If you are looking to lose weight, eating can and should be an important part of achieving your goals. Maintaining a healthy weight (one that you feel good about) and allows you to do the things you love can be achieved with certain diet tweaks. We’ve rounded up the foods you should add to your menu to lose pounds in a healthy way. Let’s get cooking!
Green tea is a soothing sip that has been studied for its role in losing weight. If anything, the liquid in green tea helps to hydrate you, eliminating nagging hunger, which the body can sometimes confuse for thirstiness. A bonus is that it’s a rich source of antioxidants.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes, like black beans, chickpeas and lentils, contain tons of fibre and protein, a superior weight loss combo. Both fibre and protein will help to stabilize blood sugar to keep your tummy full. And, with so many ways to prepare them, you won’t get bored of beans and legumes. Snack on hummus, enjoy black beans in place of, or in addition to meat in chili, turn red lentils into creamy dhal — the possibilities are endless.
Greek yogurt contains a huge amount of protein per serving, often getting as high as 20 grams for a mere half-cup. It’s lower in calories and carbohydrates than most other breakfast and snack foods, making it an ultimate weight loss food. Avoid flavoured or sugar-laden Greek yogurt, instead sticking to plain versions (any fat content) and topping with fresh fruit, nuts and a small drizzle of honey for something sweet, or cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and olive oil for a savoury snack.
Omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones found in salmon, offer a helping hand in the weight management department. The healthy fats in salmon, coupled with its lean protein content, are satiating and feel rich without being heavy. The protein content in salmon helps to retain muscle mass while helping you shed weight.
Beautiful blue orbs, blueberries, are nature’s candy, found fresh in the summertime and frozen year-round. They’re loaded with nutrition in one tiny, low-calorie package, with 1 cup containing a range of phytonutrients, fibre, all at about 80 calories.
Starting the day off with oats can help you to shed pounds and reduce cholesterol. Like brown rice, oats contain resistant starch, something that is being studied for its metabolism-boosting, fat-burning properties. And, with loads of fibre and one of the highest protein contents of any common grain, oatmeal has plenty of slow-digesting, energy-giving benefits. Their blank canvas means you can make them as simple or deluxe as you like.
Bracing grapefruit may be seen as a tired “diet” food for weight loss, but there really is some merit behind the ruby red citrus. Grapefruit contains filling water, fibre and the potent antioxidant, vitamin C. It’s filling and a low-calorie and low-carb way to incorporate more fresh fruit into your diet. If you’re replacing unsatisfying sugary cereal with grapefruit and Greek yogurt for breakfast, you’ll likely see a great improvement in your hunger levels by mid-morning.
The spicy nip that gives hot peppers their heat, capsaicin, may also work to boost metabolism. Sprinkle chili powder in your recipes or add a pop of colour and taste with fresh chili on salads, grilled meats and cooked grains.
Remember to incorporate plenty of healthy fats into your meals, which nourish cells and help to absorb fat-soluble nutrients found in vitamins A, D and E. In terms of packaged foods, low-fat or fat-free foods are high in carbohydrates, which leave you hungry, irritable and reaching for even more to munch. Healthy fats, like those found in olive, coconut, cold-pressed canola, flaxseed, hemp and almond oils, are a key component of weight management; without them, you’ll be hungry all day long.
Buttery, rich avocados contain more fibre and healthy fats than nearly all other fruits, dulling hunger and keeping your energy levels sustained. Avocados are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. According to a study in Diabetes Care, monounsaturated fats were shown to reduce abdominal (central) fat distribution.
Almonds are a source of protein, fibre and healthy fats, have few carbohydrates and offer a low-sugar snacking alternative between meals. Replace crunchy, carb-heavy snacks, like chips and crackers with a handful of almonds; add them on top of your salad instead of croutons, give your oatmeal or yogurt staying power in the morning with a sprinkle, or blend into almond butter as a dip for apples. Instead of buying prepared snack mix, try this weight loss-friendly almond recipe instead.
Carbohydrates and grains are still on the menu when it comes to weight loss; it’s portion sizes and varieties that count the most. Brown rice, containing the outer nutrient-rich bran, is higher in fibre and protein than white rice, assisting in weight loss and blood sugar stability for maintaining energy levels. And brown rice contains resistant starch (a type of starch not fully absorbed by the body), currently being studied for its role in weight loss. Try it in a grain bowl along with another superfood, chickpeas.
Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes digest more slowly, so you don’t get the same spike in blood sugar as you would with the white variety. Sweet potatoes can also help to crush carb cravings with their sweet, comfort-food flavour. Enjoy them at any meal as a side dish, or present them as your breakfast main in this sweet potato toast.
Broccoli, like kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are members of the nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetable family. Broccoli’s high-fibre, high-water content fills you up, but with very few carbohydrates and scant amounts of natural sugars. With less than 30 calories per serving, you can load up the side of your plate high with this pretty green veg.