Eating to lose weight might seem like a contradiction in terms but certain food stuffs can actually help you slim down. It's a classic case of a little knowledge going a long way. So arm yourself with some crucial tips and you'll be in a great position to pick and choose the right foods for you. Here we reveal the foods to eat to lose weight.
There are a few rules to stick to when you're on a health kick which can keep you away from the obvious snacking pitfalls. Avoid sugar-laden, calorific snacks like chocolate bars and fried foods like crisps and chips. The latter are carb-heavy and the saturated fats won't do you any favours.
Of course, there's an obvious lack of nutritious low-fat food available when you're on the go and in supermarkets. So it's wise to plan ahead. Keep a stash of snacks on you or in your bag. Snacks like mixed nuts and raisins, which release their energy slowly, are great to fall back on. It also means you won't have to spend 20 minutes in the cornershop reading the back of every edible morsel claiming to be healthy weighing up the pros and cons of the nutritional information.
A staple for many of us ideal for the quick week-night supper, pasta is also great for maintaining muscle while losing weight. Pasta is a low-GI food ie it releases its energy very slowly and research has shown that these foods that prevent your blood sugar levels from yo-yoing are great at preventing the muscle loss usually associated with weight loss. For the simplest of suppers, roast halved tomatoes with thyme, olive oil and salt and pepper. Crush in the roasting pan and toss with cooked spaghetti. Cooking the tomatoes makes their anti-oxidant lycopene more potent.
Aside from the benefit the choline content in eggs does to your hair, they are also great for making you feel fuller for longer. Studies have showed that kicking off your day with eggs leads to an overall lessening of calorific daily intake. A boiled egg with soldiers or a poached egg on toast (with a low fat spread instead of butter) would be ideal try adding some vegetables in the form of blanched or griddled asparagus ideal for dunking in the yolk.
As well as working wonders for your digestion and circulation, the chilli also suppresses the appetite somewhat recent research has shown. (In fairness they fed the test subjects capsaicin, the 'heat' element in chillies, which might account for them being in so much pain they couldn't eat but who's counting?).
Chillies also have the added benefit of pepping-up an otherwise indifferent low-fat meal, but without the calories. Make a healthy Thai-style smoked fish salad by mixing flaked smoked mackerel with finely shredded cucumber, carrot and red onion, lots of red chilli, mint, coriander, fish sauce and lime juice. Serve with some low-GI sticky rice for the ultimate healthy, delicious meal.
These funky fruits are high in fibre. Docs recommend we eat between 25 and 35 grams of fibre every day. High fibre foods keep you feeling fuller for longer and thus your ability to lose weight is increased. Figs work in both sweet and savoury dishes try a salad made with mixed leaves, smoked duck breast and quatered figs. Mix up a dressing with balsamic vinegar, orange juice and a splash of olive oil.
Surf and turf
A double whammy of protein a day is essential for weight loss. Leucine, an amino acid found in poultry, fish and meat, is key for building lean muscle mass and keeping the hormones that regulate your appetite in check, helping you work off those killer calories. Get two doses of protein in one hit grill yourself a steak and some prawns at the same time. Serve with a home-made coleslaw on the side made with cider vinegar and olive oil instead of regular mayonnaise.
It might seem a bit odd to be suggesting eating bread given all the hoo-haa about low carb and no carb diets but tucking into bread packed with oats, seeds and high in fibre as opposed to a loaf of white sliced can help you keep weight off. Studies in the US showed that people who took in two serving daily of grains were nearly 50% less likely to be overweight. These carbs actually burn extra calories during digestion.
The little guys contain a fatty acid called CLA and unfortunately for them (fortunately for us) research has shown that when given a concentrated dose of CLA for six months, the lamby subjects noted a 4% reduction in body fat. Lamb is great for a quick post work dinner rub some lean chops with a paste made from green chillies, mint and garlic and grill for a couple of minutes on each side. Serve with flatbreads and a Greek salad, packed with olives and feta which contains leucine (like red meat).
The key to eating yourself slim is understanding which foods can actually do you good, and opting for them more often. Read our other features about the role of diet and lifestyle.