Did you know that one normal-sized ear of corn has fewer than 100 calories, and is naturally sweet, which is why you’ll see corn used in many Asian soup bases? Corn also provides both dietary fibre and protein which, when coupled together, can help boost the feeling of fullness. Just don’t drown it in salted butter. Sinful. If you like snacking while watching TV, simply stick some ears of corn into the oven and sprinkle with a little salt. Better than popcorn!

8. Pork

Lean protein helps you stay fuller longer and helps preserve lean muscle mass, and pork is a great source of protein. Since muscle helps burn fat, holding onto muscle can help promote a healthier long-term body weight. You can still have meat, but keep it healthy by preparing your pork without deep-frying. Stay with stews or grills.

9. Yams

They may not be much to look at so you are likely to overlook them at the supermarket, but yams are quite low on the glycemic scale, which means that after consuming yam, you will feel full faster, digest them slowly, and stay satisfied for much longer. You can simply steam the yams until they’re soft all through the centre and drizzle honey over them, or if you prefer something with a stronger taste, sprinkle a layer of cinnamon sugar (or just brown sugar) over the yams and roast them in the oven.

10. Soups

Soups are a great go-to food when trying to lose weight. Adding beans or rice in healthy, homemade broth allows the complex carbohydrates to absorb more fluid in the stomach and expand, further contributing to satiety. And several studies have shown that eating broth-based or vegetable soup before a main course can help you consume fewer calories overall. Just be sure to keep them low calorie by avoiding cream bases. While Yong Tau Foo can be a healthy (and heartier) diet option for those brides who have to dine out, make sure you choose the food items like tofu and less of the deep-fried items!