From baked beans and peanut butter to rolled oats, losing weight doesn’t have to be a minefield of confusion. Here are our resident dietitian Melissa Meier’s approved foods that are waistline-friendly.
When you’re trying to lose weight, deciphering the right foods to eat can seem like a bit of a minefield. But losing weight (and keeping it off) doesn’t have to be as tricky as silly fad diets make it seem. Having a kitchen stocked full of wholesome, humble, healthy foods is a great starting point – so here are ten foods I always have in my pantry, and recommend you do, too.
- Baked beans – 197 calories per 220g tin
Yes, baked beans are *exceptionally* good for you. Packed with gut-loving fibre, plant-based protein and slow-burning carbs, they make for a perfectly healthy, balanced meal. Plus, they also count as veggies (#winning).
- Balsamic vinegar – 16 calories per tablespoon
No-one likes an undressed salad, but creamy, mayonnaise style dressings can add a stack of calories to your seemingly healthy meal. Ditto for oil-based varieties – even if it’s made from healthy extra virgin olive oil, it’s easy to over-do it. Enter: balsamic vinegar. A low-cal alternative that’s absolutely jam-packed with flavour.
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- Tinned tomatoes – 75 calories per 400g can
Pre-made sauces can contain an eye-watering amount of sodium and saturated fat, neither of which are good news for heart health. What’s more, they can also contain a decent dose of added sugar. Making your own sauces at home instead is a cinch – and a can of tinned tomatoes is a great place to start.
- Dijon mustard – 6 calories per teaspoon
Packed with flavour but light on calories, Dijon mustard is a great option to jazz up boring old chicken breast, steak and fish. One drawback is that it’s quite high in salt – so keep your portion size small. Luckily, a little goes a long way!
- Natural peanut butter – 126 calories per tablespoon (20g)
Delicious PB contains heart-healthy fats that keep you feeling satisfied. My top tips are to opt for a ‘natural’ variety (that’s one made with 100 per cent peanuts and nothing else) and stick to just one tablespoon at a time for calorie control.
- Chickpeas – 84 calories per half cup
Another plant-based choice, chickpeas offer that winning combination of protein, fibre and low-GI carbs to ward off a grumbling tummy. Try them in your salads, with baked veggies or in a healthy homemade dip.
- Wholegrain crispbreads – 110 calories per 25g (four small crispbreads)
A quality cracker is a good choice for healthy snacking because it’ll provide a boost of slow-burning carbs to put that pep back in your step come 3pm. Choose the highest fibre variety you can find and pair them with a little ricotta cheese or hummus.
- Dried herbs and spices – negligible calorie content
Paprika and cumin, basil and oregano, nutmeg and cinnamon… the opportunities (and flavour combinations) are endless when it comes to dried herbs and spices. The best part? They’re big on flavour but light on calories, so add tonnes of excitement to low-calorie meals.
- Tinned tuna in oil – 154 calories per 95g can, drained (70g total)
Protein-rich foods work wonders for weight loss because they keep you feeling full (goodbye annoying hunger pangs and trips to the biscuit jar). Tinned tuna is one of the easiest, most economical protein sources going around.
- Rolled oats – 222 calories per half-cup (60g)
Win the morning, win the day – and that’s exactly what rolled oats can help you do. Either in porridge or homemade muesli, rolled oats provide sustained energy and a decent protein punch to keep you feeling full until lunchtime. They even contain a special type of fibre called ‘beta glucan’ that supports a healthy ticker.
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practicing dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.