If you want to lose weight stop thinking about what to cut out of your diet, and instead focus on eating more of the good stuff. Eat more of the following seven foods and you won't have room (or cravings) for fattening treats.
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1. Green veg
If you want to cut calories without going hungry, try replacing half of your normal portions with green vegetables. A single cup of chopped kale has just 33 calories and exceeds your entire percent daily value of vitamin A, C, and K. It's also surprisingly filling. Not keen on kale? Try broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, celery or courgettes (spiralize them to make noodles or pasta) and enjoy with your normal sauce or topping.
Researchers gave two groups the same number of calories to eat for breakfast. The group that ate eggs lost 65% more weight and 16% more body fat over the eight-week study period than those who ate bagels, according to a study published in International Journal of Obesity.
Chockful of protein, eggs contain as many cancer-fighting antioxidants as an apple and contain a host of essential vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, folate, choline, selenium, and vitamin D. And all of that filling goodness is packed into just 80 calories.
High in protein and soluble fibre, lentils are one of the most satisfying foods, yet reasonably low in calories. According to a study published by the Smart Foods Centre, School of Health Science, adding lentils to your diet can help to prevent weight gain. Add them to your favourite dishes, from casseroles and curries to soups and wraps. You don't have to soak them overnight – buy them ready-to-go in tins. If you get bored of lentils, try chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed peas, and red kidney beans.
Studies show that upping your protein intake to 25-30% of calories can reduce cravings by 60%, reduce desire for late-night snacking by half, and help you shed a pound a week. Tuna is a great high protein food that's low in calories and fat. If you want to cut calories, buy it tinned in water, not oil. Enjoy tuna with boiled eggs in a niçoise salad (make sure the dressing is low fat!) for the ultimate healthy lunch.
Like tuna, chicken is another lean source of protein, which makes it popular with bodybuilders. Enjoy it with a stir-fry, salad or with a few new potatoes and vegetables. You could even keep a few grilled chicken strips in the fridge for a healthy, protein-rich snack.
6. Greek yoghurt
Greek-style yoghurt contains fewer grams of sugar and almost double the amount of protein as standard yoghurt, so keeping you fuller for longer. Researchers from Harvard University studied the diets of 120,000 people for 20 years and found those who ate yogurt did better at keeping the weight off. Not only that, it contains bone-building calcium and probiotics, which may help to boost immunity and improve gut health. Top with blueberries or raspberries for a healthy sweet treat.
Yoghurt and berries not enough to satisfy your sweet tooth? Watermelon is low in calories (two cups contain less than 100 calories) and nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C. Try it grilled for a tasty, guilt-free dessert.
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