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Bulky Foods May Aid Weight Loss

Timeless Nutrition Tip

In a study presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, Penn State researchers found that eating a low-calorie salad before a meal could decrease the total calories consumed at that meal.

Bulky Foods May Aid Weight Loss

The findings are part of a growing body of research that shows that the energy density of foods contributes to weight gain. Foods with lower energy density have fewer calories relative to weight and tend to be bulked up by fiber and/or water. Examples: Fruits, vegetables, salads and soups.

A similar study found that individuals are satisfied with a certain volume of food, regardless of whether those foods are energy-dense or not. Therefore, adding bulk from low energy-dense foods may help decrease overall caloric intake, while retaining the volume of food to which consumers are accustomed.

Try Spinach

Fresh head of spinach Love it or hate it, spinach is among the most nutritious of all foods. In addition to iron and calcium, spinach contains a number of other important nutrients. These include fiber, vitamins A and C, folate and lutein.

Spinach is considered a power-packed vegetable and an excellent selection to help you reach your goal of five servings a day of fruits and vegetables.

There are many forms of spinach available: Fresh, frozen and canned as well as dehydrated spinach flakes. Spinach varieties are categorized by the shape of their leaves. Flat, semi-savoyed (crinkled) and heavily savoyed. The flat leafed types are used primarily by the processing industry, since soil particles are easier to wash off. The thick leaves and ease of washing also make this type attractive to many people who purchase fresh spinach. Whatever you choose, fresh spinach should be crisp, succulent and dark green, with a minimum of stems.

Cooking with fresh spinach used to be time-consuming because it took several rinsing to remove all the grit. However, you can now buy pre-washed and ready to use spinach. If you have a small household to feed and do not think you will use an entire bag in one meal, chop up the extra and add it to casseroles, soups, lasagna and omelets.

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