Anyone who’s tried (and failed) to lose weight knows that it’s not just about how much you eat—the quality of your food also affects whether or not you reach your goal. We’ve all hear about “fat-burning foods,” good fats, and other such terms, but which of them will really help you? To get you started, here are some healthy foods to lose weight that have been proven effective over the years.
Raisin bran: A popular mix for energy bars, raisin bran can be an excellent breakfast or midafternoon snack. It’s filling, flavorful, and obviously a step up from candy bars. Just make sure to watch the labels: many brands are laden with sugar, sodium, or both, which defeats the purpose. If you have time, make a homemade version using cereal, raisins, and nonfat milk.
Protein shakes and smoothies: Protein shakes work well for those who are trying to build muscle mass as well as shed a few pounds. They fill you up nicely and the right mix contains a good dose of vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are a great way to introduce more fruit into your diet and satisfy those sweet cravings. Blueberries and bananas come highly recommended.
Bagels and jam: A whole-wheat bagel has around 300 calories, but spreading it with cream cheese as most coffee shops do brings the calorie count close to 600. Instead, use natural jam: it’s got less fat, more vitamins, and is more filling in the long run. For a light lunch, add some lean ham and mustard, lettuce, and perhaps a slice of low-fat cheese.
Soups: The high liquid content of soup makes it very filling for a small serving, not to mention a great way to warm up in the winter months. Avoid cream-based soups; instead, go for light, chunky ones with lots of vegetables. Most restaurant soups are packed with salt, so make sure to ask for a low-salt variety. Better yet, make your own—a little chicken broth and chopped vegetables can go a long way.
Fruit: This goes without saying. Fresh, dried, or frozen, fruits are an excellent all-day snack and a great alternative for those with a sweet tooth. Always have some on stock at home for when your energy levels need a boost, and a pack of dried fruit for munching at work. Try to have at least one for breakfast—it’ll give you that much-needed push on lazy Mondays!