With the holiday season upon us and the opportunity for many extra indulgences, we can all use a boost to help us burn some extra calories this month and beyond. While it sounds too good to be true, there are actually some easy ways to help your body efficiently burn calories and boost your metabolism. Don’t use this as an excuse to reach for that second holiday cookie, but to kick start your 2015 New Year’s resolutions!
- Eat Breakfast—Dietitians love to talk about the benefits of breakfast. From helping children stay focused in school to reducing overeating later in the day, breakfast is a meal not to be missed- by children or adults. Breakfast helps break the fast from the night before and speeds up metabolism. Make breakfast count. Follow the MyPlate guidelines and include three of the five food groups in your breakfast bowl. My favorite cold weather breakfast is oatmeal made with milk and topped with bananas and walnuts.
- Don’t Skip the Chocolate—Yes, you read that right—don’t skip the chocolate, just make it dark. Studies show the monounsaturated fatty acids in dark chocolate boosts metabolism and stimulates the body to burn fat. Additionally, research shows dark chocolate aids in blood flow, promoting heart health. Reach for chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa and enjoy it in moderation, of course. For a healthy holiday dessert, serve up this low-fat chocolate mousse.
- Win with Whey—Whey, a high-quality protein naturally found in dairy, contains the muscle building amino acid, leucine. When losing weight, it is important to maintain lean muscle mass in order to keep your metabolism active. Studies show whey protein has a higher thermic effect (the amount it increases metabolism) than casein and soy proteins and, as a result, burns fat faster. Recharge after a rigorous workout or an afternoon of holiday shopping with a whey protein smoothie, or take an energy booster bar with you while on the go.
Laura Buxenbaum, MPH, RD, LDN