One of the most common misconceptions about dieting is the belief that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less (way less), skip meals, or only eat zero-calorie food items. While moderation and calorie consciousness is important for dieters, an easy way to achieve a healthy diet is to load up on foods that contain lots of water, protein, fiber, and beneficial vitamins and minerals that keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. So, if you are trying to plan out a meal plan, pick up as many items from this list of clean super foods and watch your waistline shrink in no time!
>> Read more: Clean Eating: A Full Day's Menu
1. Black beans: One cup of these black beauties packs in a whopping 15 grams of protein and doesn’t contain any other saturated fat found in other protein sources. Beans provide a healthy serving of fiber, folate and magnesium — try to throw them in your next meal! Here's a delicious black bean and sausage soup recipe.
2. Oats: Half a cup of oats provides 4.6 grams of resistant starch, which helps you boost your metabolism and burn fat. The high fiber content is good for regularity and helps you feel full through the day. An easy baking swap: replace oats with breadcrumbs! Learn more here!
3. Avocados: Aside from the fiber and protein content, this creamy fruit is rich in healthy fats that help to trigger your body to quiet hunger. Stick to a quarter or a half of an avocado to get just enough of the nutritional benefits without over-doing it. Click here to read about the 10 best ways to eat an avocado.
4. Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt has lots of protein and probiotics which helps to fill the belly, improve digestion, and bolsters the immune system. Substitute it for sour cream, cream cheese and even mayonnaise! Try it in this King Ranch Casserole recipe.
5. Salmon: Salmon is an example of a lean source of protein that helps you lose weight. It also contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids that help improve insulin sensitivity, which helps to build muscle and decrease belly fat. Did you know the type of salmon you buy can affect your health? Learn more here.
6. Quinoa: The teeny seed-like grains pack in fiber and protein, a well-known nutritional combination that helps you curb hunger and feel full longer.
7. Sardines: These tiny fish are high in protein and are rich with omega-3s, which helps the body build muscle. They are also low in mercury and high in calcium, which makes them a smart pick for pregnant mommies. (via Shape)
8. Lentils: Start loving these little legumes for their powerful belly flattening powers. Regular consumption of lentils helps prevent insulin spikes that cause your body to prevent excess fat around the stomach.
>> Read more: 22 Ways to Rev Up Your Metabolism
9. Blueberries: Popular for their anti-aging effects, these blue antioxidant-rich fruits also offer a moderate amount of calories and fiber that help you feel full throughout the day.
10. Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals, disease-fighting compounds, and fiber. Broccoli is especially known for its high vitamin C content and folate, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke (via Greatist)
11. Apples: One of these a day and your on your way to a healthy diet! These are the ideal, on-the-go snack and are perfect to munch on before a meal. The antioxidants in apples may even help prevent metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by the excess belly fat or an “apple shape” (via Self)
12. Eggs. Start your morning with two eggs, scrambled or as an omelet, and let your metabolism go wild. Eggs pack in protein and healthy fats, which make this item perfect to eat in the morning to start your day off right! Click here to read about 7 ways to eat eggs.
13. Brown rice. Brown rice is a heartier and healthier option in comparison to white rice. It's loaded with fiber and resistant starch, which helps to boost your metabolism and burn fat. Brown rice is also a low-energy density food, which means that it's heavy and filing but low in calories.
14. Buckwheat pasta: A simple swap to your diet: replace plain noodles with buckwheat pasta. It’s high in fiber and, unlike other carbs, contains protein!
15. Kale: Ever wonder why this leafy green has gained so much popularity lately? One chopped cup of raw kale has 34 calories and about 1.3 grams of fiber, on top of a hearty helping of iron and calcium. Click here to check out our Kale-tastic Green Juice recipe or swap your potato chips with a batch of crispy kale chips:
16. Almonds: Almonds are the most nutritionally dense nut, which means that they offer the highest concentration of nutrients per ounce. A one-ounce serving provides 3.4 grams of fiber, and a healthy dose of potassium, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and iron (via Greatist)
17. Chili peppers: These fiery vegetables will crank up your metabolism in no time! Chiles contain a compound called capsaicin has a thermogenic effect, meaning that it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after you eat them.
18. Strawberries: A true vitamin C superstar! Studies show that the antioxidants found in strawberries helps to build and repair the body’s tissues, boosts immunity, and fights excess free radical damage. They’re also naturally sweet which is a perfect healthy swap for anyone with a sweet tooth (via Greatist)
19. Spinach: This healthy, leafy green is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and vitamins that promote vision and bone health. One cup has about 12 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium and enough vitamin K to prevent bone loss.
20. Beets: This beautifully colored veggie has lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can help fight disease and strengthen vital organs. Eat them steamed and throw them in a salad for an easy, healthy food sneak-in.
21. Pomegranates: Pomegranate juice is known for being super healthy, but what about the seeds? Aside from being loaded with folate and disease-fighting antioxidants, pomegranate seeds are low in calories and high in fiber, so they’ll cure your sweet tooth without blowing your diet! (via Self)