15 Foods to Help You Lose Weight
Almond Butter1 of 16
Adding this spread may lower bread's glycemic index (a measure of a food's effect on blood sugar). A study from the University of Toronto found that people who ate almonds with white bread didn't experience the same blood sugar surges as those who ate only the slice.
Eat More: Try it for a change from peanut butter in sandwiches, or make a veggie dip: Mix 1 tablespoon of almond butter with 2 tablespoons of fat-free plain yogurt. Or add a dollop to oatmeal for flavor and protein.
Apples2 of 16
An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay. People who chomped an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an "apple shape."
Eat More: Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pie-like treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of allspice and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
Avocado3 of 16
Don't let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you. Surprisingly, that's what makes it a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety. And it's a terrific summer party food.
Eat More: Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it's best to watch your portions.
Blueberries4 of 16
All berries are good for you, but those with a blue hue are among the best of the bunch. They have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup.
Eat More: Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with blueberries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt.
Buckwheat Pasta5 of 16
Swap plain noodles for this hearty variety; you'll slip into your skinny jeans in no time. Buckwheat is high in fiber and, unlike most carbs, contains protein. Those two nutrients make it very satiating, so it's harder to overeat buckwheat pasta than the regular stuff.
Eat More: Cook this pasta as you do rice: Simmer it, covered, over low heat. For a light meal, toss cooked buckwheat pasta with broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and onions. Or make buckwheat crepes using our tasty recipe.
Chiles6 of 16
One reason to spice up your meals: You'll crank up your metabolism. A compound in chiles called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chiles.
Eat More: Stuff chiles with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chile's heat, grill it until it's almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.
Goji Berries7 of 16
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein. Snack on them mid-afternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon.
Eat More: Mix 1/4 cup of the dried berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix. Or for dessert, pour 1/4 cup boiling water into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of dried berries; let sit 10 minutes. Drain, then spoon over 1/2 cup low fat vanilla frozen yogurt.
Kale8 of 16
Long sidelined as a lowly garnish, this green belongs center stage on your plate. One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium.
Eat More: Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans. Or slice kale into thin strips, saute it with vegetable broth and top with orange slices. Make it a meal by tossing the mix with quinoa.
Lentils9 of 16
Lentils are a bona fide belly flattener. Eating them helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.
Eat More: There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce for a heartier dish.
Parmesan10 of 16
Drop that rubbery low fat cheese and pick up the real stuff. Women who had one serving of whole milk or cheese daily were less likely to gain weight over time, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds.
Eat More: Grate parmesan over roasted vegetables. Or, snack on a 1-ounce portion with an apple or a pear.
Pomegranates11 of 16
The juice gets all the hype for being healthy, but pomegranate seeds deserve their own spotlight. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.
Eat More: Pop the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. Use them in salads instead of nuts. They're especially delicious on raw baby spinach with lemon and poppy seed dressing.
Quinoa12 of 16
Curbing hunger is as easy as piling your plate with this whole grain. It packs both fiber (2.6 grams per 1/2 cup) and protein, a stellar nutrient combo that can keep you satisfied for hours.
Eat More: Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries. For breakfast, cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tablespoon each of raisins and chopped walnuts.
Tarragon13 of 16
You can use this herb, a staple in French cooking, in place of salt in marinades and salad dressings. Plus, tarragon lends a sweet, licorice-like flavor to bland foods.
Eat More: Rub 2 tablespoons of dried tarragon on chicken before baking or grilling. Or make a tasty dip by mixing 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon into 4 ounces of low fat plain yogurt and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
Wild Salmon14 of 16
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity, which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon, as it may contain fewer pollutants.
Eat More: You don't need to do much to enhance salmon's taste. Simple is best. Season a fillet with salt and pepper, then cook it in a hot pan with 2 teaspoons of oil for 1 to 3 minutes on each side.
Yogurt15 of 16
Dietitians often refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbs, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady.
Eat More: Use lowfat plain yogurt in chicken or potato salad, or top a baked potato with a bit of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. You'll save 4.7 grams of fat per tablespoon. Look for Greek yogurt, which has more protein than other versions.