From Everyday Health
If you want to start feeling more energetic and healthy, shedding extra pounds is likely on your to-do list. You may have already started by eliminating high-calorie, high-sugar, and high-fat processed foods and snacks from your grocery shopping. But some foods made for weight loss can leave you starving — and that’s not the goal. Instead, add these eight foods that will help you lose weight but also taste great and keep you full. Just remember, says nutritionist Keith Kantor, PhD, of Norcross, Georgia, author of What Matters, portion sizes are still key. Overeating — even if the food is healthy — won’t help you achieve weight-loss results.
Binge on Beans
There are lots of reasons to put beans on your shopping list of foods for weight loss. First, beans are high in fiber, and any food high in fiber will be filling, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, of Maryland, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet. Beans also stimulate the production of the gut hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which is a natural appetite suppressant. In an animal study, researchers at the University of California Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine found that rats consumed less food when given CCK. A veggie chili or a bean-based stew will fill you up without weighing you down.
Why put salmon on your list of foods for weight loss? Among its many health benefits, salmon is a great source of protein. Researchers at Purdue University found that men who were trying to lose weight felt fuller longer when they ate higher amounts of protein at each meal. The participants, who were put on a low-calorie, high-protein diet, also reported fewer food cravings throughout the day and didn’t crave unhealthy snacks late at night. Protein-rich foods are filling foods because “protein is metabolized more slowly than fats or carbohydrates,” explains Dr. Gerbstadt. Not only is salmon a good food for weight loss, but this cold-water fish is also an excellent source of heart-healthy fats known as omega-3’s. Try baking or grilling salmon — you can have a 3-ounce portion for dinner and flake the leftovers over salad greens for lunch the next day.
Recent research puts protein-rich eggs on the list of foods that help people to lose weight. In an eight-week study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and at Saint Louis University in Missouri, overweight men and women who ate two eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who ate bagels. What makes eggs a good food choice for weight loss? Possibly because it requires more energy to break down a protein than it does a starch, which many breakfast foods, including bagels, cereals, and muffins are made up of, Dr. Kantor suggests. If you’re worried about high cholesterol, eat more egg whites than yolks. Add hard-boiled egg whites to your salads for a low-calorie protein — the average white has only about 15 calories — or try a whites-only snack, such as egg whites and cucumber with salt and pepper, when you need a bite between meals.
Nosh on Nuts
Nuts can be super foods for weight loss if you control the amount you eat. Among the positives, nuts pack in protein and fiber, which makes them filling foods. But they’re also high in fat, which translates to added calories. The fats in nuts, however, are healthy fats, “and we do need some fat in our diets, so healthy fats are the best choice,” Gerbstadt says. Limit yourself to a handful of nuts — they’re about 150 calories per ounce — if you’re trying to lose weight. Researchers at the University of Barcelona reported that people on a 12-week diet that included a handful of mixed nuts daily had higher levels of serotonin, which is a hormone that can decrease appetite, than those who didn’t eat nuts. Incorporate this weight loss-boosting food into your diet throughout the day. Thinly spread a tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a piece of whole-wheat toast for breakfast and add a sprinkle of slivered almonds on steamed green beans at dinner.
Your stomach lags behind your brain — it takes about 15 minutes for digestive hormones to send the signal to your brain that you’re filling up. That’s one reason popcorn is high on Gerbstadt’s list of foods that can help you lose weight: It takes a long time to eat popcorn, and the slower you eat, the more likely you are to start feeling full before you overdo it. Popcorn is also a good source of fiber, making it a filling food, too. Use a hot-air popper and you’ll save on fat and calories as well, Gerbstadt says. Microwaveable reduced-fat popcorn is also a good choice when you’re looking for foods that help to lose weight. Some brands sell their popcorn as 100-calorie packs, a good snack idea when you’re trying to pick foods for weight loss.
Get Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is another chart topper on the list of smart foods for weight loss, says Kantor. It’s a great choice because it has twice the protein and less sugar than most other yogurts. Greek yogurt is also a good source of calcium. A study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Tel Aviv, Israel found that people who consumed more calcium lost almost twice as much weight as those who consumed little calcium — 12 pounds versus 7 — over two years. Need ideas to get this filling food into your diet? Make a parfait of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast or as a dessert. Greek yogurt is also great as a base for thick and creamy smoothies.
Choose Chili Peppers
The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn, even when you’re at rest. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili and other peppers that makes them spicy, is filling and may help boost metabolism. A study in the European Journal of Nutrition found people who added capsaicin to their breakfast food felt more satisfied and ate less over the course of the day. But if you can’t quite warm up to the idea of chili for breakfast, even though it is a great food for weight loss, try spicing up your morning eggs, fixing a breakfast burrito or tacos, or make yourself a bowl of piping hot chili with red beans for an early lunch. You’ll not only start your day with a boost to your metabolism — you’ll also stay fuller longer, decreasing your appetite and keeping you from overeating for the rest of the day.
Add weight-loss aid to the many benefits of drinking water. In fact, water should be a staple on your list of foods for weight loss. “I recommend you drink a glass of water before you eat and between servings,” Kantor says. And if you’re drinking alcohol, he suggests having a glass of plain water between drinks. “Your intestines can only hold so much volume,” Kantor says. “Water will fill you up quickly and prevent you from overdoing it on foods and drinks that don’t help with weight loss.” Also, some people overeat because they mistake thirst for hunger, but if you fill up on plenty of water and stay well-hydrated, you’ll know that any hunger pangs you feel are for real.