Ceviche is a wonderful lean protein source found on many Mexican menus throughout the summer months, and it’s easy to make at home, says Sharon Richter, a registered dietitian in New York City. Depending on what type of fish is used, ceviche can range between 120-175 calories per serving. (And word has it that Lady Gaga fuels up on ceviche while on tour).
Cheese isn’t traditionally thought of as something you consume to encourage weight management, but calcium-rich Parmesan, when eaten in moderation, can help stave off sugar cravings that can easily lead to weight gain. How does that work, you ask? The native Italian cheese contains the amino acid tyrosine (a building block of protein) which has been shown to encourage the brain to release dopamine without any unhealthy insulin spikes. What’s more? The combination of calcium and protein found in dairy products such as Parmesan has been found to increase thermogenesis—the body’s core temperature—and thus boost your metabolism.
As long as this popular crunchy treat isn't doused in movie-theater butter, it makes an excellent weight-loss snack. Not only is popcorn high in fiber, it even delivers some protein. A 1-ounce serving of air-popped corn (about 3½ cups) has 4 grams of fiber, almost 4 grams of protein and clocks in at 110 calories. This combination makes it a snack with staying power. Popcorn is filled with air, so you get a pretty large portion without a lot of calories. You can eat 3 whole cups of popcorn for only 100 calories.
Spice up your favorite foods with a few dashes of hot cayenne pepper sauce. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, an appetite suppressant; a study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories at the next meal. Not only will this help you cut back on calories and boost weight loss, but researchers have also found that capsaicin can help you lose belly fat and lose weight fast.
Make tea brewing (and drinking) easy. One hurdle some people face is that brewing tea, while not an incredibly arduous process, may not be as easy as they’d like it to be. While you can brew a quick cup of tea in the microwave (pour water into a ceramic cup and heat for two minutes until boiling, then add your teabag), you can make the process even easier:
But fear not, you are not destined to a steady diet of carrot sticks and bird food. In fact, a wide assortment of the right “thin” foods can help you lose weight. The key things to look for: Foods with high water content, high-fiber foods, and calcium. All of these will help you feel full longer and thus eat fewer calories in the long run. Sorry, until Godiva starts filling their truffles with water instead of chocolate cream, they don’t make the list. But lots of other luscious foods do.
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing every part of your lifestyle at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. Decide on making just one healthy change a week to allow yourself time to adapt. Whether it’s cooking your own meals four nights a week, adding just 20 minutes of fitness to your routine a day or swapping out that sugary coffee for green tea, all these changes will add up.
Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, meaning you should consider adding sweet potatoes to your diet. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories.
Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale, Dr. Setlzer says. While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives like unsweetened coffee and tea.
When it comes to condiments, mustard is about as healthy and low cal as it gets, and the pungent yellow stuff that contains about 5 calories per teaspoon has also been found to stimulate weight loss. Scientists at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute found that eating just one teaspoon of mustard can boost the metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours after it’s been consumed. Researchers attribute this to capsaicin and allyl isothiocyanates, phytochemicals that give the mustard its characteristic flavor. So instead of reaching for the sickeningly sweet ketchup, make sure you have mustard on hand at your next BBQ.
This study affirms, as many have before, that we can in fact cut calories and, at the same time, eat till we’re full and satisfied when we reduce the calorie density of the foods we eat. The research found that all three strategies to reduce calorie density led to a spontaneous reduction in ad libitum calorie intake, but the reductions in calorie intake were significantly greater with fat reduction.
No, I’m not talking about fast food … in fact, please cut out ANY fast food, which relies on terrible ingredients and excessive sodium, from your diet. But simply speaking, there are going to be times that you are in a situation where you are in a position to eat something that is usually “off-the-menu” for healthy eating. So, instead of binging on these foods, keep your goals in mind and nibble on smaller amounts.