Beans, soybeans, peas and lentils are all excellent sources of protein and fiber. High fiber diets are associated with reduced risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and certain kinds of cancer. But it’s the fiber content that’s going to help you shed those extra pounds.
Buy dried legumes whenever possible and soak them according to the package directions to get the most benefit. If you’re cooking with canned legumes, read the labels to make sure you’re not loading up on sugar and salt. Add them to soups and stews or mix them with brown rice or other whole grains.
A cup of black beans packs a whopping 15 grams of satisfying protein and doesn’t contain any of the saturated fat found in other protein sources, like red meat.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and cranberries are all packed with antioxidants and flavor and add natural sweetness to just about any meal. Rich in zinc and vitamin C, berries can be added to oatmeal, smoothies and even salads.
Try adding a handful of blueberries or cranberries to a spinach salad. Toss in handful of walnuts and dress with your favorite low-calorie dressing and you’ve got a nutrient dense lunch that will fuel your body and your weight loss goals.
The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings of fish per week. Lower in calories, cholesterol and saturated fats than other meats, it’s hard to find a fish that’s bad for you. High in protein, coldwater fishes in particular are good sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids that contribute to brain and neuron function. Choose fresh salmon and tuna for the best benefit and steam or grill your fish instead of frying.
Your body burns the energy from whole grains slowly, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable so fewer carbohydrates are stored as fat. Not only that, but whole grains are high in fiber and grains like quinoa are also high in protein. Fiber and protein work together to help you feel fuller longer while at the same time, aiding your body in moving LDL or bad cholesterol out of your blood and into the liver for elimination.
Get creative with whole grains-there’s more to this food group than oatmeal and brown rice, although these long-time favorites are favorites for a reason. Cook bulgur wheat or quinoa and mix with chopped tomatoes, onions, parsley, mint, lemon juice and olive oil for tabouleh salad. Try making whole grains the main component of one or two meals a week and mix with legumes or stir-fried vegetables for an entire meal of super weight loss foods.
Recent studies are showing that calcium plays a strong role in how the body burns fat and it’s believed that the more calcium that’s stored in a fat cell, the more fat that cell is able to burn. While similar findings were reported in people who got most of their calcium from supplements, the best results were found in people who consumed higher amounts of low-fat dairy products. Choose nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese and aim for three servings a day. Frozen yogurt doesn’t count.
Broth-based soups aren’t just easy to make, they’re easy to fill with a variety of super foods that are high in flavor and low in calories. The high water content helps keep you hydrated (just watch the sodium) and many people find comfort in its warmth.
When it comes to making soup, you’re only limited by your imagination. Make your own stock or use a high-quality, low sodium stock. Add your favorite vegetables, especially leafy greens like kale or escarole, and simmer with beans or lentils or try mixing in cooked whole grains like barley or brown rice at the end.