There is not a single food that has the power to melt away body fat, but there are plenty of nutritional options that can support weight loss efforts when included as part of a healthy diet. Including the following foods in your diet, each week is a simple way to get all the nutrients needed to keep you fuller for longer. In addition, these foods contain fiber or protein – or both – which can aid weight loss.
1. Chia Seeds
Fiber is essential for anyone looking to lose weight.
It’s satiating because it slows digestion and keeps us feeling fuller longer.
This is important when someone is in a calorie deficit, which is a common approach to weight loss.
Consuming a serving of chia seeds – which is roughly two tablespoons – satisfies a whopping 40 percent of daily fiber needs.
Add them to your breakfast – especially if you have a porridge to start the day – or make energy balls with them as a key ingredient.
2. Fatty fish
The NHS recommends eating at least two portions of fish a week – one of which should be oily fish.
In addition to supporting heart and brain health, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, sardines and tuna may help to reduce body fat.
Seafood is also high in protein which can help curb hunger, keeping someone fuller for longer.
READ MORE: Weight loss: 5 vegetables that could be sabotaging your diet
3. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are dark leafy vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and arugula.
The health benefits of these vegetables are fast.
They are also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them the perfect nonstarchy addition to any weight-loss plan.
When losing weight, many cut out starchy carbs like pasta, bread and rice.
But if choosing wholegrain alternatives can help reduce body fat.
In addition to vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and quinoa contain fiber to keep us feeling satisfied.
Plus, bodies and brains prefer energy from carbohydrates, so consuming these foods alongside protein and healthy fats can reduce cravings for refined carbs and sugar, which can sometimes sabotage weight-loss efforts.
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Fruits, like vegetables, are a smart addition to any healthy weight loss plan.
Apples are particularly good to have on hand throughout the week because they’re relatively cheap, keep for weeks in the fridge and make for super-portable snacks.
Apples are also high in water content and fiber – especially if you eat the skin – and they are low in calories and filling.
To add to this, suggests these factors play a role in helping people lose weight.
6. Fermented foods
Gut health is a hot topic right now and in addition to supporting immunity and good digestion, a healthy balance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract may help to promote fat burning.
Experts suggest including a few bites or sips of probiotic-rich foods most days.
You should also include prebiotic foods such as bananas, asparagus, legumes and onions in your diet as they provide fuel for our healthy gut “bugs”.
Good sources of probiotics include kefir and yoghurt (but be careful of the sugar content), sauerkraut, kombucha and tempeh.
Nuts are a great snack to be included in a weight loss plan – they’re satiating and satisfying thanks to their healthy fat, fiber and protein content.
The key is portion control, as a serving of nuts, (about a quarter of a cup) ranges between 160 and 200 calories.
Pistachios, however, are one of the lowest-calorie nuts available, coming in at just 160 calories per serving.
Eggs are a great breakfast option as they are high in protein.
They are cheap and extremely versatile so even if you choose to eat them every morning, they can be cooked a different way to ensure diet boredom is kept at bay.
Prep them too, and they are a great snack if you like a cold boiled egg.
Avocados are usually missing on most diet plans, and the reason for it is their fat content.
Their buttery texture adds richness to meals and snacks, and while they are higher in calories than other fruits and vegetables, research suggests avocado eaters—those who consume about half an avocado a day along with a healthy diet—have lower body weights and waist measurements .
If you want to include avocado in your diet, eat two to three portions a week max, and remember, a little goes a long way when you mash it up and spread it on toast, or chop it into small pieces for a salad.
10. Dark chocolate
Chocolate is another food that is usually banned on a diet, but dark chocolate is a great addition to ensure weight loss is sustainable.
Research shows that deprivation of certain foods or food groups can lead to intense cravings and may cause bingeing after avoiding the foods for a while.
Including foods you enjoy but initially perceive to be off-limits, like chocolate, may help you stick with a weight-loss plan.
Opt for chocolate with a 70 percent cacao content or higher, and only a couple of pieces a day to curb sugar cravings.