Don't Ditch These 'Fattening' Foods When You're on a Diet
How 'treats' like peanut butter, cheese, and pasta could actually help you lose weight.
Most people who are trying to lose weight think they need to
stay away from the foods they crave, like nuts, cheese, pasta, bread, and
peanut butter. But don't be too quick to ditch these "fattening" foods
when you're on a diet. They're full of good-for-you nutrients like vitamin E,
calcium, fiber, and unsaturated fats, which often go missing when you cut
calories. And believe it or not, these foods can actually help you slim
The trick to eating fewer calories without constant hunger is to choose foods that
contain fiber, lean protein, and healthy
(unsaturated) fats. Dieters often eliminate foods that are high in fat because
these foods contain so many calories. But when foods high in fat also contain
protein and/or fiber, these components work together to keep you feeling full
for hours -- meaning you're less tempted to overeat.
6 'Fattening' Foods to Keep in Your Diet
Nuts are not often considered diet food because they are fairly high
in calories. Yet a handful of nuts -- rich in unsaturated fat, protein, and
fiber -- can tide you over for hours. These nutrients help stabilize blood
sugar, and help you avoid the hunger swings that can happen when you snack on
high-carbohydrate refined foods like rice cakes and cookies.
Even peanut butter, one of America's favorite comfort foods, has a
place on a weight loss diet. Studies have shown that snacking on controlled
amounts of peanut butter or peanuts is a good way to control hunger without weight
gain. One study published in the International Journal of Obesity
showed that people who snacked on peanuts and peanut butter stayed satisfied
for two to two and one-half hours and did not experience weight gain.
For a satisfying snack, enjoy a handful of nuts alone or with dried fruit.
Pair peanut butter with celery, apple, or banana, or use it instead of butter
or cream cheese on bread. Two tablespoons of peanut butter has 190 calories, 17
grams of fat, and 7 grams of protein.
Cheese is another favorite food that is often eliminated on weight
loss plans. Yet cheese, like milk and yogurt, contains a package of
essential nutrients, including protein, calcium, potassium, and more. The U.S.
Dietary Guidelines recommend that adults consume three servings of low-fat
dairy each day to help meet calcium, vitamin D, and potassium requirements.
Fat-free and low-fat cheeses are improving in taste and texture. Experiment
with different brands to find a lower fat variety you enjoy. Or, choose full-
fat cheeses but limit your portions to 1 ounce. Pair cheese with an apple,
veggies or whole grain crackers to pump up the fiber and help you feel full
longer. One ounce of cheese has 100 calories, 8-9 grams of fat, 7 grams
protein, and 200-300 milligrams of calcium.