Did you know it's not just how much you eat or what you eat that helps you lose weight but also what foods you eat together? Nutrients work in collaboration and need each other to do their jobs. For example, vitamin C is needed for your body to better absorb iron from your food. Pairing certain foods has been shown to not only aid in absorption of vitamins and minerals but in burning fat, curbing your appetite, and helping you eat less overall.
When it comes to proteins, carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and fats, here are a few rules and examples to follow for health and weight-loss success.
People who fill up on eggs for breakfast tend to eat fewer calories the rest of the day than those who eat a high-carb breakfast of cereal, a bagel, or a pastry. Include foods like black beans and peppers in your omelet and you'll have an even more filling breakfast. The protein in eggs and the fiber in beans and peppers fill you up and keep you humming until lunch.
A salad for lunch may look like the healthy choice, but you'll be craving a snack by early afternoon if there’s nothing but lettuce inside. Make sure your leafy greens have staying power by combining them with healthy fats. Drizzle on an olive oil-based dressing, include avocado in your salad, and top it all with a few nuts or seeds. Monounsaturated fats aren't just good for your heart, they help curb hunger as well.
What better way to pair vegetables and beans than in a pot of soup? Black, navy, or chickpeas work well with carrots, tomatoes, and spinach. The options are endless. Both the vegetables and the beans are high in fiber and the beans provide a needed dose of protein. Because of their nutritional value, high fiber, and protein content, beans are a valuable weapon in the battle against weight loss.
How about a lean chicken breast prepared with cayenne pepper for supper tonight? Chicken is a great source of protein, plus it's low in calories. Because protein takes longer to digest, it keeps you feeling fuller for longer so you won't crave as many snacks. The hot spice of cayenne pepper is known to increase calorie burn and curb your appetite.
Have trouble finding snacks that are both healthy and filling? Try apple slices with nuts. The apple provides the fiber and the nuts supply the protein and healthy fats for staying power. Pistachios are a great option because they're low in calories as far as nuts go, but there are plenty of other nuts to choose from. Try walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter, or almond spread.
Need another breakfast option that promotes healthy weight loss? Try a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh or dried fruit. Oatmeal's high in both soluble and insoluble fiber to slow digestion and control hunger. A few blueberries, raspberries, or strawberries sprinkled on top will add natural sweetness, more fiber, and powerful nutrients called polyphenols that help prevent fat from forming.
Sticking to a diet plan that avoids all sweets and treats is a failure waiting to happen. When you finally give in to your cravings, you'll likely overdo it. Allow yourself a small indulgence each day with dark chocolate. Low in sugar and high in healthy fats, dark chocolate is known to be good for your heart and brain. Combine it with a few almonds to help balance your blood sugar levels.