Sure, you want to lose weight, but you still have to eat. Far too many diets fail because the dieter is too restrictive with their calorie intake, resulting in a binge later on. Experts recommend cutting around 500 calories from your daily diet or burning the same number through exercise to lose a healthy single pound per week. By keeping realistic expectations, you will be more likely to stick to a diet long term.
Adding these foods into your daily diet will go a long way towards reaching your goals.
1. Hard-boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be a dieter’s best friend. They’re easy to prepare in advance, can be packed along anywhere in a plastic bag or Tupperware, and are low in calories. One large hard-boiled egg has an estimated 78 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fat. The high protein and healthy fat content also keep you full longer than snacks with a similar number of calories. Eggs are also rich in vitamins B12 and E, folic acid, iron, and zinc.
2. Leafy greens
If you know much about dieting, you might have guessed that leafy greens would make the list. A giant salad made with kale, spinach, and chard is a great diet meal. These greens are low in calories and carbohydrates, but loaded with fiber. A giant, leafy green based salad makes you feel like you’re indulging in a large meal without overloading your body with extra calories. Studies have found that low energy density foods like leafy greens help dieters eat fewer calories. In addition to filling you up, leafy greens are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Black beans
It’s easy to incorporate black beans into your daily diet. Like tacos? Make them bean-based rather than using hamburger or pork. Beans are great on salads or mixed with quinoa and steamed veggies. Not only are they easy to use and find, but one cup of black beans contains an impressive 15 grams of protein without any of the saturated fat you’d get from other protein sources, like red meat.
Soup is one of those water-based foods that fills you up without contributing a worrisome number of calories to your day. Since most broth-based soups are low in calories you can eat more, which will make you feel as though your meal is more substantial. Research published in the journal Appetite reported that people who started their meal with a vegetable based soup ate 20% fewer calories over the course of their meal. A low-sodium, veggie-packed can of soup makes for an easy lunch or the base of a great last-minute dinner.
If you’re on a diet, put apples at the top of your shopping list. They’re a great thing to eat first thing in the morning as they have carbohydrate-based energy that can get you up and moving quickly with an effect similar to coffee. They’re also an easy-to-tote snack that will help you resist the temptation of the office candy bowl or vending machine when the mid-afternoon munchies hit.
One of the main reasons people skip breakfast is because they just don’t have time to make an egg breakfast or sit down for a bowl of cereal. One of the easiest grab-and-go breakfast options is oats. You can buy them in instant packet form or dole them out in single-serving containers to bring to work. All you’ll need is hot water and your favorite toppings.
If there’s no hot water at the office, make a big batch of steel cut oats for the week and pack them along to work with you. Throw on some dried fruit, nuts, or banana and you’ve got a no excuse breakfast. Oats are rich in fiber, which will keep you full until lunch. Just a half a cup has 4.6 grams of resistant starch, a healthy carb that boosts your metabolism and burns fat.
Sometimes potatoes get a bad rap, and while they won’t win any health awards in French fry form, boiled potatoes are a great food for weight loss. On the satiety index, a system to measure how filling foods are, boiled potatoes came in at the top. Eating potatoes will make you feel full and can help you eat less of other foods. They are high in potassium and after being boiled and cooled, they have a large amount of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that has several health benefits, including weight loss.
Remember: Make the most of your calories
The most important thing to remember is that not all calories are created equal. For example, there are 250 calories in an avocado and about 220 calories in a glazed donut — but while the donut is full of sugar and carbs, the avocado will fuel your body with dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, and good fats that will keep you fuller longer.
Keeping track of your calories is definitely important, but choosing the right foods and making the most of your calories is the best thing you can do for weight loss.
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