But New York nutritionist Rachel Stahl and Danielle Starin, director of nutrition at Nutritionix, the world’s biggest online nutrition database, have narrowed down options they are adamant are irrefutably good for you.
Put their seven best weight-loss foods below in the pantry and Rachel and Danielle are confident those extra kilos will melt away.
- Plain Greek yoghurt
The calcium-filled favorite is a stellar breakfast food, but never forget that it can be used in lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack recipes. “Greek yogurt is great not only as a breakfast food topped with some fruit, but it really shines as a weight loss superfood when used as a substitute,” Danielle says. “Try it instead of sour cream, mayo, or even as a fruit dip.”
- Sparkling water
Are you hungry or just dehydrated? That’s the ultimate question. “Sparkling water is great for weight loss because not only is it an alternative to sugary sodas, but it also hydrates you,” Rachel notes.
“Sometimes thirst can be misread as hunger, [but] staying hydrated can help you to recognise the difference.”
Everyone needs to have a quick snack on hand, and nuts are ideal for those trying to slim down, says Danielle. “Nuts are a powerhouse for the three super-nutrients important for holding off hunger: protein, fiber, and good fats. Keep your serving to around one ounce, though, because too much of a good thing, even good fats, can lead to weight gain.”
When it comes to the nutty varieties, one specific type wins most nutritionists’ approval: “While almonds are high in calories, they can fit well into a healthy eating plan,” Rachel adds. Almonds help keep blood sugar steady and contain components that may help suppress hunger hormones and burn belly fat. They are also a good source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber, a nutritious trifecta to keep you satiated for longer.
- Whole Wheat Pasta
Start to mix and match with your pasta options, and see how quickly the changes happen. “Whole wheat pasta is loaded with fiber that promotes fullness and reduces hunger,” Starin says. “It’s also great to keep in the house because it can be tossed with some pasta sauce for a healthy meal in less time than it takes for pizza delivery.”
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses (aka dry beans and lentils), which means it’s officially time to fully incorporate these powerhouses into our daily weight loss plan. These affordable and nutritious foods are a great source of protein and pack a big fibre punch, says Danielle. They will keep you feeling full longer and are a great base for incorporating veggies.
Your favorite low-calorie vegetable strikes again. “Cucumbers are packed with water and are one of the lowest-calorie veggies,” says Daneille. “The water content keeps you hydrated, and the crunch keeps you interested.” Cucumber slices can sub in for tortilla chips when dipped in salsa and can add a low-calorie crunch to sandwiches and salads.
- Lean poultry
Whether it’s before a workout or after, protein is a must-have in any diet. “Protein is the darling of nutrients for weight loss, and lean poultry is a great source,” Danielle adds. “Swap out ground beef for lean ground turkey and choose skinless chicken over skin-on. This will cut down on calories and fat but will still give you the satiety from the protein content.”