The INSIDER Summary:
• Snacking is essential when it comes to losing weight.
• One cup of air-popped popcorn is only 31 calories.
• One egg white has four grams of protein and only 17 calories.
You come home after a long day at work — and you’re immediately hungry. Rather than start the arduous process of dinner prep, you decide to rip open a bag of salt and vinegar potato chips. Your intentions are to eat «just a few,» but you inevitably succumb to their seductive, salty, acidic crunch. Next thing you know, the bag is almost empty and you’ve just inhaled 700 calories — and you’re still hungry.
To lose weight, you need to avoid situations like this one. Salty snacks such as potato chips, pretzels, and party mixes are addicting (and admittedly delicious), but their high sodium contents, excessive calories, and blatant lack of fiber and nutrients makes them weight-loss pitfalls. You want to load up your refrigerator and pantry with foods and snacks that are convenient and satisfying, and that may be consumed with the reckless abandon.
You’re probably thinking this is just a list of different types of lettuce and some boring vegetables like celery. All right, celery is on the list; but also included are hearty foods like edamame, sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, and even popcorn. Many of these foods require minimal preparation, and sometimes even a quick rinse under the faucet is sufficient. Feel free to eat them until your heart’s (but most likely your stomach’s) content.
Eat as much as you want of these 12 foods as you want and still lose weight.
Microwave and movie popcorn has tarnished this food’s reputation, but when popcorn is made with an air popper and dusted with a sprinkling of salt, it becomes a healthy snack. One cup of popcorn is only 31 calories, so don’t be afraid to shovel a few handfuls into your mouth.
Forget watery and flavorless romaine lettuce — the peppery and slightly bitter notes of fresh arugula make it the ultimate salad green. A simple arugula salad with olive oil, shaved Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of sea salt is an elegant start to a meal. Two cups of arugula contain less than 10 calories, so fill up on these greens instead of on bread or other starchy sides.
Blueberries are a versatile snack food that can fit into almost any meal. At only 85 calories per cup, feel free to add some to granola or yogurt; or blend some frozen blueberries and bananas with a hint of lemon juice for an easy, three-ingredient, vegan ice cream.
Celery is 95 percent water, and the rest of the stalk is made up of soluble and insoluble fiber. Celery might cause you to stay up at night, but eating a few stalks won’t make you gain any weight. Two stalks of celery are only 13 calories and provide more than a gram of fiber. Try dipping some in hummus for a healthy snack.
The name makes them sound exotic, but edamame, which literally means «stemmed-bean,» are just immature soybeans. They can be purchased shelled and frozen, or still in their pods. A cup of edamame is only 130 calories. The beans can easily be incorporated into pastas, salads, grain bowls, and even smoothies. That said, steamed edamame sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt is a simple delicacy: A quick 10-minute steam leaves the beans tender and flavorful.
Go right ahead and eat as many egg whites as you can stomach. The whites from one egg contain almost four grams of protein and only 17 calories. Egg whites can be purchased pre-separated in easy-to-pour cartons. Combine egg whites with some spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta for a quick and healthy egg white omelette. But don’t completely ignore the yolk; it contains important vitamins and minerals— along with extra calories, so eat in moderation.
Don’t just run them through a juicer; this fibrous citrus fruit is a useful weight-loss tool when consumed whole. Ripping through an orange provides your daily amount of vitamin C, but it also contributes other nutrients such as folate, potassium, and vitamin B1. One medium-sized orange has only 62 calories, and its fiber and water content will keep you feel until your next meal.
Portobello is just one of the 38,000 different varieties of mushrooms, but its size and hearty texture makes it a popular meat substitute. One large portobello mushroom cap is only 18 calories, so don’t be afraid to stack them high for your next veggie burger. They’re also delicious grilled or stuffed with spinach, garlic, and a little cream cheese.
Part of the algae family, edible seaweed has been a staple of East Asian cuisine for centuries. Nowadays, you can find some form of seaweed in supermarkets all over the world. Seaweed is a powerful source of iodine, an essential mineral that contributes to a healthy, functioning thyroid. A cup of fresh seaweed is only 32 calories and contains a gram of fiber.
These smoothie staples are sweet, a little tart, and a whole lot of satisfying. One cup of strawberries is only 50 calories, but it provides two and a half grams of fiber. A Harvard study linked anthocyanins, a group of flavonoids found in strawberries, to a reduced risk of heart attack in young and middle-aged women. Eat a cup of strawberries with a dollop of fresh whipped cream for a guilt-free dessert.
Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas possess a natural sweetness and texture, which makes them the ideal munchie. A cup of sugar snap peas (around three ounces) is 35 calories and contains two grams of both fiber and protein. Sugar snap peas can be eaten raw, like in a salad, or cooked, like in a stir-fry.
It might be a humble root, but the sweet potato is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s a rich source of beta-carotene — a pigment that eventually converts to vitamin A within the body. One medium-sized sweet potato is only 112 calories, and since they’re so filling, one is usually all you need. For some inspiration, here are four healthy and delicious sweet potato recipes.
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