The old adage is “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It ends up, though, that apples also keep the fat pants away.
Apples are a nearly perfect diet food. They are also fairly inexpensive, and they travel well, and if you store them in the crisper in your refrigerator they will keep for up to 3 weeks (!). You should buy organic apples, though, because apples are one of the most heavily sprayed foods and because we eat the skins, and because apple skins are so thin, too many of those pesticides can get into the fruit itself.
So why are apples terrific weight loss food?
- Apples are low in calories. According to Nutrition Data, one medium apple (3 inches in diameter) has only 95 calories. Those 95 calories will fill you up SO much more than a soda or chips or almost anything else.
- Apples are sweet and have a lot of water in them, so if your sweet tooth is making you crazy on your diet, an apple will help. The more water in drink (or eat) on a diet will also help your weight loss goals, and it will keep you alert and healthier.
- Apples are high in fiber, which makes you feel full and alerts your metabolism that its OK to let fats go. That medium apple has 4 full grams of fiber in it, which is 17% of the USDA’s suggestion for daily fiber.
- Apples have almost no fat and almost no sodium. There are trace amounts, but they are negligible. This clears apples from the two most common “gotchas” of diet foods.
- Apples are loaded with vitamins (like 17% of your day’s vitamin C) and other trace elements that will help you feel good and be healthier.
Apples are so great, actually, that they have their own diet. The three apples a day diet is pretty simple: You eat an apple before each meal. The fiber and water and sweetness of the apple (the chewiness helps, too) fills you up very well, so you’ll eat a bit less at meals.
I carry two apples in my gym bag for the after-exercise munchies. I get really, really hungry after exercise, but eating two apples seriously curbs my appetite. It feeds me enough that by the time I get home (or go to a restaurant) eating being at the gym, I’m willing to have a chef’s salad instead of the chicken parmesan.
Apples also fall into the golden food category: stuff you can eat as much as you want of. My personal trainer turned me on to this. She assures me that I can eat as many apples as I want. There is no need for guilt about overeating apples. I love that. So when I find myself walking into the kitchen for something — anything — to put in my mouth and chew on, there is a bowl of beautiful red crispy apples. If I still want bread or even ice cream after eating two full apples, then I go for it. Just eat the apples first.