Losing weight is a matter of simple math. To drop pounds, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. There’s no way around that. But what you eat can have an impact.
“Certain foods can help you shed body weight,” says Heather Mangieri, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “because they help you feel full longer and help curb cravings.”
Some even kick up your metabolism. So consider this list when you go to the supermarket:
Cheap, filling, and versatile, beans are a great source of protein. Beans are also high in fiber and slow to digest. That helps you feel full longer, which may stop you from eating more.
Start a meal with a cup of soup and you may end up eating less. It doesn’t matter if the soup is chunky or pureed, as long as its broth based. You want to keep the soup to 100 to 150 calories a serving. So skip the dollops of cream and butter.
3. Dark Chocolate
Want to enjoy chocolate between meals? Pick a square or two of dark over the milky version. In a Copenhagen study, chocolate lovers who were given dark chocolate ate 15% less pizza a few hours later than those who had eaten milk chocolate.
4. Pureed Vegetables
You can add more veggies to your diet, enjoy your “cheat” foods, and cut back on the calories you’re eating all at the same time. When Penn State researchers added pureed cauliflower and zucchini to mac and cheese, people seemed to like the dish just as much. But they ate 200 to 350 fewer calories. Those healthy vegetables added low-cal bulk to the tasty dish.
Researchers gave one group of study subjects oatmeal for breakfast, while a second group was served a ready-to-eat oat-based breakfast cereal. Both breakfasts clocked in at 363 total calories. When asked to rate their appetite at regular intervals after finishing, the oatmeal eaters described themselves as significantly less hungry and more satisfied than the cereal eaters—even up to four hours following their meal. Researchers think it has to do with the fact that oatmeal is thicker and delivers more filling fiber than other cereals.
For a healthy snack on the run, choose a small handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans. Research shows that when people munch on nuts they automatically eat less at later meals.
Skip the apple juice or the applesauce and opt instead for a crunchy apple. Research shows that whole fruit blunts appetite in a way that fruit juices and sauces don’t. One reason is that raw fruit contains more fiber. Plus, chewing sends signals to our brain that we’ve eaten something substantial.
Yogurt can be good for your waistline. Yogurt, of all the foods that were tracked, was most closely linked to weight loss.Vegan yogurts come from alternative milk sources such as coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, and a few other sources. There are so many vegan yogurts on the market.
Yes, grapefruit really can help you shed pounds, especially if you are at risk fordiabetes. Researchers at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3 1/2 pounds over 12 weeks. Drinking grapefruit juice had the same results. But be careful: You cannot have grapefruit or grapefruit juice if you are on certain medications, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor.
Remember to load your shopping cart with lots of lean protein, fresh veggies, fruit, and whole grains, says food scientist Joy Dubost, PhD, RD. “The overall nutritional composition of your total diet remains the most important thing when it comes to lasting weight loss.”