Lose Those 'Last 5 Pounds' With These 4 Kitchen Essentials

October 8, 2013
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You finally broke your 3pm M&M’s habit, you’re Facebook friends with your spinning instructor, and you can decipher nutrition labels quicker than an FDA officer. So why is that rock-hard core you’ve spent months sculpting still hiding out under a layer of flab?

More: 12 Belly-Blasting Superfoods

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The likely reason: When you don’t have much weight to lose, and your lifestyle is already pretty balanced, it can take more than a few extra pushups or a couple more dessert-less nights to lose those infamous “last 5 pounds.” But that doesn’t mean you have to resort to drastic measures to shed the extra weight. A few small tweaks to your diet can add up to big results, and your kitchen is the best place to start.

Take your body to the next level—with little effort—by stocking your shelves with these four fat-melting must-haves

1. Oil sprayers. They'll only set you back $5 a piece, but their benefits are worth a million bucks. Get a few and fill them with your favorite flavorings like olive oil, salad dressings, and sauces. The spray bottle allows you to indulge in high-calorie flavor, but since it disperses your liquid lightly and evenly, you end up using a lot less. One flat tablespoon of any oil contains 120 calories, for example, but if you spritz it on your pan or food instead of drizzling it (think everything from frying eggs in the morning to baking chicken at night), you can easily save between 120-400 calories a day. That alone could help you lose up to a pound per week!

2. Coconut vinegar. Coconut is having a moment in the nutrition world, and while coconut milk and coconut meat boast a number of health benefits, they’re high in calories and fat, which could impede your weight-loss goal if you overdo it. Coconut vinegar, on the other hand, is calorie-free and will add a delish twist to any salad, steamed veggie, or protein. Ordering Chinese takeout? Request a steamed dish and drizzle it with coconut vinegar and a low-sodium soy sauce, and you’ll save hundreds of calories without sacrificing flavor. 

More: The New Best Foods for Weight Loss

3. Fat-free feta. An ounce has just 35 calories compared to about 100 calories for an ounce of most full-fat cheeses. Feta is packed with flavor and filling protein, and since you typically don’t melt it, you won’t miss the fat. Make the swap in your sandwiches, omelets , and salads, and you can save anywhere from 70-500 calories per day!

4. Frozen berries. Next time your sweet tooth is aching for a fix, resist a trip to your local ice cream or froyo shop, and drizzle ½ cup of frozen berries with a dash of powdered sugar and balsamic vinegar, instead. (Be sure to let the berries thaw for a few minutes to soften them up, but don’t let them sit too long or they’ll no longer be cool and refreshing.) This swap can save 100-500 calories, depending on your typical indulgence.

Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dieticians, certified personal trainers and authors of Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever.