Looking to lose weight? Try these high-fiber foods
New research pegs fiber as a handy tool in the weight-loss arsenal. Here are some foods from the Mediterranean Diet to get you started.
Losing weight can be a struggle, especially for those of us who choose to limit our calories. That's why the most successful weight loss programs focus on foods that keep us full for longer – in a word: fiber.
Research has shown that fiber doesn't just help you feel full. Its benefits range from lowering cholesterol to controlling blood pressure and blood sugar. A new study from researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School looked at fiber's role in weight loss specifically and found that simply adding more fiber-rich foods to your diet can result in weight-loss just as effectively as limiting your calories can. Their recommended goal? A daily total of at least 30 grams of fiber.
We've previously written about how the Mediterranean diet can help you with your New Year's resolutions, and with good reason. It's a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts – pretty much every wholesome source of fiber there is, making it easy to reach your daily intake goal.
Choose fibrous fruits
Apples, bananas, oranges, pomegranates, cherries and strawberries are among the highest-fiber fruits with 3-4 grams of fiber per serving – and they have added benefits like vitamin C and immune-boosting antioxidants.
Add sliced fruit to your breakfast, eat whole fruits as a snack or add a healthier element to your desserts with one of these recipes:
Embrace winter veggies
Don't fall into the potato pit during winter – there are more colorful vegetables to choose from. Broccoli, eggplant and squash are all available year-round and especially enticing during the chilly winter months. A single unpeeled eggplant has an impressive 16 grams of fiber! Consider substituting it instead of your main protein for a Meatless Monday dinner.
Try one of these fiber-tastic recipes for dinner:
- Eggplant stuffed with fruity bulgur
- Eggplant soup
- Whole roasted cauliflower with yogurt and herbs
- Butternut squash gratin
Start to love legumes
Legumes like lentils and chickpeas are affordable and versatile additions to any meal. You can even make a delicious hummus for dips or sandwich spreads.
One cup of lentils has a remarkable 15 grams of fiber, while one cup of chickpeas has 35 grams! Both are great as appetizers or for dinner, hot or cold:
- Sweet potato and lentil salad
- Israeli lentil salad
- Chickpea sambusak
- How to make falafel at home
- How to make majadra
Get whole grains
Whole grains like barley, whole wheat and oats can easily replace the less nutritious options. Adding oats to your muffins in turn adds 5 grams of fiber, while multigrain bread blows the white variety out of the water in terms of nutritional value.
Try these recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner:
- The world's creamiest oatmeal
- Bulgur and freekah pilaf
- Barley risotto with zucchini and walnuts
- Quinoa bread with oatmeal
- Whole wheat oatmeal bread with walnuts and raisins
Step up your seed and nut game
Though they should be eaten in moderation, almonds and peanuts are nutrient-packed snacks with 2-3 grams of fiber per ounce. Toss a couple of tablespoons of whole flax seeds or sunflower seeds in your oatmeal or salad for an extra dose of fiber. A single tablespoon of seeds alone contains almost 3 grams of fiber!
- Butternut squash stuffed with quinoa
- Homemade energy bars
- Almond-crusted chicken thighs
- Chocolate fruit and nut clusters
- How to make sunflower seed butter and sunflower seed tahini
Whether you're trying to lose weight or just committing to a healthier lifestyle, you can't go wrong with the Mediterranean diet.
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