With just a few simple food tweaks, you can turn each bite into an opportunity to blast fat. Parenting Mom Squad member Missy Chase Lapine, aka The Sneaky Chef, shows you how to make the latest food news work for you -- and your dress size -- all day long:
In the morning... Trade your wheat toast for rye to feel fuller longer. A new Swedish study found that people who ate a breakfast including rye bread were less hungry over the next three hours than those who had wheat instead. Rye causes fiber to expand in the intestines, contributing to that nice full feeling that helps make slimming down easier.
- Try: Open-Faced Cheese Danish Toast Spread two tablespoons of part-skim ricotta cheese on a slice of toasted rye bread. Top it off with a drizzle of honey.
At lunch... Skip the can of soda. You'll save 128 calories (and eight teaspoons of sugar) right off the bat. Given that most Americans consume about 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day -- and the American Heart Association recommends no more than six teaspoons for the average woman -- this one easy fix can pack a wallop. Do this every day for a month and you could be down a pound with no effort whatsoever!
- Try: Green Tea and Pomegranate Soda Combine freshly brewed, cooled green tea with raspberry-flavored seltzer, a slice of lemon, and a splash of pomegranate juice.
In the afternoon... Munch on popcorn. This snack food is high in fiber and low in calories, which makes it an excellent choice when you're trying to shed some pounds. You can wolf down a ton of it practically guilt-free. The only hitch: Be sure to go easy on the butter!
- Try: Cinnamon-Ginger Spice Mix Combine one-quarter tea-spoon each of cinnamon and ground ginger along with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Mist fat-free popcorn with light butter or olive-oil spray, and sprinkle the spice mixture on top.
After dinner... Dessert strategically. Enjoy that heavenly scoop of Chunky Monkey, just be sure to keep it to one serv-ing. High amounts of fat from certain foods, including ice cream, cheese, and meat, can impair your brain's appetite-suppressing signals (the ones that tell you when to drop the spoon). Worse, the effect can last for days, according to a new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center, in Dallas.
- Try: Mint Chocolate Chip Shake Blend one frozen, chopped banana, one-quarter cup of low-fat milk, a little honey, a drop of mint extract, and one tablespoon of semisweet chocolate chips. Process on high for 30 to 60 seconds until the texture is nice and smooth.
For the midnight snack... Go light. Researchers from Northwestern University found that feeding mice high-fat foods at irregular times -- like late at night, when the body wants to sleep -- led to significantly more weight gain than when those same foods were eaten during the day. Sure, they're mice, but why chance it?
- Try: No-Joe Latte Add a dash of vanilla extract to a cup of cold skim milk. Microwave for 30 to 60 seconds until warm. Whisk vigorously until the milk froths.
Plus: How Moms Eat Well
We asked for your tasty stay-slim secrets and you served 'em up:
"Nuts, nuts, nuts! I have honey-and-sesame-covered almonds when I crave sweets. Yum, think I'll go have some now!" -- Angie Ito, Napa, CA
"I set the kitchen timer for five minutes, telling myself I can have whatever I'm craving after the time's up, giving me the chance to decide if I really want it. I usually end up distracted and forgetting all about it." -- Elizabeth Gonzalez, Yorktown, NY
"I always carry carrots in my purse. And yes, I'm practically turning orange." -- Diana Marquez, Los Angeles
Ready more from Missy at thesneakychef.com