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And how to add them to your meals to max the burn!
Fruit is a healthy snack, but some of Mother Nature’s treats contain a lot of sugar and kilojoules. These are the best of the bunch…
1. Bananas (439kJ per banana)
Bananas are often wrongly accused of being fattening. But new research proves their innocence: findings reveal that the yellow guys contain “resistant starch”, a type of fibre that your body digests more slowly, which keeps blood sugar stable and leaves you feeling satisfied longer, says dietician David Grotto, author of 101 Optimal Life Foods. Just be sure to pick a firm banana that’s still a little green. Like any fruit, its starches morph into sugars during the ripening process, making the banana sweeter and more kilojoule-heavy.
Squeeze more in: Slice a banana in half, then cover each piece with half a tablespoon of your favourite peanut butter and half a tablespoon of cocoa powder. Wrap the pieces in wax paper and freeze for 10 to 15 minutes for a low-fat dessert. (Makes two servings.)
2. Raspberries (268kJ per cup)
“If you struggle with portion sizes, you’ll love berries,” says dietician Ashley Koff. “You feel as if you’re eating more because they’re small.” And while all berries are awesome sources of hunger-quelling fibre, raspberries have the most (one cup has more than the amount in four slices of whole-grain bread and twice as much as in one cup of blueberries). And because raspberries are about four kilojoules apiece, you don’t have to worry about measuring them. Just grab a handful, rinse them off and indulge until you’re satisfied.
Squeeze more in: Drop frozen berries into chilled tea for a sweet iced tea without added sugar.
3. Grapefruit (343kJ per grapefruit)
Grapefruit diets may have gone the way of leg warmers and leotards, but these orbs are still one of your biggest diet allies: “They’re low in sugar and high in fibre, plus research shows they improve insulin resistance, meaning they make you feel fuller,” says Grotto. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, obese adults who ate just half a grapefruit before each of their three daily meals lost 1.4kg more over the course of 12 weeks than those who skipped the grapefruit appetiser.
Squeeze more in: Citrus is a great complement to soy sauce and other Asian flavours. Add grapefruit segments to a stir-fry once everything else is cooked, then stir gently and heat until just warmed.
4. Apples (397kJ per apple)
An apple a day could keep your fat jeans away. The fibre in apples slows digestion, and if your stomach is full of fruit, you’re less likely to reach for a sugary snack, says Koff. A medium apple has four filling grams of fibre (most of it’s in the skin, so don’t peel it). Bonus: research has found that inhaling a green-apple scent when a food craving hits may trick your brain into thinking you’ve already eaten – and result in weight loss.
Squeeze more in: Toss chopped apple, Asian pear and celery with olive oil, lemon juice and honey for a refreshing side salad with a touch of sweetness.