1. FRESH/FROZEN BERRIES
Berries Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, Goji berries – the list goes on. With almost nil carbohydrates and calories, grab a handful as a quick snack, add them to low-fat yogurt, desserts, salads or blend them up in a smoothie. Out of season? Look for the frozen variety.
Go for the plain, unsweetened variety. ‘Quick-oats’ and steel-cut are great choices. Make yourself a bowl in the morning, add some chopped nuts, strawberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg and you’ve got a waistline-friendly breakfast in under 5 minutes. You can also add oats to smoothies for extra energy and to keep hunger under control.
4. CITRUS FRUITS
Lemons, oranges and limesOranges, limes, lemons, grapefruits, kiwi fruits and tangerines are some of the best picks. The high acidity in these fruits slows down the digestion of whatever you eat them with, keeping you fuller for longer. Add to salad dressings, use in meat or seafood marinades, or squeeze into a glass of water to have with dinner. You can also use oranges, grapefruits and kiwi’s for healthy snack/breakfast options. Grapefruits with a small sprinkle of sugar – delicious!
5. SWEET POTATO
Sweet potatoes are bursting with flavor, so you don’t need as much of the toppings, like butter, sour cream, coleslaw or baked beans, that you might with a regular, white potato. The result? You cutback on calories without sacrificing the flavor. Plus they help you stay full, thinks to their high fiber content.
avocadoIf you want to lose fat, don’t eat it, right? Wrong. With it’s high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, the avocado is more ‘fat’ than fruit which makes it a perfect dietary staple for weight loss. Eating quarter or half an avocado can quell hunger pangs, help you feel more satisfied and even help spot-reduce belly fat, too.
Almost always in season, avocados make great substitutes for cheese and butter. Add to breads and wholegrain rye crackers before adding lean meats, tinned fish and cucumber slices for a quick and easy snack. They’re also perfect additions to salads or equally delicious eaten raw.
The active ingredient in cinnamon makes fat cells significantly more responsive to insulin, upping your metabolism by 20 percent. It can also help stabilize blood-sugar levels. Add to smoothies, yogurt, sprinkle on oatmeal or stir into your coffee for added sweetness without the calories.
Box of eggsAccording to research, there’s no better way to start the day than with eggs. Thanks to their high-quality protein, eggs help you stay full for longer compared to other refined breakfast options like bagels. They’re also a fast and inexpensive dinner option. Omelet, frittata’s or a vegetable sandwich topped with hard-boiled egg slices are all great options.
A mere half teaspoon boosts your calorie burn by 20-25% almost instantly, according to scientists at Oxford Brooke’s University. So order that fillet steak guilt-free – just swap the Bearnaise sauce and chips for mustard.
12. PROTEIN POWDER
Protein powder supplementThis supplement, which you can pick up online or at your local health food store, is a cheap, easy and effective way to boost your protein intake. There are two types: ‘Isolate’ and ‘concentrate’. See which is right for you below.
‘Concentrate’ provides a more complete protein with a slightly higher carbohydrate content (around 5%) which is great for every day use, while isolate is more rapidly absorbed which makes it great to take straight after exercise. Add the powder to smoothies with fruit and ice – yum!
Research has found this flavorsome root contains acids that stimulate gastric enzymes that can boost your metabolism by 20%. Ginger has also been found to lower cholesterol and thin your blood.
15. LEAN RED MEAT
Red meat – beef, pork, bacon, ham, lamb, rabbitBeef, lamb and pork and kangaroo are the best. Buy the leanest cuts and trim visible fat. Red meat is also an excellent source of iron, essential fatty acids, folate and B12. Don’t overcook red meat to keep amino acids (protein) intact. Keep leftovers in the fridge and use for sandwiches or add with salad for a quick and easy meal.
16. CAYENNE PEPPER
Scientists have found that cayenne pepper increases the rate at which you metabolize dietary fats by 15-20 percent for three hours after eating. Plus, it lowers your appetite between meals. Hot stuff!
