Healthy Foods to Boost Your Winter Metabolism
Along with cold weather comes the natural tendency to hibernate! Research tells us that we all eat more during the winter months as means for our body to prepare for cold weather (and we are surely having our fair share this January)! Don’t get to cozy in your bear cave, go ahead and beat the spring thaw, develop some habits for revving up your metabolism! Try one of two of these ways to kick-start your healthy living routine and you will be raring to go this spring!!
- Start your day with breakfast – Cold, dark mornings didn’t inspire us to rise in time for a good meal this winter, try to form a routine of eating breakfast every single morning. Starting your day with a meal before you head out burns between 10 and 30 percent more calories. This does not include stating your day with a sugary junk food, that will only negate the metabolism-boosting benefits of breakfast. Instead of grabbing for cold sweet cereal, try a bowl of colorful fruit. If you really want to jump-start your metabolism, a steamy bowl of oatmeal topped with flaxseed is a great high-fiber option. Your body burns more calories digesting fiber because it takes so long to break down. This will send your metabolism soaring and prepare you for the day ahead.
- Drink Up – Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, this is the most important part of kick-starting your day! It’s a whole lot harder to drink up the water when it isn’t warm and toasty outside. The rule remains, drinking 8-ounce glasses a day will bolster your metabolic rate, which helps burn more calories!
- Exercise with Resistance – Your workout should always include strength as well as cardio, but it turns out that resistance training keeps working long after your workout is over. Focusing your routine on your muscles not only burns calories in the moment but for days after exercising as well. According to exercise research, exercisers who did a fifteen-minute resistance workout routine were likely to burn up to a hundred more calories a day for three days after the workout. Try doing one to three sets of five resistance exercises just three days a week, such as squats or push-ups.
- Enjoy potatoes, grains and beans – What? Potatoes? It turns out that a fiber found in carbohydrate rich foods such as potatoes, grains and beans, resistance starches, can actually help speed up metabolism and burn more fat and reduce hunger. That doesn’t mean splurging on the loaded fries though—keep that baked potato healthy and flavorful with simple spices, not cheese and sour cream.
- Get enough sleep – Make getting in your eight hours a priority for the sake of your metabolism. Even short-term sleep deprivation can make a healthy person process sugar like a diabetic because sleep affects how your body reacts to insulin. Sleep is key to maintaining a properly working and healthy metabolism. Try committing to moving bedtime up by an hour or even just half an hour. Your body will thank you in more ways than one.
Try these metabolism boosting recipes to kick-start your good habits!
Chile Relleno Casseroles
(From mild to fiery, research shows that a compound in chiles (capsaicin) helps trigger the body’s natural cooling system and revs up your metabolism.)
- 2 4-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained and patted dry
- ¾ cup frozen corn, thawed and patted dry
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese1½ cups nonfat milk
- 6 large egg whites
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat eight 6-ounce or four 10-ounce heatproof ramekins with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
- Equally divide green chiles, corn and scallions among the ramekins. Top each with cheese. Whisk milk, egg whites, eggs and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the ramekins.
- Bake the mini casseroles until the tops begin to brown and the eggs are set, about 25 minutes for 6-ounce ramekins and about 35 minutes for 10-ounce ramekins.
Equipment: Eight 6-ounce or four 10-ounce heatproof ramekins
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 211, Fat 7g, Fiber 2g, Carbohydrates 14g, Protein 23g, Cholesterol 194mg, Sodium 707mg, Potassium 449mg.
Energy Boosting Quinoa
(Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber—a perfect combination for those who are looking to stay energized and keep their metabolism humming.)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ⅓ cup canned low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, gently toss all ingredients to combine.
Serves 1. Each serving contains Calories 337, Fat 8g, Fiber 9g, Carbohydrates 53g, Protein 14g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 165mg.
Easy Frittata Muffins
(This recipe has the perfect mix of hunger-staving lean protein, healthy fat, and nutrient-rich carbs to accelerate fat loss, optimize muscle-building, and keep you going strong until lunch. The result: You’ll lose weight while maximizing your metabolism and keeping your taste buds happy.)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 c loosely packed (rinsed), arugula, or kale, chopped
- 4 slices Canadian bacon, diced
- ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly mist 6 paper liners with cooking spray and place in 6-cup muffin pan.
- Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Cook spinach, bacon, and onion, stirring, until onion is soft and spinach is wilted, 4 minutes. Diving among prepared muffin pan.
- In measuring cup, beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Pour over vegetables in muffin pan and bake until puffed and golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.
Serves 1. Each serving contains Calories 354, Fat 25g, Fiber 2g, Carbohydrates 9g, Protein 23g, Sodium 916mg. (to reduce sodium, change the meat product in the recipe, however that will also reduce the protein)
Spicy Southwestern Black Bean Chili
(A key ingredient for weight-conscious eaters? Black beans. Their high protein and fiber content make them another weight-loss superfood.)
This recipe features two types of hot pepper: chili powder and jalapeños. As with all spicy foods, eating these peppers lights a fire under your metabolism, increasing your calorie burn rate.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 large chopped onion (about 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 (32 ounces) boxed roasted red pepper and tomato soup
- 2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup firm-ripe diced peeled avocado Cilantro sprigs (optional)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; add the onion and jalapeño; cook, stirring until softened (about 3 minutes). Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Stir in soup and black beans; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls; top with 1 tablespoon of sour cream, avocado, and cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 391, Fat 11g, Fiber 13g, Carbohydrates 57g, Protein 17g, Cholesterol 16mg, Sodium 576mg.
Spicy Raw Chocolate Moose
This one is an adaptation from The Kinfold Table, and is quite unusual but yummy.
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- 2 heaping tablespoons raw cocoa
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled and seeded
- 1 banana, frozen
- 2 tablespoons raw organic honey (or maple syrup)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of ground ginger
- Pinch of fine grain sea salt
- Soak cashews in water for 10 minutes, until softened. Drain and set aside.
- In a food processor (or blender) combine soaked cashews, cocoa, avocado, banana, honey (or maple syrup), cayenne, ginger and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. If it’s too thick add water, one tablespoon at a time, until reaching desired consistency (I like to use 2 tablespoons).
Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 181, Fat 11g, Carbohydrates 23g, Protein 3g.