If you want to lose weight in a hurry, you’ve probably heard that certain foods should be banned from your fridge forever. But, frankly, screw that. By eliminating dairy, carbohydrates, and fatty foods, you’re missing out on nutrients your body needs to fuel weight loss. Plus, your willpower will be running on fumes.
Carbohydrates are pretty much the black sheep in the family of diet foods. The truth? They’re not so bad. “Potatoes are loaded with potassium,” says Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., owner of BetterThanDieting.com and author of Read It Before You Eat It. “One baked potato has more potassium than two bananas.” They’re also a great source of fiber, which has been proven to help youfeel fuller and keep food moving through your digestive system.
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Other sources of carbohydrates, like whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, are also packed with fiber and can raise your serotonin levels to boost your mood, says Taub-Dix. And when you’re happy, you’re a lot less likely to stress eat.
But if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to be sure you’re not going overboard with the fruit in your smoothie or late-night snack. Berries are a great option since one cup contains the caloric-equivalent of a few pieces of dried fruit. You can also stock up on watermelon, which is high in water content, to fill you up.
While you might want to avoid nachos and mac ‘n’ cheese in the name of weight loss, a few slices ofcheese can be part of a healthy diet, says Taub-Dix. That’s because it’s high in muscle-building proteinand digests slower to keep you satisfied.
“I love the pre-wrapped Baby Bell cheese rounds, which are already portion controlled,” she says. She suggests pairing one round with an apple for a snack that keeps your blood sugar stable and your belly full.
Stop avoiding the yogurt aisle, people! “Greek yogurt is so high in protein, it buffers the effects sugar can have on the body,” says Taub-Dix, who loves Chobani Greek yogurt for its flavors and recognizable ingredients. Plus, yogurt provides your GI tract with lots of beneficial bacteria, which can help you de-bloat and stay regular, she says.
That being said, it’s important to check the label since some flavored yogurts have up to 29 grams of added sugar (the World Health Organization’s daily limit is 25 grams per day). Others use sugar substitutes, which some studies suggest could lead to weight gain. Try to find a flavored Greek yogurt that has 13 to 17 grams of sugar max. That’s comparable to a piece of fresh fruit, says Taub-Dix.