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Five Foods that Fuel Weight Loss

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By Beth Sumrell Ehrensberger, R.D., M.P.H., Best Life nutritionist

With spring just weeks away, the idea of stocking up on wholesome, light foods feels like the perfect way to start the season off right. After all, the warmer weather means no more hiding under big, baggy coats and sweaters! Happily, making adjustments to the way you eat is more doable than you may think. Plus, doing so offers a number of benefits—opting for healthier foods can not only lead to dropping pounds, but will also upgrade the overall quality of your diet. Of course, there's no magical food guaranteed to make the pounds melt away, but because some foods contain hunger-taming nutrients like lean protein, healthy fat and filling fiber, they can definitely impact your chances for weight loss success. Read on for a few foods that are as close to rabbit-out-of-your-hat-voila! as you'll legitimately get.

Eggs. You knew breakfast was an important meal, but it turns out that starting with a protein-packed breakfast not only sets the right tone for the day, but can also help jump-start your weight loss. In a Saint Louis University study, participants who ate an egg breakfast as opposed to a bagel breakfast were more successful in dropping pounds. If you think eggs are out because they're too time-consuming to prepare or too full of cholesterol to enjoy regularly, think again. Best Life Approved AllWhites and Better'n Eggs make getting your lean protein a cinch. You can use them just as you would use eggs in the shell—all you'll thankfully miss is the crack-and-break mess and the cholesterol. Even better, because they're pasteurized, you don't even need to cook them. So you can feel free to simply uncap a carton and pour AllWhites right into your blender to power up a smoothie that will keep you going until lunch.

Fruit and veggies. Though you may have heard that some produce picks are better than others at helping you peel off pounds, the truth is, most any produce can benefit your efforts. The secret is in the volume: Fruits and veggies give you a lot to munch without costing you a lot of calories. For instance, a 100-calorie snack of raspberries, as opposed to a 100-calorie snack of cookies, not only delivers crave-worthy sweetness, but filling fiber, too. And when you're full of fiber, there's not as much room for not-so-healthy foods. Some of the highest-fiber choices include citrus, leafy greens, berries, and fruits and veggies that are eaten with the peel.

Greek yogurt. "Yogurt," just like "salad," is practically synonymous with "weight loss"—and for good reason. University of Tennessee research has found that the calcium in yogurt signaled the body's cells to stop storing fat and start burning it (other fat-free dairy foods would likely have the same effect, however, this particular study looked only at yogurt). If regular yogurt is good, Greek is even better. For roughly the same amount of calories, it contains about double the amount of satisfying protein as traditional yogurt. And the texture is rich and thick, but completely guilt-free as long as you choose fat-free varieties. To get a one-two hunger-curbing punch, add fiber-filled fruit like berries or chopped dried fruit.

Nuts and nut butters. The calorie content of nuts and nut butter often scares away people who are watching their weight. But these tasty picks just happen to be one of the best weapons for weight loss. The triple threat of carbohydrate (to give your blood sugar a boost), healthy fat and protein (both to sustain the boost) keeps you full and satisfied long after you eat, which makes it easier to resist whatever temptations you may face after your meal, whether it's an office birthday party, the vending machine, or a co-worker's candy stash. Need more convincing to get a little nutty? Participants on a weight loss program who snacked on pistachios lost more body mass than those who picked on pretzels, according to a study from researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. As long as you keep portions in check, nuts of any kind can be an asset to your weight loss efforts.

Whole grains. Making the swap from your regular, refined breakfast cereal to a whole-grain cereal is one easy way to add another pound-pinching food to your lineup. That's because whole grains are a great source of fiber. Plus, by switching to whole grains you'll be adding a rich source of antioxidants to your day, and that means you'll also be upgrading the quality of your diet. If you're already making whole-grain pasta, bread and cereal choices, take it one step further by challenging yourself to experiment with a few new grains. Some, like quinoa and amaranth, even boast a healthy dose of protein to make a dynamic diet duo. For something fresh, try having quinoa in place of rice, or use barley instead of pasta in homemade soups. And don't forget the perfect whole-grain snack: Air-popped popcorn (add a drizzle of olive oil to reap the benefit of lasting satiety from a healthy fat).

With the right foods filling you up, in time, you'll make your own weight loss magic!

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