You’ve cleaned up the pantry. You got clear on your goals. You’re educated on the sneaky, science-backed tricks for keeping your appetite in check. You’ve sworn to stop skipping meals. You’re fully committed to being a lean, mean, fat-shedding machine.
Whether you’re looking for a total body transformation or just slightly lower digits on the scale, losing weight is a challenge. It feels like there’s a new fad diet every month, and with so many opinions from alleged “experts”, it’s easy to be paralysed by choice. You know you need to eat better, but it’s unclear what “better” actually is.
Nutritionists recommend focusing on quality, nutrient-dense foods – foods with benefits that equal, or outweigh, their caloric impact. What you’re looking for is fibre, a nutrient that is filling, maintains blood glucose levels, and promotes gastrointestinal health. Aim to stock your kitchen with vegetables, fruits, and nuts. These plant-based foods are rich in fibre and naturally high in protein, which together pack a serious punch that keeps you fuller for longer and keeps your metabolism fit.
The best foods for weight loss include:
This powerful little grain is trendy for a reason. It’s a complete protein and high in fibre, as well as rich in eight essential amino acids and a laundry list of vitamins. It also scores low on the glycemic index, meaning it won’t cause a blood sugar spike.
Mushrooms are flavorful, rich in fibre, and meaty enough to replace actual meat in many dishes if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Research has found that subbing mushrooms for meat for one meal a day can lead to significant weight loss. It’s easier on your wallet, too.
Fruit gets a bad rap as a weight loss food due to its natural sugar, but berries can be an effective way to curb your sugar cravings without totally destroying your diet. They’re relatively low in calories, are packed with nutrients, and add a welcome dose of flavour to blah meals.
Your mother was right about leafy greens. They’re crucial to a healthy diet and versatile to cook with. Spinach is extremely low in calories (meaning you can fill up on fistfuls without altering the scale) and packed with all kinds of nutrients.
Chocolate can be an energising caffeine replacement and possibly make you smarter. According to a 2012 study, it may even be a weight loss aid. The research revealed a link between consuming dark chocolate twice a week and lower BMI – but it must be dark chocolate, and it still must be eaten in moderation.
The humble carrot is easy to overlook, but letting it rot in your veggie drawer is a mistake. Carrots are an easy and hearty snack that can be used to replace other fast, but unhealthful, bites. Added bonus: the high fibre content comes with a serious shot of beta-carotene.
A 2011 study found that eating black beans can “contribute to the improvement of insulin resistance” and “prevent lifestyle-related disease.” Many kinds of beans are loaded with fibre, protein, iron, and zinc, and because they’re a complex carb, they keep you full longer.
Believe it or not, edamame is a complete protein that contains all the amino acids of meat as well as healthy fat. A single cup contains 17g of protein, 8g of fibre, and only 189 calories, so you can keep your belly full while still successfully battling the bulge.
Nuts are a great quick-grab snack and many varieties are high in healthy fat and fiber. However, they’re also very caloric, so it’s important to consume in moderation. Brazil nuts are a popular choice for the diet conscious, but be careful not to overeat.
The kale hype just won’t die. Like spinach, kale is ultra low on calories and fat, but brimming with potassium, vitamin K, fibre, and iron. The nutrients help regulate your digestive system while the low scores on fat and calories mean you can wolf it down with no effect on your waistline.
[Learn more at Men’s Fitness]