A calorie is a calorie—except when you’re trying to lose weight. The foods you choose to eat can make or break a diet. Lucky for you, nutrition research now shows that some foods can help you whittle your middle by keeping you full longer and raising your body’s metabolism so you burn more calories. Get your skinny jeans ready: These five foods will make you feel fuller without the added bulk.
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Red raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are fiber-rich fruits with just 50 calories per cup. They’re also among the most antioxidant-rich foods you can eat. Preliminary research shows that berries may contain certain flavonoids that increase production of adiponectin, a hormone that stimulates fat burning. In addition, eating strawberries with meals has been shown to help stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels and decrease markers of inflammation and LDL cholesterol. Top cereal or yogurt with berries, or try them in this zesty, minty treat.
To combat cravings and control hunger all day, a protein-rich breakfast of eggs is key. A large egg provides 6 grams of protein and just 70 calories. If you’re really looking to cut back, an egg white has just 30 calories and 3.5 grams of protein and no fat.
New research found that dieters who eat more protein earlier in the day lost more weight, were less hungry, and were more satisfied with their diet. In another study, dieters who ate an egg breakfast instead of a bagel meal lost 65% more weight and belly fat. Try loading morning eggs with veggies like in the recipe below.
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Nonfat plain Greek yogurt is one of the most diet-friendly foods you can eat. Greek yogurt has twice as much satisfying protein and half the sugar of regular yogurt. One study reported that when dieters upped their protein by 15%, they ate up to 441 less calories per day. Another study found that dieters who included 24 ounces of fat free yogurt daily shed 81% more belly fat. Try your hand at creating your own toppings for Greek yogurt or try the recipe below.
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Green and Oolong Tea
Coffee is known to boost your metabolism but tea offers a double-whammy; the caffeine and unique catechins in tea help to rev up your metabolism and boost fat burning. Research shows that drinking tea will provide a slight boost to your metabolic rate and increase fat burning more effectively than if you had caffeine alone. Since tea is calorie-free and antioxidant-rich, choosing it instead of other sugary beverages will provide an extra diet advantage. For the best results, drink plain green or oolong tea several times a day. Green tea is great iced or hot, and with fresh herbs, like the minty recipe below.
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In-shell pistachios are a good low-cal source of protein, with a filling 6 grams of protein per ounce and only 100 calories per 30-nut serving. Researchers at Eastern Illinois University reported that eating in-shell pistachios resulted in eating 41% less calories compared to those who ate shelled nuts. The logic is that the nuts’ shell helps to trick the brain into thinking that you’ve eaten more than you actually have. For a super satisfying snack that won’t weigh you down, keep a bag of these unshelled nuts handy.