Dieting doesn't have to mean a boiled chicken breast on undressed iceberg lettuce—really! Some of the most mouthwatering foods around can help you shed pounds and improve your health. Even better? You can fill your shopping cart with these tasty items and never break the bank.
Here are some treats dietitians love—not only because these picks offer amazing (and proven) health benefits but also because they taste great. Read on to learn the smart, delicious ways you can add them to your diet every day.
Almonds: One of these nuts contains just 7 calories and is crammed with protein and fat (the heart-healthy monounsaturated variety). This powerful combination prevents the blood-sugar fluctuations that can lead to overeating.
Eat them: Raw—whole as a snack or slivered atop salads.
Avocados: This fruit is a great source of slowly digested monounsaturated fat, which releases hormones that help you feel fuller longer. That might be why researchers found that people on reduced-calorie diets that included avocados were able to lose as much weight as those who reduced-calorie diets were avocado-free.
Eat them: Diced on baked potatoes.
Olive oil: It's filled with potent antioxidants that naturally nip inflammation, the cellular damage that contributes to the development of chronic disease. The condiment also is brimming with monounsaturated fat, which helps target belly flab.
Eat it: Mixed with vinegar, salt and pepper for a classic salad dressing.
More From All You:
Give Your Kitchen a Healthy Makeover
Whip Your Legs Into Shape
Eggs: Two large eggs contain a whopping 12 grams of figure-friendly protein—more than a quarter of your daily needs. In fact, an International Journal of Obesity study found that women who had an egg-based breakfast every day lost more than twice as much weight as those who started their day with just a bagel.
Eat them: Poached over whole-grain toast or hard-boiled as a snack.
Greek yogurt: Not many foods can top this one when it comes to energy-boosting, diet-friendly protein. A 7-ounce serving of this tangy treat delivers about 20 grams of protein. (That's on par with half a chicken breast.)
Eat it: Drizzled with honey or used as a replacement for mayonnaise in tuna salad.
Quinoa: This crunchy grain is packed with protein—about 8 grams per cooked cup—making it especially satisfying. What's more, quinoa is a stellar source of magnesium, a mineral that has been shown to improve sleep.
Eat it: With any dish that you'd normally pair with pasta or rice.
Apples: One medium apple is packed with more than 4 grams of filling fiber. No surprise, then, that Penn State University researchers discovered that people who ate an apple before a meal consumed 15 percent fewer calories than those who didn't. Bonus: Apples are a strong source of disease-fighting antioxidants.
Eat them: Whole or chopped, sprinkled with cinnamon and microwaved for a minute to make a low-calorie apple pie—like treat.
Oatmeal: Whether you choose instant or old-fashioned, oats have one of the highest satiety rankings of any breakfast option. This whole-grain food is digested more slowly than most other carbohydrates, keeping blood sugar even and staving off that "I'm so hungry I could eat the fridge" feeling. One cup contains 8 grams of fiber, about a third of your daily needs.
Eat it: Cooked and topped with fruit or added raw to meat-loaf mix.
Clementines: At 35 calories each, they're a smart way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Because they're rich in vitamin C, which improves skin tone, they boost beauty and help ward off colds.
Eat them: Solo as a snack.
Grapefruit: The famous diet food actually lives up to its hype. In addition to being low in calories (a half grapefruit contains 37), this morning staple may banish bloat and constipation. Grapefruit also has hefty stores of vitamin C, which has been shown to fight off free-radical damage, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Eat it: Cut into slices and mixed with other citrus for a tangy fruit cocktail.