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Local produce can help aid in weight loss

October 08, 2014

Slimming your waistline could be as easy as adding five local foods to your plate.

According to registered dietitian Paula Serafino-Cross, MS, RD, LDN in the Food and Nutrition Services Department at Baystate Medical Center, the foods you eat can make a major difference in your weight loss journey.

"Simply adding five servings of produce, preferably local produce, per day will help you lose weight and here’s why – fresh produce is not only low in calories, it also contains fiber which helps fill you up and keeps you from snacking throughout the day," Serafino-Cross said.

Paula's Top Five Local Foods

  1. Leafy greens – Including a portion of leafy green vegetables at every meal is the quickest way to flatten a stubborn stomach. Kale, spinach, swiss chard, and turnip green are all extremely low in calories, full of fiber and offer several vital vitamins and minerals that help to ease water retention. Try them raw in a salad or sautéed with a little bit of garlic and olive oil. They are full of fiber and taste great.
  2. Squash – One cup of butternut squash has six grams of fiber and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and flavonoids, which help to fight off heart disease and cancer.
  3. Carrots – Carrots make a great snack to have throughout the day and contain a variety of carotenoids that are health protectors.
  4. Local corn – Many people think corn has no nutritional value, however, fresh local corn provides you with the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin that can protect your eyes. It is also high in fiber and contains some potassium for good blood pressure.
  5. Apples/ Pears – The high pectin (natural fruit sugars) content contained within apples and pears makes the juicy fruit a strong diuretic and good at fending off unwanted water retention. They are high in fiber, too, which encourages a feeling of fullness and healthy digestion. Both have between 3-5 grams of fiber and make a great sweet snack that you don’t have to feel guilty about. They are also delicious chopped and cooked in a small amount of water and orange juice with cinnamon and ginger for a delicious, warm fall treat.