one green planet
one green planet

Dieting is hard whether you’re doing it for medical or for other reasons, but there are some foods you can eat to help you slim down without having to count one single calorie. Seriously, it’s true! Don’t waste your money on dieting pills since they do more harm than good. You truly can lose weight, all just by focusing on what you put on your plate at each meal and snack.

First though- remember that in order to slim down for life, you’ll need to go ahead and get rid of highly processed foods and sources of added sugar. Refined grains and anything fried should also be removed from your meals. Don’t worry though- there are delicious options you can still enjoy that will keep you full, give you a clear sense of focus, improve your energy, and that will make the pounds come off in no time. Adding these seven foods to your meals each day will help you crowd out unhealthier foods so you get full on the good stuff. Do a pantry purge, hit the store, and prepare to slim down, no dieting required!

1. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are the main ingredient found in hummus and they’re stellar when it comes to losing weight. First, they’re a great source of protein and B vitamins, which both keep your metabolism humming along all day long. Next, they’re a potent source of fiber to keep you full and help you stay regular to battle bloat and excess weight from wastes. Chickpeas are also slightly sweet and nutty so they go great in anything from salads to soups, to tacos, made into hummus, or they can even be baked in the oven for a crispy, guilt-free snack. Chickpeas are especially great for weight loss because they’re lower in starch than most other beans, so they’re more friendly to your blood sugar and easier to digest. Opt for no-salt-added varieties in a can, use a nonfat hummus without oil, or buy them dried and boil them yourself. Try them in this filling and satisfying salad for a cozy lunch or dinner.

2. Kale

Kale is magnificent for weight loss. It’s full of protein, fiber, magnesium, iron, chlorophyll and Vitamin A and C. All of these nutrients are important for your energy, immune system, regularity, and your blood sugar. Kale also helps keep the body in an alkaline state. When the body is too acidic, inflammation occurs that can lead to weight loss quickly. Though most all greens are great for you, kale has a few notches up on the rest of them. You can have kale salad, add some frozen kale to a smoothie, use it in soup, or make green juice with it. It also makes fantastic risotto! You’ll quickly see how your cravings diminish with kale in your life so learn to love it however you can. My personal favorite way to use it is in this crazy delicious Mesquite Kale Avocado Salad. In fact, I’m willing to bet it might just change your life it’s so good.

3. Berries

Berries are a powerful group of fruits that help improve your heart health and your weight. They’re very low in sugar compared to most other fruits and also have more fiber. This helps stabilize your blood sugar and ensure your digestive system works well around the clock. Berries are high in antioxidants and they  lower inflammation in the body. Choose any berry you like and you’ll find they’re a great way to nix the sugar cravings and help you stay satisfied. Blackberries and raspberries are highest in fiber but blueberries, strawberries, and cranberries are also great. If you have the money, splurge on some acai and goji while you’re at it.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal fills you up quickly, it’s satisfying, and it helps keep your blood sugar stable. Oatmeal is also higher in protein than many other grains, lower in non-fiber carbohydrates, and is a wonderful source of B vitamins. Most anyone knows that starting your day out with oatmeal is a great way to ensure you stay full all morning long, not to mention have loads of energy to power you through your day. Oatmeal also contains a special type of carbohydrate known as beta-glucans. Beta-glucans actually fight fat from being stored in the body and help remove it from the blood stream, which is one reason oatmeal is so great for your cholesterol. Have some rolled or steel-cut oats each morning and you’ll be good to go.

5. Vegan Protein Powder

Okay, so you might not consider this a food, but it should be in my book- especially if you’re on a diet. Vegan protein powder is a great way to get in enough protein with fewer calories or meal prep than foods like tofu, tempeh, seitan, or endamame. Though those are great options, they’re not very convenient when you’re in a hurry (and they sure don’t taste as great in a smoothie!) Choose a vegan protein powder that’s free of added sugars that’s around 100-130 calories with at least 15 grams of protein. If  it has added fiber, all the better. Protein is important for losing weight since it requires more energy for your body to digest, which burns more fat and builds lean muscle to keep you toned and slim.

6. Lentils

Lentils are chock-full of fiber, which is a must-have when it comes to weight loss. Fiber staves off hunger, contains no calories since it goes undigested through the body, and your body actually burns fat just by trying to digest it. Plus, fiber also help stabilize your blood sugar so you maintain healthy insulin levels. Since insulin is a hormone that stores fat in the body, keeping it as regular as possible is important for your weight loss goals. Lentils are also a fantastic source of vegan protein and iron and they contain absolutely no fat whatsoever.

7. Quinoa

This mighty little seed is amazing for your weight loss goals and your overall health. Full of fiber, zinc, protein, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, and potassium, quinoa gives your body an all around fantastic dose of nutrients to fuel your energy and Support weight loss. Eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, just be sure you include it each day if you can. It’s more nutritious than grains like rice that are higher in carbs but lower in fiber and protein. Quinoa might also Support your blood sugar better, helping you stay fuller longer between meals. Try having quinoa in this power-packed protein salad for a hearty lunch.

Be sure to eat at least four to five cups of leafy greens and/or green vegetables a day in addition to these foods. Other fantastic weight loss foods include: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, chia seeds, avocados, flax seeds, almonds and walnuts (in moderation), and any green vegetable you can get your hands on. Fruits like apples, oranges, lemons, and limes are also great too. Eat as many whole foods as possible and get the majority of your calories from real, whole sources. If you do that, the weight will come off and you’ll never have to count calories again.

Image source: Raw Sprouted Hummus

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