If you want to lose weight without feeling hungry, remember that not all calories are created equal and some foods will help to fill you up, while others stimulate your appetite to eat more. Here are 10 weight-loss friendly foods that will help you slim down.
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Eggs are amongst the best foods you can eat if you want to lose weight. Packed with protein and healthy fats, eggs fill you up – and all for around 72 calories per large egg. Research shows that obese women who ate eggs for breakfast, rather than a carb dense food like bagels, reported increases satiety and ate less the rest of the day. Eggs are also amazingly good for you, and can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie restricted diet. There's no need to restrict your intake as once suggested – you can eat an egg every day without it adversely affecting your cholesterol levels.
Kale is very low in calories and carbohydrates and packed with fibre to help fill you up. Kale and other greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard, are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One cup of chopped kale has 133% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, more than any other leafy green, and 134% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Kale is also a good source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that's essential for brain health, reduces Type 2 diabetes risk, and improves heart health. Not only that, kale is also a great source of calcium, which has been shown to aid fat burning in some studies.
Not keen on kale? Try eating cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, if you want to lose weight. As well as being high in water and fibre, vegetables like broccoli contain a reasonable amount of protein – yet are low in calories and fat. One cup of chopped, cooked broccoli contains just 54 calories, and is a good source of vitamin C, K, and A, as well as folate, some vitamin B-6 and potassium.
Tuna is packed with protein – the most filling nutrient by far - yet is low in calories and fat, as long as you opt for tuna canned in water rather than oil. Once drained, a can of tuna tinned in water contains 120 calories, 28g of protein, less than 1g of fat and practically zero carbs. Studies show that eating a high protein diet can boost metabolism by up to 100 calories a day, reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, and fill you up so that you eat around 400 fewer calories each day.
5. Lean chicken
Another good protein source, lean chicken is reasonably low in calories and fat – and a great way to fill you up. A 2013 study found that boosting dietary protein decreases total body fat and abdominal fat, and helps boost your body's energy expenditure. Fill your plate with grilled, lean chicken breast and broccoli, or have a big stir-fry with onions, peppers, mushrooms and carrots for a filling, low-calorie meal.
When it comes to losing weight, eating foods that are filling yet relatively low in calories is the best way to beat hunger. Beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils and kidney beans, are packed with fibre and protein – both of which keep you feeling full for longer. If you're diabetic or watching your sugar intake, chickpeas are a good choice as they have the lowest GI of all beans. Try adding them to wraps, casseroles, curries and soups. Research shows that eating food as a soup, rather than the same ingredients in solid form, helps weight loss as people feel more satiated and so eat fewer calories.
7. Cottage cheese
Most people skip cheese when they're trying to lose weight, but dairy products are high in protein and calcium – which can help you to lose the pounds. If you're watching your calories, opt for low-fat cottage cheese which offers lots of protein and very little carbohydrate and fat. If you don't like cottage cheese, opt for natural yoghurt. Another good source of protein and calcium, natural yoghurt contains probiotic bacteria that can improve the function of your gut, which has been linked to weight loss.
If you can't face eggs for breakfast, a bowl of porridge is a great way to start the day. Oats are packed with beta-glucans, soluble fibres that have been shown to increase satiety and improve metabolic health. Just make sure to buy plain oats without added flavourings. Packaged flavoured oatmeal often comes loaded with sugar, which adds calories without boosting the oats' nutritional value. Add a handful of blueberries or strawberries and some natural yoghurt for taste.
9. Blackberries and blueberries
If you have a sweet tooth, try some Greek-style natural yoghurt with a handful of blackberries or blueberries. The fruit is low in calories and high in fibre, giving them a low GI score. They're also a good source of anthocyanin antioxidants, which research shows can help to lower high blood sugar and improve blood lipid levels in those with diabetes.
10. Sweet potatoes
Potatoes are one of the most filling foods you can eat. Sweet potatoes are lower on the GI scale than regular spuds due to their higher fibre content. They also contain carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants and are thought to have a positive influence on insulin, and chlorogenic acid, which combats insulin resistance.