It's time for a new slim-down mantra: Eat more to weigh less. No joke! The right foods help you drop pounds by revving your calorie burn and curbing cravings. We consulted top experts for the best picks and asked leading chefs for easy, tasty ways to prepare them. Add these eats to your plate today and you'll be slimmer and healthier in no time!
By Camille Noe Pagan
Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours, says chef Sarah Krieger, R.D., spokeswoman in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the American Dietetic Association.
Eat more: Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fry, or try Krieger's take on a scrumptious hot breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp. each of raisins and chopped walnut.
10 more simple foods with superpowers for even more amazingly healthy choices!
Beef has a rep as a diet buster, but eating it may help you peel off pounds. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women on a diet that included red meat lost more weight than those eating equal calories but little beef. "The protein in steak helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss," says study author Manny Noakes, Ph.D. Try to consume local organic beef; it's healthier for you and the environment.
Eat more: Grill or broil a 4-ounce serving of top round or sirloin; slice thinly to top a salad, or mix with veggies for fajitas.
Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won't harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches. Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg with toast and jelly each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories but no eggs, a study from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge reports. "Egg protein is filling, so you eat less later in the day," says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam).
Long sidelined as a lowly garnish, this green belongs center stage on your plate. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. But kale's earthy flavor might take some getting used to. Spinach, another nutrient powerhouse, is a milder-tasting option.
Eat more: Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans, says Jennifer Iserloh, founder of Skinny Chef Culinary Ventures, in New York City. Or slice kale into thin strips, saute it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.SELF makes healthy eating S.I.M.P.L.E. Automatically cut calories and shed pounds without going on a diet!
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein, Krieger says. (They also have more beta-carotene than carrots.) Snack on them midafternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.
Eat more: Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tbsp dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup lowfat vanilla frozen yogurt.
Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you'll slip into your skinny jeans in no time. "Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein," Zuckerbrot says. "Those two nutrients make it very satiating, so it's harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff."
Eat more: Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Or make buckwheat crepes using our tasty recipe.
Adding this spread may lower bread's glycemic index (a measure of a food's effect on blood sugar). A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn't experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate only the slice. "The higher blood sugar levels rise, the lower they fall; that dip leads to hunger, causing people to overeat," says study author Cyril Kendall, Ph.D. "Furthermore, blood sugar changes cause the body to make insulin, which can increase abdominal fat."
Eat more: Try it for a change from peanut butter in sandwiches, or make a veggie dip: Mix 1 tbsp almond butter with 2 tbsp fat-free plain yogurt, Iserloh suggests. Or add a dollop to oatmeal for flavor and protein.
The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet, Krieger says.
Eat more: Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. "Use them in salads instead of nuts," Iserloh says. "They're especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon-poppy seed dressing." For another take on the seeds, use our easy recipe for sweet and spicy pomegranate salsa.More superfoods that will help you lose weight at SELF!
[photo credit: Getty Images]
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