You know the feeling: You’re committed to losing weight and eating healthier, but you’re just so hungry all the time! Argh! Why can’t you lose weight without feeling like a crazy person, constantly ‘hangry’ and perpetually fantasizing about “forbidden” foods? Answer: You can. One of the keys to successful weight loss is to fuel your body with foods that not only support your slim-down efforts, but also help you feel satisfied, thus preventing the kind of wanton binging that can sabotage your goals. Here are six that can do exactly that.
Protein: A recent study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University found that eating protein increases satiety in the short term, helping you lose weight in the long term. Since it takes your body longer to break down protein and convert it into energy than it does, say, simple carbs, eating protein can help you feel fuller longer, making you less likely to snack on junk later on. Your goal: Have high-quality protein at every meal — egg whites with breakfast, Shakeology as a snack, and 4 to 6 ounces of your favorite animal or plant protein for lunch and dinner, for example.
Hemp Seeds: In general, seeds are excellent sources of nutrition, containing plenty of fiber, healthy fats, and amino acids. But hemp seeds are one of the few plant-based food sources that contain all nine essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. They’re also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Like fiber and protein, fatty acids can help increase feelings of fullness, making it easier to lose weight and keep it off, according to a study in the journal Appetite. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons on a salad, or toss them into your morning smoothie to give it a little more staying power.
Grapefruit: Eating half a grapefruit or drinking 8 ounces of fresh grapefruit juice three times a day can boost weight-loss efforts significantly, according to researchers at the Scripps Clinic, in California. In their 12-week study, participants lost an average 4 pounds. A separate study at The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health in England suggests a possible explanation: Grapefruit is a potent source of pectin, a soluble fiber that can help slow digestion and suppress appetite, leaving you feeling fuller longer, and reducing fat storage in the body. But you’ll only find pectin in the pulp, so drink it pulpy. Better still, eat the whole darn fruit!
Eggs: Considered a “perfect” protein by many, eggs contain all essential and non-essential amino acids. And they’re perfect for weight loss. A study from the Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana found that eating eggs at breakfast helped people feel less hungry while also stabilizing their blood sugar levels and helping them eat fewer calories throughout the day. Need some recipe ideas?
Nuts: Since many nuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to provide several health benefits related to metabolism, immune function, and inflammation, these nutrition powerhouses are ideal when trying to lose weight, eat healthy, and curb hunger. Plus, they’re loaded with protein and fiber, making them a great go-to snack. Just be sure to eat them in moderation. Nuts are calorically dense, so a little goes a long way. Indeed, a handful is all it takes to reap all of the nutrition and weight loss benefits.
Broth-based Soup: The high water content will fill you up for a minimal caloric cost, according to a report by the CDC. That’s a win-win for weight loss. And if you make your own, you’ll be able to control both the ingredients and the sodium content — absolute musts for healthy eating.