17 Best Foods for Dieters
Diet foods that taste great and can help you lose weight.
11. Bars. Whether you eat them as snacks, pre-workout, or as meal replacements, these bars are the ultimate in convenience. For staying power, look for bars with fiber and protein, such as Luna, Kashi, or Fiber One bars.
12. Dips. Use these nutritious dips for your veggies, pretzels, or baked chips for only 5-50 calories per 2 tablespoons: hummus, salsas; fat-free black bean dip; mustards; and fat-free French onion dip.
13. Breakfast Cereals. Research shows that people who eat breakfast control their weight better than those who skip the morning meal. Start your day the healthy way with a bowl of whole-grain cereal (top it with fruit and low-fat dairy for extra nutrition). Look for cereals with fiber and protein and not too much sugar, like oatmeal (166 calories, 6 grams protein and 4 grams fiber), Kashi Go Lean (140 calories, 10 grams fiber, 13 grams protein), or Shredded Wheat (155 calories, 5.5 grams fiber, 5grams protein).
The Basics for Dieters
Convenience foods are great, but it's hard to beat the nutritional goodness of whole, natural foods. "Eating more natural, less processed foods is usually a more nutritious option, but both can fit into a healthy weight loss diet plan," says Sandon.
Here are the four types of food that are the foundation of any healthy diet:
14. Lean protein: Lean protein is important for dieters because it helps you feel satisfied. Excellent sources of low-fat protein include eggs; skinless poultry, edamame or other beans; nuts; shrimp; crab; fish fillets; lean cuts of beef (like filet mignon); and pork tenderloin. When choosing meat, go for lean cuts, trim off all visible fat, and control your portions.
According to the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, you can safely take in 10%-35% of your total calories from protein. So someone on an 1,800-calorie diet could eat up to 157 grams of protein -- the equivalent of 1 cup of skim milk, 1 cup cooked black beans, 2 ounces almonds, 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 2 eggs, 10 ounces of meat or fish, and 1 cup frozen yogurt.
15. Whole Grains. Most whole grains are a good source of fiber, which helps you fill you up. Try the whole-grain pasta blends or Uncle Ben's brown ready rice. Another dieter's favorite is fat-free popcorn -- crunchy, filling, and a whole grain!
16. Fruits. They satisfy your sweet tooth and are loaded with disease-fighting nutrients, yet are low in calories. Keep a stock of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits on hand, to eat plain or toss into cereal, yogurt, waffles, or batters. Some convenient favorites include frozen berries, dried cranberries, and canned mandarin oranges. Whole fruits are best because of their fiber content, but if you prefer juice, be sure it's 100% juice, and enjoy it in small portions.
17. Veggies. Keep a supply of prewashed mixed greens, shredded carrots, steamed beets, and shredded broccoli slaw on hand for quick and nutritious salads. Roast sweet potatoes for a side dish that needs no topping other than a little salt and pepper. If fresh vegetables tend to become science experiments in your refrigerator, try Birdseye Steamfresh frozen vegetables. Canned vegetables are another option; just rinse thoroughly to reduce sodium. For your lunchbox or a snack, try the convenient packs of assorted veggie sticks with low-fat dip.