2 things to look out for in your food to help shed pandemic pounds: Protein and color

A recent study found nearly half of U.S. adults packed on nearly double the "quarantine 15."

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Saturday, October 1, 2022
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A recent study found nearly half of U.S. adults packed on nearly double the "quarantine 15" and are still struggling with pandemic pounds.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Many of us have reached for comfort foods during the last two years, but combined with the convenience of food delivery, it unfortunately adds up to serious pandemic weight gain.

So what's the best and healthiest way to shed those extra pounds?

Experts say it all starts at your front door.

"Companies that deliver fast food to your door, I think, became almost a little bit too comfortable in our society, " said Remy Peters, a registered dietician with Providence St. Joseph Medical Center.

A recent study found nearly half of U.S. adults packed on nearly double the "quarantine 15" and are still struggling with pandemic pounds. Peters said two words have helped her clients lose weight: Protein and color.

"Look at protein. Look at color. Our foods should be, and our meals or snacks, should be protein and colorful," said Peters.

This includes colorful fresh fruits and veggies, like tomatoes, berries, green peppers and spinach, and lean sources of proteins, such as chicken and fish.

Don't forget to include healthy fats like salmon, avocados, nuts and olive oil, which are all good for brain health and fighting disease.

When shopping, look for a bottle of extra virgin olive oil that's a rich, dark green.

"It's actually very similar to looking at, let's say, a blueberry or looking at broccoli. Anything that has abundant color, anything that's a plant, is going to help with cancer prevention and olive oil tends to have a very high capacity of antioxidants," said Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietician with Cleveland Clinic.

Experts say what you snack on is just as important as the main meals.

"Something like say a Greek yogurt with some berries, you got your protein, you got your color and some little carrots and a little bit of hummus," Peters said.

While the Food and Drug Administration is working to make package and nutrition labels easier to understand, Peters said try to eat whole, fresh foods that don't come in a box.

"How about minimizing some of those high shelf life types of foods that we have stocked in our pantries and go more towards things that we have to put a little bit of preparation into," she said.

Don't forget, delivery services can bring you fresh produce as well.