Most individuals have a good idea what they need to do to lose weight, but have difficulty identifying which foods to eat and when to eat them. Certain foods can provide different nutritional and weight loss benefits, and knowing when to eat these foods can help boost your weight loss progress. But beware: choosing pre-packaged food items that are advertised as “low-calorie” or “fat-free” can leaving you feeling unsatisfied throughout the day, leading to unnecessary late-night noshing. Including real, whole, fresh foods into your daily routine can not only help you shed belly-fat, but also make the journey feel less like dieting and more like living well. After all, losing weight shouldn’t involve starving.
Incorporating these 10 foods for weight loss at specific times of the day can help boost your weight loss efforts.
Sprouted Grain Bread
The difference between sprouted grain bread and regular whole wheat bread is seen in the nutritional content. Sprouted grain bread contains less carbohydrates, which is beneficial for those trying a reduced-carb approach to their weight loss. It is also higher in protein which can help keep you feeling more satisfied after breakfast, and the increased nutritional content helps your body digest it better.
Despite previous studies warning against the consumption of whole eggs, new research shows that the choline found in eggs can help in weight loss. Choline helps speed up lipolysis, meaning it increases your body’s ability to burn off fat. Our typical American diet usually only provides about 300 mg of choline a day, which is below the recommended 425mg for women and 550mg for men. One egg contains over 100mg of choline, and since it’s only between 75-80 calories, it’s one of the highest sources of choline without going over your daily calorie budget. When shopping for eggs, make sure you buy organic or hen-friendly eggs to make sure you’re also helping out the planet while whittling your waist-line.
This tiny seed is in fact a nutritional powerhouse. Its weight loss benefits lies in its fiber content. 1 tablespoon of chia seeds packs 10g of dietary fiber which helps regulate your digestion and swells upon hitting your stomach, making you feel fuller on fewer calories. Plus, the omega-3 content of chia seeds helps fight depression, making you less likely to eat when stressed.
Dragonfruit is a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the extra calories. One cup of this fun cactus-looking fruit contains only 80 calories and is full of B vitamins that help with carbohydrate metabolism. It is also full of fiber, a key nutrient involved satiety.
Want to avoid late afternoon bloating? Include chayote in your lunch. Chayote is high in potassium which helps remove the excess water from your body through increased urination. Low in calories and high in fiber, this versatile vegetable can be thrown in a salad or tossed in a stir-fry. Never tried chayote before? It has a taste that has been described between an apple and a cucumber, and has a light and crisp texture.
Move over tofu! Tempeh is an amazing way to get out of your grilled-chicken rut and add low-cholesterol protein to your lunch. Made of fermented soybeans, it contains enzymes that help pre-digest carbs, protein, and fat, making its nutrients more readily absorbed by your body.
Hummus + Sliced Bell Peppers
Hummus has become a common item in grocery stores and you can find it served as a dip at most parties. But did you know what those who eat hummus have waistlines that are 8 percent smaller than those who don’t? A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences found that the slow-digesting carbohydrates, high fiber content, and belly-filling protein not only make hummus the perfect snack, but also makes you 53 percent less likely to be obese. Pairing hummus with bell peppers adds a crunchy, flavorful taste without the added calories, fat, or cholesterol.
For those looking to eat less carbohydrates at night, spaghetti squash could be the answer to your pasta cravings. Compared to a cup of cooked pasta (which clocks in at around 220 calories), one cup of spaghetti squash is only about 42 calories and contains belly-filling fiber and potassium, which can help beat the belly bloat. It’s the perfect substitution for noodles that your entire family can enjoy!
The weight loss benefits of tart cherry juice lie not in its ability to burn fat, but in its ability to help you get more sleep. A recent study published in Experimental Biology showed that drinking tart cherry juice can help you get up to 90 more minutes of restful sleep per night. Sleep is an important tool in weight loss, as when you don’t get enough, your brain’s reward center is boosted, causing you to give in to food cravings. In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that late-night, high-carbohydrate snacking increases in those who do not get enough sleep, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
Before Any Meal
A recent study published in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition found that eating tomatoes before a meal can help you feel fuller, faster. Because of their moisture content and low calorie content, they are a great way to help you feel more satisfied after every meal. Plus, the flavonoids, phenolic compounds, and vitamins that are present in tomatoes have also been found to help regulate your hunger hormones and give a slight metabolism boost.