The good news is that there are thousands of diet foods that are healthy, taste great, and can help you stick to your weight loss plan. Visit any grocery store to witness the explosion of lower-calorie, lower-fat, or portion-controlled options.
Here are just a few of the best foods for dieters:
1. 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!
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.
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.
4. 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).
5. Light Salad Dressings
Nearly half of the salad dressings you’ll see on your grocer’s shelves are reduced in calories and/or fat. Use Wish-Bone salad spritzers to lightly mist your salads, or try one of the many light or nonfat salad dressings. Another option is to make your own lower-calorie dressing, using more vinegar than oil, as well as a little water.
6. Rotisserie Chicken
It’s no wonder that nearly every grocery store sells rotisserie chickens. You can serve one as is, shred it to use for tacos, pasta dishes, or casseroles, or chop it for an entree salad. You can even have it for dinner one night, then debone it and freeze the leftover meat for a quick meal later in the week.
7. Diet-Friendly Desserts
Lower-calorie and portion-controlled sweets mean that desserts can be part of any weight loss diet. Dieters who crave ice cream love Skinny Cow ice cream cones (150 calories), Edy’s Slow-Churned ice cream bars (150 calories), and Fudgsicles (100 calories). Cookie lovers can enjoy Hershey’s 100-calorie wafer bars, Teddy Grahams, graham crackers, Fig Newtons, vanilla wafers, or gingersnaps. On the road, try chewing on a piece of sugarless gum or suck on a piece of hard candy to satisfy your sweet tooth without sabotaging your diet.
8. Healthier Fast Food
Fast food restaurants don’t have to spell disaster for dieters. Try Quiznos’ Flatbread Sammies without cheese or dressing (all less than 250 calories,except the Italiano) or a small Honey Bourbon Chicken sub (275 calories); Taco Bell’s Fresco-style items (less than 180 calories); McDonald’s Southwest salad with grilled chicken (290 calories without dressing); or any of Subway’s subs with 6 grams of fat or less (230-380 calories).
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