If you’ve been working hard to lose weight and find that the scales haven’t blossomed yet, it may be high time to take another look at the ingredients you usually store in your kitchen. What kinds of foods should we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner to lose weight and this annoying belly fat?
Heavily processed foods can pose difficulties with maintaining consistent weight loss, but some of the best foods to help you lose weight are those that are high in fiber, which many are surprised to learn is a form of carbohydrate. Fiber foods tend to contain fewer calories, help keep you full after a meal, and regulate blood sugar levels. Studies show that the more dietary fiber included in the daily routine, the more it can fight “abdominal fat deposits.”
Like vegetables, fruit is a smart supplement to any healthy weight loss strategy. Apples are especially good to have on hand throughout the week as they’re inexpensive, can be kept in the fridge for weeks, and make super-portable snacks. You can also get creative and use them as part of your main meals.
Apples are delicious on top of salads and toast or swirled into soups and smoothies. Because of their high water and fiber content (don’t forget to eat the skin), apples are low in calories and quite filling. Studies show that these factors help people lose weight.
Peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein and up to 4 grams of fiber per portion, making it the perfect snack to keep you full and satisfied (particularly when stabilizing your glycemic load). Be sure to look at the ingredient label, which should only have peanuts and salt (maybe some oil, but no high fructose corn syrup or any artificial additives!).
A research review published in the journal Food Science and Technology highlights the fact that peanut butter may help people feel more happy than other snacks do.
Pumpkin & Pumpkin seeds
With more fiber than quinoa and more potassium than banana, pumpkin puree is one of the best bets for snacking and cooking. Try it the next time you’re craving sweets: add pumpkin puree to unsweetened Greek yogurt with cinnamon and shredded pears for a nutritious dessert.
Pumpkin seeds provide tons of immune-boosting zinc, but more importantly, are a significant source of fiber (quite a filling snack!). With about 7 grams of protein per snack, these seeds are a great addition to most diets.
A cup of peas packs 8 grams of protein and tons of key bloating-reducing nutrients. It has almost everything you need daily for vitamin C, plus magnesium, potassium and iron, all of which assitsts in balancing sodium and transport oxygen to blood cells.
There’s no better healthy fat in tuna when it comes to hearty protein, along with salmon and sardines. They’re packed with omega-3s and lean protein, which helps you fill up during meals and dodge sneaky snack attacks later in the day or at night.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating two servings of seafood every week because it contains essential fatty acids that we can only get through our diets. In addition to supporting heart and brain health, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna can help reduce body fat. Seafood is also high in protein, which helps fight hunger by keeping us full for many hours. Fresh fish is great, but can be expensive to buy every week. Consider frozen fish fillets or shrimp, which tend to be cheaper, and don’t overlook canned seafood for easy salmon patties or instant sardine toast.
Believe it or not, air-fried potatoes (yes, really!) are a great source of potassium, which can help manage bloating and balance out sodium. Potatoes are also rich in fiber, which means they can be a nutritious food – as long as they’re not served deep-fried.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Fermented foods such as miso, tempeh and sauerkraut contain probiotics, so-called friendly bacteria, which boost immunity, regulate the gut and drive out bloat. Unsweetened plain Greek yogurt can also provide probiotic benefits. Choose ones that have five or more strains of bacteria per 6-ounce serving.
Like yogurt, kefir is a cultured diary byproduct, but it’s more of a creamy, delicious drink with the consistency of a smoothie. It’s full of probiotics that help regulate a healthy gut, and can be an especially smart choice if you’re feeling bloated, since constipation can play a huge role there. It’s also very high in protein, so try adding a splash to your morning smoothie.
It is polarizing in many households, but sauerkraut may be the first fermented food you ever come across–and it should have a place in your pantry among other condiments.
Because it’s fermented, the probiotic properties of sauerkraut are associated with it; basically, like other vegetables, it’s low in calories but rich in fiber. Try adding it to a salad or sandwich, now!
Probiotics introduce beneficial bacteria into the body, but the prebiotics in oats feed the good bacteria already living there, helping them multiply. Plus, oatmeal has a big punch of dietary fiber, a common product of oats: There are 4 grams in just half a cup, which helps you stay full until lunch.
Considering nuts and almonds, in particular, are a strong source of protein, and various studies have linked increased almond consumption to lower LDL (“bad” kind) cholesterol levels. In particular, according to the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, regular snacking on almonds is linked to greater weight loss due to its effect on supercharging metabolisms.
Blueberries are indeed full of fiber (4 grams in one cup), but they also contain a significant amount of antioxidants in a juicy bite of the treat. Blueberries contain less sugar than most other fruits, too-it’s a nice, sweet, healthy choice for a snack or for dessert.
Vegetable oils, such as extra-virgin olive oil, create this “full” feeling and help you lose weight overall. Extra-virgin olive oil also helps reduce inflammation thanks to antioxidants, especially oleocantal, which have the same effect on the body as ibuprofen when consumed regularly.
Skip the battered, oil-fried foods! Fried snacks are associated with weight gain, so it’s best to enjoy them only occasionally.
Some studies show that eggs, which are low in calories and rich in other dietary nutrients, can promote weight loss over time. High-protein breakfasts, including omelets and vegetable pans, can be quite filling throughout the day; but even a hard-boiled egg on top of a salad at lunch can also keep you full until dinner.
The egg really is the perfect protein, especially when it comes to weight loss. Eggs eaten at breakfast have been shown to increase weight loss in a reduced-calorie diet. Also, incorporating enough protein-rich foods, such as eggs, into your diet at breakfast can make evening snacks a non-issue. They are also economical and versatile enough to make snacks and lunches for the week, and a bowl of syrup at dinner.
Beans are a staple in many vegetarian meals because they are packed with plant proteins as well as minerals and some B-vitamins. They are also an important source of soluble fiber, which will help your body process bean-based foods longer, helping you consume fewer calories along the day.
These small, protein-filled plant-based bites make a soup base or salad topping much more substantial. The fiber and resistant starch in lentils can help you consume fewer calories between meals.
Plant-based omega-3s are relevant to any healthy diet, but leafy greens such as spinach are especially useful for tightening up. Spinach is loaded with minerals such as potassium, which help offset the bloating effects of sodium.
Fiber is synonymous with crunchy vegetables that can easily be found fresh in the produce aisle with any food: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kohlrabi are just some examples.
Cooked simply sautéed or baked on a sheet pan, these vegetables are low in calories and they retain all the phytonutrients, including many minerals and vitamins (from calcium to zinc!) that may be lacking elsewhere in your diet.
Good news for lovers of this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!): A 2013 study linked regular avocado consumption to lower waist circumference and body mass index. What’s more, monounsaturated fats are good for heart health and fill it up, which reduces the desire to graze on processed foods later in life.
Tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, cucumbers and other salad staples all help you keep hydrated due to their high H2O content. This extra water can compensate for fluid retention caused by excess salt.
The potassium in citrus helps fight bloating, while the antioxidants fight inflammation, which is linked to fat storage in the belly. Since a key part of beating is proper hydration, adding citrus to H2O can help non-water drinkers sip up and ultimately lose weight!
Herbs and Spices
Flavor your food with herbs and spices whenever you can. This will encourage you to cut back on high-sodium staples and avoid the salt shaker, which is a major player in bloating.
Also, many of these have a mild diuretic effect, helping you flush out excess water. We love basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, tarragon, mint, oregano, black and red chili peppers, just to name a few.