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Power Foods to Add Into Your Diet
 
Eggs
Dig in to eggs, yolks and all: They won't harm your heart, but they can help you trim inches. Women on a low-calorie diet who ate an egg with whole wheat toast each morning lost twice as many pounds as those who had a bagel breakfast with the same number of calories but no eggs, a study from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge reports. "Egg protein is filling, so you eat less later in the day," says David Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life (Bantam).
*Omelets and scrambles are obvious choices, but if you can't cook before work, bake a frittata on Sunday; chill it and nuke slices for up to a week. An easy recipe: Vegetable Frittata.
 
Kale
Kale has long been labeled as a garnish. You should move this green from the side to the center of your plate and eat more of it! One raw chopped cup contains 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, as well as a hearty helping of iron and calcium. But kale's earthy flavor might take some getting used to. Spinach, another nutrient powerhouse, is a milder-tasting option.
*Mix chopped raw kale into cooked black beans for a protein/fiber combo that will keep you full and satisfied.
 
Oats
Oatmeal has the highest satiety ranking of any food, and unlike many other carbohydrates, oats – even the instant kind – digest slowly, so they have little impact on your blood sugar. All oats are healthful, but the steel-cut and rolled varieties (which are minimally processed) have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving, making them the most filling choice. Instant oats contain 3 to 4 grams per serving.
*Instead of using breadcrumbs, add oats to turkey meat loaf and other recipes that call for breadcrumbs – about 1 cup for a recipe that serves eight.
 
Lentils
Lentils are a belly flattener. They're high in protein and soluble fiber, two nutrients that stabilize blood sugar levels. Eating lentils helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to create excess fat, especially in the abdominal area.
*There are many varieties of lentils, but red and yellow cook the fastest (in about 15 to 20 minutes). Add cooked lentils to a pasta sauce for a heartier dish. Their mild flavor blends right in, and because they're high in protein, you can skip meat altogether.
 
Goji Berries
These chewy, tart berries have a hunger-curbing edge over other fruit: 18 amino acids, which make them a surprising source of protein (They also have more beta-carotene than carrots.). Snack on them in the mid afternoon to stay satisfied until dinner. The calorie cost? Only 35 per tablespoon – which does add up quickly so keep tabs on how much you are consuming as they are delicious!
*Mix 1/4 cup of the dried goji berries (from health food stores) with 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts for a nourishing trail mix.
 
Wild Salmon
Not only do fish fats keep your heart healthy, but they shrink your waist, too. Omega-3 fatty acids improve insulin sensitivity – which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat. And the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Opt for wild salmon; it contains fewer pollutants.
*Simply add lemon juice, 2 tbsp of mustard, and 2 tbsp of capers for an easy and quick broth to cook your salmon in.
 
Apples
An apple a day can keep weight gain at bay, finds a study from Penn State University at University Park. People who consumed an apple before a pasta meal ate fewer calories overall than those who had a different snack. "Apples are high in fiber – 4 to 5 grams each – which makes them filling," says Susan Kraus, R.D. Plus, the antioxidants in apples may help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by excess belly fat or an "apple shape."
*Apples are the ideal on-the-go low-calorie snack. For a pie-like treat, chop up a medium apple and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Pop in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
 
Blueberries
Blueberries have the highest antioxidant level of all commonly consumed fruit. They also deliver 3.6 grams of fiber per cup. Many studies have shown fiber to actually prevent some of the fat you eat from being absorbed because fiber pulls fat through the digestive tract.
*Instead of topping your cereal with fruit, fill your bowl with berries, then sprinkle cereal on top and add milk or yogurt.
 
Pomegranates
Don't fall for all the hype about the juices as they are sugar traps. Let's give the seeds of the fruit the attention that they deserve. In addition to being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, they're low in calories and high in fiber, so they satisfy your sweet tooth without blowing your diet.
*Eat the raw seeds on their own (many grocery stores sell them preshucked) as a snack at your desk. Use them in salads; they're especially delicious on raw baby spinach with beets.
 
Chilies
One reason to spice up your meals: You'll crank up your metabolism. A compound in chilies called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat the chilies. Plus you can't gulp down spicy food, and eating slowly gives your brain time to register that your stomach is full, so you won't overeat.
*Stuff chilies with cooked quinoa and marinara sauce, then roast them. To mellow a chili's heat, grill it until it's almost black, peel off charred skin and puree the flesh. Add the puree to pasta sauces for a one-alarm kick. Or stir red pepper flakes into any dish you enjoy.
 
Yogurt
Many RD's refer to plain yogurt as the perfect food, and for good reason: With its trifecta of carbohydrates, protein and fat, it can stave off hunger by keeping blood sugar levels steady. In a study from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, people on a low-calorie diet that included yogurt lost 61 percent more fat overall and 81 percent more belly fat than those on a similar plan but without yogurt.
*Use lowfat plain yogurt instead of mayonnaise in chicken or potato salad, or top a baked potato with a bit of yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. You'll save 4.7 grams of fat per tablespoon. Look for Greek yogurt, which has more protein than other versions. Beware of flavored yogurts as they are sugar traps. Try to eat plain yogurt with fresh fruit in it instead. If you need sweetness add a touch of honey or better yet, applesauce.
 
Quinoa
Curbing hunger takes two nutrients eaten in tandem; protein and fiber. This whole grain packs a whole lot of both into one tiny little space.
*Serve quinoa instead of rice with stir-fries, or try it for breakfast: Cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup orange juice for 15 minutes. Top with 1 tbsp each of goji berries and chopped walnuts.
 
Sardines
These tiny fish are the unsung stars of the sea. They are high in protein and loaded with omega-3s, which also help the body maintain muscle. And they're low in mercury and high in calcium, making them a smart fish pick for pregnant women. If the flavor doesn't appeal to you, soak them in milk for an hour; it will remove any trace of fishiness.
*Use sardines in recipes you like that call for anchovies, including Caesar salad and stuffing. Or make a sardine melt: Toss whole sardines with chopped onions, fresh herbs and diced celery, and some yogurt in place of mayo. Put the mixture on top of a slice of pumpernickel or rye bread, cover with a slice of light jarlsberg cheese and melt.
 
Parmesan
Drop that rubbery lowfat cheese and pick up the real stuff. Parmesan does not pack the saturated fats that other cheeses do, and a little goes a long way to add intense flavor to otherwise bland dishes. Try adding a tsp to your steamed veggies, mashed butternut squash, mashed cauliflower, baked chicken and fishes.
*You can also buy a large chunk of parmesan and eat 1 oz with an apple and pear for a fiber/protein snack combo.
 
Avocado
Don't let the fat content of an avocado (29 grams) scare you-that's what makes it a top weight loss food. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fat it contains increases satiety.
*Add avocado to your sandwich instead of mayo for a creamy texture and a shot of flavor. Avocados do contain a lot of calories, so it's best to watch your portions. One easy way to do it: Try Wholly Guacamole's 100-calorie fresh guacamole packs ($3; grocery stores or WhollyGuac.com). They're easy to pack in your lunch and pair with chopped vegetables.
 
Olive Oil
Like avocados, olive oil has healthy fat that increases satiety, taming your appetite. But that's hardly its only slimming feature. Research shows it has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation in the body is linked to metabolic syndrome along with other diseases and conditions.
*Drizzle your salad with olive oil and you'll increase the antioxidant power of your veggies, a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition notes. Or toss pasta with a few teaspoons of olive oil, fresh basil and sautéed garlic.
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