Power Foods That Help You Lose Weight

Carolyn Classick-Kohn,MS,RD

When it comes to food and weight loss diets, every calorie counts! This is because eating less food  means fewer nutrients to the body for energy, growth and maintenance of healthy tissues. So if you want energy and good health while you lose weight, the foods you choose need to pack a punch to get you through the day. Are these four foods part of your diet?

Broccoli -
With no fat and only 30 calories for 1//2 cup of cooked broccoli, you get a great source of fiber, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and folate, an important B vitamin that is often low in the diet. And since broccoli isn't canned, you either buy it fresh or frozen so that there is very little salt (sodium) unless you add it yourself. Eat it raw (or blanched quickly for 30 seconds in boiling water) or cooked. Add it to salads, eat it with low fat dressing, or grind it up and add it to mashed or twice baked potatoes, soups or chili to sneak in this very nutritious vegetable.
 

Beans -
A half cup of cooked beans has the same amount of protein as one ounce of steak without the animal fat (saturated fats). Beans are a high protein food that also provides fiber (which is lacking in meat and dairy products) and is a good source of potassium, folate, and calcium. Beans are filling and satisfying (1/2 cup has about 100 Calories) and quite an inexpensive source of nutrition. Add them to salads, soups and casseroles to boost the protein without adding extra fat. Soybeans are an especially good source of quality protein and are a staple for vegetarian diets.
 

Nuts and Seeds -
These are quite high in calories, so why are they recommended for weight loss diets? If you control the amount that you eat, nuts and seeds are a great way to get the benefits of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat long with folate, fiber, and protein. Most fat sources contain no protein and no fiber, so this is a great choice to get fat soluble vitamins and a concentrated source of energy without the less healthy fats found in animal foods and processed vegetable fats. Since 1 Tbsp. has about 50 Calories, mix them with other foods - sprinkle onto cereals, mix into yogurt, add to salads or eat them with dried or fresh fruit to get a crunchy high energy snack that has staying power. When you eat small amounts of high energy foods instead of just eating quick burning foods like the carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables, it can help take the edge off of  hunger and may help you resist eating other foods later that didn't want to. 

Fish and Seafood -

4 ounces of cooked fish has about 1/3 of the total protein most people need in a weight loss diet daily with less than one gram of fat. That's a great source of protein without the extra calories from animal fat from other types of meat. With the added benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, a special type of fat that helps to make blood platelets less sticky and reduce inflammatory response, it's heart healthy and diet-smart.

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