Greek yogurt has almost twice as much protein as other yogurts. It takes longer to leave your stomach, keeping you satisfied longer. Plus, you burn more calories digesting protein than carbs. Choose nonfat, low-fat, and low-sugar types.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a nutritional all-star that belongs in your weight loss plan. This whole grain has 8 grams of hunger-busting protein and 5 grams of fiber in one cup, and you'll also get iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Quinoa is as easy to cook as rice. For a quick dinner, mix in some vegetables, nuts, or lean protein.
Some studies suggest cinnamon may have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels. This could curb your appetite, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. Nearly everyone can benefit from cinnamon in its traditional role. Stir some into your coffee, tea, or yogurt to add sweetness without adding calories.
Hot peppers have a flavorless chemical called capsaicin. It's more plentiful in habaneros, but jalapeños also have it. Capsaicin seems to curb appetite and speed up metabolism slightly, but only for a short time. It probably doesn't have a big impact on weight, unless you eat less food because it's spicy.
Several studies suggest green tea may promote weight loss by stimulating the body to burn fat. Green tea contains catechins, a type of phytochemical that may briefly affect the metabolism. To get the most benefit, you may need to drink green tea several times a day. Try taking your tea hot, because it takes longer to drink, providing a soothing, mindful experience.
Grapefruit doesn't have any magical fat-burning properties, but it can help you feel full with fewer calories. That's because its soluble fiber takes longer to digest. Having half a grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice before a meal fills you up, so you eat fewer calories during the meal.
Foods that are rich in water take up more room in your gut. This signals the body that you've had enough to eat and leaves less room for other foods. Many raw fruits and vegetables are full of water and nutrients and low in calories. Watermelon is a great example. It's a good source of the antioxidant lycopene and gives you some vitamin A and C, too.
Pears and apples are also high in water content. Eat them with the peels for extra fiber, which will keep you full longer. Go for whole fruits rather than fruit juice. You'll get more fiber, and you have to chew the fruits. This takes longer and you'll burn a few calories chewing, as opposed to gulping down a smoothie.
Compare 2 cups of grapes to 1/4 cup of raisins. Either choice has a little more than 100 calories, but you'll probably be more satisfied with the grapes. Dried fruit has its place. When used sparingly, a few raisins or dried cranberries can liven up a salad.
Like other fruits, berries are high in water and fiber, which can keep you full longer. They're also sweet, satisfying your sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories you would get from cookies or brownies. Blueberries are a good example because most stores carry them and they're loaded with antioxidants.
Raw vegetables make an outstanding snack. They satisfy the desire to crunch, they're full of water to help you feel full, and they're low in calories. Half a cup of diced celery has just 8 calories. Coat celery with a little peanut butter or dunking carrots in salsa. When you're in the mood for chips and dip, replace the chips with raw veggies.
Think of the typical toppings on your baked potato -- butter, sour cream, maybe cheese and bacon bits. If you substitute a sweet potato, you might not need any of that. Baked sweet potatoes are so full of flavor, they don't need a lot. This can save you loads of calories. As a bonus, sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber.
One egg has only 75 calories, plus 7 grams of protein along with other vital nutrients. Remember, your body will burn more calories digesting eggs than a carb-heavy breakfast. And the good news is that eggs are no longer on the "no-list" for people concerned about high cholesterol. It's saturated fat not dietary cholesterol we need to be wary of.
It sounds too good to be true: One of your favorite beverages may rev the metabolism and help you lose weight. Coffee does stimulate the metabolismm, but only a little. Don't count on this for weight loss, especially if you add calories with toppings.
Oatmeal has three things going for it: fiber-rich whole-grain oats, lots of water, and it's hot. It's a very filling combination. Hot food takes longer to eat, and all that liquid and fiber will help you feel full longer. Avoid super-sugary oatmeal. Stirring in cinnamon or nutmeg will give you a sweet taste with less sugar.
Whole-grain rye crackers, sometimes called crispbreads, offer a low-fat, fiber-packed alternative to traditional crackers. Research suggests people who replace refined grains with whole grains tend to have less belly fat. Whole grains also provide a richer assortment of plant nutrients. This doesn't just apply to crackers. You can get the same benefits by switching to whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas.
A standout whole grain is bulgur wheat, the type found in tabouli. It's high in fiber and protein but low in fat and calories. That helps you fill up with a minimum of calories. It also tastes great. To turn this dish into a meal, you could add beans and stir in extra tomato, cucumber, and parsley.
Soup -- we're talking broth-based, not creamy -- has a lot going for it. It's full of water, which fills you up with the fewest possible calories. It's hot, which prevents you from eating too much. Have it before a meal, and soup can take up space that might have gone to higher-calorie foods. You can also make a satisfying, low-calorie meal out of soup alone by adding chicken, fish, cut-up vegetables, or beans.
Another way to fill up before a meal is by eating salad. Lettuce has plenty of water content to take up space in the stomach. That leaves less room for fattier foods that might come later in the meal. Make your salad interesting by adding a variety of fruits and vegetables or grated cheese. Be careful about dressing, which can add a lot of calories.
Dress your salad with oil and vinegar. It's easy to make and it's full of flavor that can make salad more satisfying -- and it has fewer calories than most pre-made dressings.
Nuts are an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They're high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Studies suggest nuts can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. They're also rich in calories, so limit your portions. If you have to get them out of their shell, you'll slow down and not eat as much.
Three cups of plain, air-popped popcorn may seem like a lot, but you're not getting a lot of calories. All that air adds volume without adding fat or sugar.
Skim milk provides plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D with none of the fat found in whole milk. And even though it's fat-free, skim milk can help you feel full. It takes longer to leave the stomach than drinks with less protein.
You know that protein can keep you full longer and burn more calories during digestion. Choose your protein carefully. Dark meat tends to be high in fat, which could cancel out some of the benefits. Skinless chicken breast is a great choice. And some cuts of beef can make the grade. Flank steak, eye of round, and top sirloin are extra-lean with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per serving. Stick with a 3- to 4-ounce portion.
One of the best sources of protein is fish. Most fish is low in fat, and the exceptions usually have a good form of fat: omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s, which are found in salmon, herring, and other fatty fish, may help protect against heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Beans are a vegetable, a protein, and a great source of fiber. You feel full for very few calories. Open a can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and toss them into soup or salad, or mash them up to use as a dip. One cup packs 12.5 grams of fiber, just 4 grams of fat, and almost 15 grams of protein.
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