If you have a few extra pounds that just won’t budge, eating fat-burning health foods for 21 days might do the trick. The most important fat-burning foods include lean sources of protein, heart-healthy fats and a variety of vegetables. The fewer starchy carbohydrates and sugars you eat during the 21 days, the more weight you will lose.
Review the fat-burning food choices and stock up on the foods you will need for the 21 days. Focus on eating lean protein and a small serving of healthy fats at every meal. Eat six or eight servings of raw or cooked vegetables every day for optimal nutrients and fiber. Avoid or limit red meat, processed and fried food, sugars and starchy carbohydrates -- especially bread, pasta, chips, cookies and crackers. Eat three meals a day as well as a small snack between meals to keep your metabolism high and blood sugars level. Most people lose 1 or 2 pounds a week on this mini diet.
Eat a moderate amount -- about 15 grams -- of lean protein with every meal. The best sources of lean protein include fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds. Wild fish is generally healthier than farm-raised fish. Free-range turkey or chicken is leaner than commercial poultry, and eggs laid by cage-free hens are more nutritious. Raw, unsalted nuts and seeds are highly recommended.
You need to eat healthy fat to burn fat, according to Dr. Mary Enig, a biochemist and nutritionist. So do not avoid healthy-fat foods, as they will also help satiate your appetite. The key is to stick to the healthy fats found in nuts and nut butters, avocados, fatty fish such as salmon and halibut and olives and extra virgin olive oil. Limit saturated fats found in beef, pork, lamb and most dairy products. Acceptable cheese choices for this diet are low-fat cottage, ricotta and Swiss.
Vegetables and Fruits
Eat all the vegetables you want but limit the starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, corn, pumpkin and yams. Fill your plate with two or more servings of steamed leafy green vegetables or raw vegetable salads. For maximum weight loss, limit the amount of fruit you eat for the 21 days, but small amounts of berries or unsweetened apple sauce may help curb sugar cravings.
Grains and Legumes
The fewer grains and starches you eat -- especially processed breads, pastas, chips, crackers and baked goods -- the more weight you will lose. The best grain choices are high-fiber, low-carb crackers; sprouted grain bread or tortillas; and whole grains such as bran, oats, quinoa and brown rice. Avoid all grain-based snack foods such as crackers, chips and cookies, which are usually high in calories, sugar, salt and saturated fat.
- USAToday.com: Low-Carb Diet Burns the Most Calories in Small Study
- Water: For Health, for Healing, for Life; F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats; Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
Nancy Hearn is a certified health and nutrition consultant, fitness adviser and yoga instructor. She also has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her articles appear on various health- and fitness-related websites, as well as in "Natural Life News and Directory" magazine in Montana. Hearn attended San Diego Miramar College and the Global College of Natural Medicine.