You don’t need pseudo-scientific eating plans to lose weight. Health professionals agree that the safest and most effective weight loss methods rely on healthy eating and consistent exercise.
Changing your eating habits is the hardest part of establishing a healthy lifestyle. Incorporate these 15 foods into your daily eating plan to boost energy, release water weight, and get you started on your weight loss journey with enthusiasm.
1. Apples. High fiber and water content make this sweet treat a dietary winner. The fiber will keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to snack. Apples also satisfy your sweet tooth without the need for processed sugars and empty calories.
2. Avocado. Not all fats are bad. Monounsaturated fats, like the ones found in avocados, provide the body with a long-lasting energy source that is actually good for the brain, heart, and blood vessels. Avocados are packed with vitamins and nutrients that make them worth every calorie.
3. Spinach. Green, leafy vegetables like spinach contain compounds that help boost your metabolism. The extra fiber and water content also reduces hunger and relieves some water retention. Eat it raw to get the most benefits.
4. Berries. Ketones are the chemicals that give berries their irresistible smell. When eaten, these same chemicals help the human body control blood sugar levels and burn fat for energy. Aim to add ¼ to ½ cup of mixed berries to your daily meals.
5. Eggs. Studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast tend to consume fewer calories throughout their day. Eggs are also a versatile, low-calorie way to get protein into your diet.
6. Cinnamon. Erratic blood sugar can make it impossible to shed unwanted pounds. Compounds in cinnamon help control blood sugar spikes. It also lowers bad cholesterol while raising levels of the good cholesterol. Sprinkle one or two teaspoons on your fruit or oatmeal for best effect.
7. Quinoa. This trendy superfood is actually a seed. When cooked, it can be made into a dish similar to rice. Quinoa is one of the few plants that provide all 8 amino acids the body needs to build and maintain muscle. When you’re working on a challenging fitness schedule, this food will help your muscles heal faster. You’ll feel less pain and stiffness in between workouts.
8. Oatmeal. This classic breakfast staple is an enduring favorite for good reasons. Each serving is bursting with filling fiber that keeps you going until your next meal. One of the best things about oatmeal is that you can make it different every day. Combine it with other diet-friendly foods like honey, berries, and cinnamon to create a morning meal that makes it easy to stick to your calorie count.
9. Nuts. These little nuggets of nutrition are high in calories. When used in moderation, however, nuts reduces the urge to snack between meals. Eat a handful of mixed nuts with a piece of fruit for a high-energy afternoon snack. Give your raw leafy greens some pizazz by adding pistachios, walnuts, or sunflower seeds. Eat them from the shell to trick your brain into thinking it is full sooner.
10. Olive oil. Known for its healthy fat content and unique flavor, olive oil is not new to health-conscious gourmets. However, a 2013 study from the German Research Center for Food Chemistry found that just smelling olive oil increased the levels of serotonin in participants. Serotonin is associated with feelings of fullness or satisfaction.
11. Coconut oil. Coconut oil is another healthy fat, dieters can use for cooking. The medium chain fatty acids in this oil are metabolized too quickly for the body to store. As an extra benefit, coconut oil contains lauric acid. When ingested, lauric acid can help the body fight off or prevent bacterial infections.
12. Hot Peppers. Capsaicin is the compound that gives peppers their spiciness. When eaten, it reduces the sensation of hunger while boosting metabolism. Capsaicin also reduces inflammation and bloating, which can make you look slimmer. Skip the gel capsules and sprinkle dried pepper flakes on salads, soups, and dips for better absorption. A little goes a long way!
13. Lentils. Lentils are delicious and work well in a variety of cuisines and dishes. Besides the high fiber content, these little packets of nutrition deliver large doses of magnesium, a compound necessary for metabolism.
14. Greek yogurt. Our digestive systems host billions of tiny microorganisms. These creatures aid in the metabolism process. Keep your microorganisms happy with foods rich in probiotics like plain Greek yogurt. Use it in smoothies or add some spices to make a delicious and nutritious veggie dip.
15. Dark chocolate. Sometimes nothing will satisfy your craving but the real thing. When you really need chocolate, choose a bar made with at least 70% cocoa. These confections are denser, more flavorful, and have far less added sugar than conventional chocolates. Consuming a small amount of high-cocoa content chocolates daily will reduce your risk of heart disease and decrease body fat.
Dieting doesn’t have to be a chore. Make finding new ways to combine healthy foods into an adventure. The joy of learning to eat foods that are nourishing and delicious will keep you motivated until you reach your goal weight.