Bag of popcornA great weight loss snack, but most supermarket bags are loaded with calories, preservatives, sodium and even trans fats. So make your own instead. Add 1/4 of popcorn kernels to a microwavable bag, along with a few teaspoons of olive oil and your favorite herbs & spices (chili/curry powder, thyme, rosemary & oregano all work well). Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.
19. COTTAGE CHEESE
Just make sure you go for the low-fat variety. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of naturally occurring high-quality protein and is ideal for spreading on rye crackers with salad and lean meats.
21. CHICKEN & TURKEY
Poultry – chicken, turkeyBoth chock-full of fat-fighting protein, these staples make great additions to any rice, pasta or salad dish. To slim down fast, switch wings and drumsticks and opt for leaner breast meat. To save extra calories, be sure to remove the skin – it contains high levels of saturated fat. Keep the meat moist and spicy by marinating it in olive oil, chili, lemon grass and ginger before grilling.
22. FRESH FISH
Salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel are your best choices when you’re yearning for a fatty meal like fish and chips – just leave out the chips. Because these are all types ‘fatty’ fish, it will scratch that itch while topping up your body with omega-3’s. Enjoy them once or twice a week with vegetables or salad for lunch or dinner. Use the tinned varieties for healthy sandwiches and wholemeal wraps.
TomatosSweet and delicious! Tomatoes are great way to give quantity to a meal so you feel full and satisfied afterwards. They’re fat free and full of vitamins and antioxidant’s, so pile them on for a hearty pasta, curry or salad. Having a bowl of cherry tomatoes on hand around the house is a great idea when you’re feeling peckish.
25. BEANS, PEAS & LEGUMES
Peas, beans and legumes are full of protein and fiber, which will either fill you up or give you wind – or both – depending on your constitution. Combine them with brown rice, barley, wheat and corn and add them to lasagna, casseroles, soups, salads or mash the up as a dip for extra protein and added nutrients, minus the fat.
WatermelonNothing beats a sweet and succulent piece of watermelon on a hot day. The best part is that they’re virtually calorie-free, with each slice containing 70% water. Plus, they’re loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients.
OK, it’s technically a food but getting enough H20 every day aids in digestion and can boost your metabolism by up to 30%. Keeping it cold – below 5 degrees – optimizes this effect, as your body burns extra energy warming it up before it can be absorbed. Keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink preemptively to stay topped up.
Whole-grain complex carbohydrate sources – cereal, bread, pasta and riceQuinoa, barley, buckwheat, brown rice and wholemeal pasta, bread and cereal are nutritional all-stars. Like protein, whole grains force your body to work hard during the breakdown process, which can burn up to twice as many calories compared to their processed ‘refined’ counterparts. For a quick and healthy meal, add in some lean protein sources, nuts and vegetables.
It are fantastic for weight loss. Plus, they’re great for lowering cholesterol when eaten in moderation. Keep a small bowl in the kitchen or living room and grab a handful when you’re feeling peckish between meals. Almonds, Brazil nuts, Cashews, Macadamia nuts, Pecans and Walnuts are the best picks.
33. MILK, GREEK YOGURT & CHEESE
Low fat dairy sources – yoghurt, cheese and milkWhen picking these up at the supermarket, go for the fat-free or low-fat options. You’ll get all of the protein and calcium + Vitamin D, with less kilojoules. Not only have these foods been shown to assist in losing abdominal fat, they help to preserve and build lean muscle mass—essential for keeping your fat-burning metabolism firing on all cylinders.
34. FRESH VEGGIES
As far as healthy snacking for weight loss goes, you simply can’t beat the benefits of raw vegetables. With virtually zero calories – thanks largely to their high water content – a few carrot sticks can satisfy your desire to crunch without ruining your waistline.
Celery, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, spinach, kale, carrots and bell peppers are all great choices. If you find them a little bland on their own, whip up your own low-calorie dip! Salsa, hummus or guacamole anyone?
36. APPLES & PEARS
Thanks again to their high fiber and water content, these are two of the best fruits for weight loss. Stick to the ‘whole fruit’ options and don’t be tempted by the dried varieties – they are more nutritionally dense and don’t provide the same visual appeal of satiety. To bump up your protein, add a smearing of natural peanut butter to your apple slices.