If you’re hoping to shed a few pounds this spring, a good place to start is by educating yourself on which foods are naturally better at helping you lose weight. The best weight loss foods tend to be rich in water content, protein, and fiber. These types of foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, causing you to eat fewer calories throughout your day.
High in protein and fiber, black beans can be a great substitute for more fattening foods, such as red meats. Protein rich foods take longer to digest, which means your body burns more calories in order to metabolize them. Try mixing up a yummy vegetarian chili, a black bean soup, or even use them as a salad topping.
Oats contain high amounts of viscous (or soluble) fiber. As viscous fiber travels through your digestive system, it absorbs water and forms a thick gel-like substance. Like protein, this substance takes longer for your body to digest, so it stays in your stomach for longer. Starting your day out with a healthy bowl of oatmeal can help you eat less through your day. Be wary of flavored oatmeal packets, however, as they often contain additional calories and sugar. Stick with plain oatmeal and mix in some fresh fruit, such as strawberries or bananas, for added flavor and sweetness.
Having half a grapefruit with breakfast might sound like a dieting cliché, but that’s because it really does help. Not only is grapefruit high in fiber—1/2 a grapefruit contains 2 grams of fiber and only 52 calories—but they have also been shown to lower insulin levels. These lowered insulin levels increase the body’s ability to efficiently turn food into energy, ensuring less fat is stored. Grapefruit’s high water content also contributes to creating a “full” sensation – helping you to eat less!
Broccoli is another food high in fiber and water content, but low in calories. One cup of raw broccoli is much like half a grapefruit in that it contains 2 grams of fiber and is mostly made up of water (about 91 percent), but it has even fewer calories—only 31. Broccoli is a great way to fill up without adding lots of extra calories to your meal. It’s also a great source of calcium and vitamins C and A. Raw broccoli can be a great snack by itself, or added to a salad, or steamed broccoli makes a tasty side dish.
You might be tempted to stay away from avocados because they are fairly high in calories and fat content. One cup of cubed avocado contains 240 calories and 22 grams of fat. However, only 3 of those grams come from saturated fat. The majority of the fat content comes from monounsaturated oleic acid, which research shows can actually help your body burn fat. Additionally, your body actually requires a certain amount of fat to process fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). You can take advantage of this link by adding avocado to a nutrient rich salad. Other tasty ways to introduce avocado into your diet include pairing it with grilled chicken, including it in a healthy sandwich, or whipping it up into a dip.
These are just a few of the foods that can help you to lose weight naturally through a well-balanced diet. It’s important to note that most, if not all, of the benefits of these natural weight busters come from substitution rather than addition. If you merely add one of the above foods to your diet, rather than substituting them for other, less healthy options, you won’t be taking advantage of their full value. With that in mind, why not start drawing up a brand new meal plan, incorporating a few of these amazing weight loss aids? You’ll be glad you did!