Google weight loss and you will find many slimming tricks, fitness gym offers and more diets than you can name. Adding to that are pictures of celebrity moms who miraculously manage to slim down almost right after giving birth. Is that a miracle? Actually it is not. Celebrity or not, weight loss comes down to calorie output being more than calorie input. This article explores the calorie input – can what you decide to eat help in your weight loss efforts? Here are the top 10 foods that can!
Foods that help in weight loss can broadly be categorized to those that:
(i) make you full for a longer time
(ii) boost your metabolism
(iii) reduce that urge to binge.
Certain foods aid in your weight loss in more than one way, with the added nutritional value.
We think of diet, and we think of salad. Almost immediately, we feel it is unsatisfying and start thinking about cakes! However, salads can be enjoyable and filling, it is all in the ingredients. For instance, experiment with lean meat such as chicken breast with lentils. Choose a low-fat salad dressing such as vinaigrette and stay away from croutons and bacon bits!
Nuts generally make you full due to the chewing motion and the fat release from almond helps to curb hunger. Almonds are also packed with nutrients, for instance vitamin E that is an antioxidant and vitamin B2 that help to reduce stress (and reduce likelihood of binging when stressed!). Make sure you choose unsalted almonds and those without extra sugar coating.
Low-fat yoghurt has been studied to be most closely associated with weight-loss. It may possibly be due to the combination of calcium with the bioactive compounds that reduce fat gain and increase fat burn. Again, be careful not to choose those with sugar and if you like something sweeter, opt for fruits like bananas. The starch in bananas helps to metabolize fats and reduce obesity.
The fibre in oats and oatmeal adds to the feeling of satiety and makes a delicious and healthy breakfast. Oats also have whole grains and proteins that help to make that breakfast last till lunch. The carbohydrates from the oats are released slowly, thus avoiding the insulin spike and unwanted storage of fats. Avoid prepackaged oatmeal that is sugar-laden, instead prepare your own, topped with fruits. Do not skip breakfast as it gives your body fuel and boost your metabolism for the day.
Eggs have protein, essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs help you feel full and is easy to prepare for breakfast and pack for a snack. The protein in egg yolks can stimulate the release of hormone glucagon that helps to burn fat. Poached egg is a healthy way to cook the egg (without butter or oil) and reduces the oxidation of the egg yolk’s cholesterol (thus less cholesterol is absorbed).
An apple makes a great snack and has many of the benefits discussed above, such as (i) fibre to keep you full, (ii) requires chewing that signals food has been consumed, (iii) vitamins and flavonoid that is associated with lower cholesterol and (iv) high water content. You may wish to opt for organic apples as apple is one of those fruits with higher pesticide residue.
Soups, non-creamy vegetable type, make a low calorie, nutrient-dense meal that keeps you full and satisfied. The liquid fills you up and reduces the likelihood that you would want to order an after-meal snack. Avoid reaching for the bread, applying it with lots of butter to go with the soup! Instead focus on maximizing the benefits of the soup by choosing healthy ingredients such as mushroom, broccoli or pumpkin.
We know vegetables in soups help in our weight-loss but there are other ways to include vegetables in our comfort food. For instance, a mac and cheese is often laden with too much butter and cheese to be suitable for weight loss but how about replacing the cheese with pureed or mashed vegetables? One easy and favorite recipe is to replace most of the cheese with mashed potatoes or pureed cauliflower. This not only reduces calories but gives you the nutrients of your vegetable choice, for instance, cauliflower is known for its cancer-fighting phytonutrient sulforaphane. Its vitamin C also helps to increase fat burn during exercise.
9. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate which is high-quality (and at least 60% dark chocolate) is rich in antioxidant and helps to curb that craving. For some people, it may be that deprivation to sweet foods results in the release of brain molecule that is similar to heightened stress. This may throw us off healthy eating to eat junk food. Always opt for dark chocolate, instead of milky or white chocolate.
10. Green Tea
Green tea contains a phytochemical catechin that boost metabolism and promote fat oxidation. Moreover, it is more palatable to be drinking green tea without milk or sugar than drinking black coffee.
Remember for weight loss, more than half the battle is in what you eat. Given that you should be mindful of not consuming more calories than you need, make sure you make those that you consume worth it. Eat a healthy plate of fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, drink plenty of water, say goodbye to sugared drinks and hello to your new body!