They are all natural, healthy and nutritious, and they’re all really cheap and easy to find too!
1. ChickpeasAlso know as garbanzo beans. They are normally found precooked and canned, but you can also buy them in a dried form and cook them yourself.
Chickpeas lower bad cholesterol, as well as being a good source of protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals. They are also a high source of insoluble fiber, great for combating constipation.
Chickpeas make a delicious addition to salads, soups and stir fries. You can turn them into a great homemade hummus – just blend with garlic, lemon juice, chili pepper and a teaspoon of olive oil.
For those trying to cut back on meat, chickpeas make a great protein replacement. Mix them with whole grains such as brown rice or couscous for a complete meat substitute.
2. OatmealOatmeal is a very high source of soluble fiber that digests slowly, curbing your hunger and cravings for hours. It stabilizes blood sugar levels, unclogs arteries, and lowers risk of colon cancer.
It is best to avoid the flavored and sweetened oatmeal as they have added sugar and chemicals. Go for plain oatmeal with low fat milk and blueberries or your favorite fruit for a power breakfast. It's inexpensive and you can buy it in bulk.
3. Kobacha SquashAlso know as a Japanese winter squash or pumpkin. You might have seen it on the supermarket shelf but you probably weren’t sure what it was!
A cup of Japanese squash contains just 40 calories, but it is high in nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins A and C and fiber. The best thing, however, is its delicious taste. It really is a tasty, guilt-free diet food.
I love Kobacha wedges. Just cut them up and pop them in the oven with salt for 20 minutes. They make a filling, super-yummy snack.
4. SardinesIn recent studies it has been shown that an increased intake of Omega 3 fatty acids can help to balance blood sugar levels and control appetite. And (as if that wasn’t enough), they also reduce levels of Cortisol, a stress hormone responsible for storing fat. They are a very low calorie source of protein and calcium, both very important for weight loss.
Sardines are great because they are cheap, abundant and contain lower levels of mercury and PCBs than most fish. This is because they are lower in the food chain than tuna, for example, and so spend less time ingesting poisonous chemicals. Sardines are an excellent and underrated fish choice.
5. Chili PeppersChili Pepper not only adds flavor to your favorite dishes, it actually increases your metabolism for a short period of time after eating them.
Chilies raises your body temperature, increases your circulation and helps you burn fat faster.
As an added bonus, chili peppers contain Capsaicin (the active chemical in red chili peppers). This increases your body's levels of endorphins, the chemicals that make you feel happy!
6. YogurtStudies have shown that yogurt aids in burning fat and increasing weight loss. It’s a great low fat source of calcium and protein, both of which are important for maintaining a high metabolism. Calcium reduces fat storage and boosts your metabolism, while protein maintains and protects lean muscle tissue.
Try to choose plain yogurt – the flavored ones contain high amounts of sugar and additives. Alternatively, homemade yogurt is a healthy and economical way to add fresh yogurt to your life every day.
Yogurt can also be used as a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream in dips and salad dressing recipes. If plain yogurt isn't your thing, mix in fruits and nuts or use it in smoothies.
7. BlueberriesBlueberries contain a powerful antioxidant named Anthocyanin that may promote weight loss by reducing abdominal fat.
It has also been shown that consuming blueberries actually reduces your food cravings.
I like to add fresh or frozen blueberries to low fat muffins, cereal and yogurt. I also blend them into smoothies, and they also make a good snack for evenings watching TV.
8. EggsEggs are nutrient-dense and a great source of protein. A medium sized egg contains just 70 calories. Studies have shown that eating eggs for breakfast tends to reduce the amount of calories that you consume throughout the rest of the day. Eggs promote satiety and curb hunger and cravings.
Eggs contain all of the essential amino acids, but it is the amino acid leucine that provides the link to fat loss. This naturally occurring substance helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and maintain lean muscle tissue.
9. GrapefruitI'm sure you've heard of the grapefruit diet? Well it turns out there might be something to it. Grapefruit contains fat burning enzymes that are responsible for reducing insulin levels and encouraging weight loss.
Grapefruit is low in calories and high in antioxidant vitamin C and potassium. It also contains bioflavonoids and other plant chemicals that protect against cancer and heart disease. You can eat grapefruit alone or toss it on salads.
10. AlmondsA good source of protein, fiber, and powerful antioxidant Vitamin E. Studies have shown that eating small amounts of almonds aids in weight loss.
Although almonds do contain fat, research suggests the fat in almonds does not get completely absorbed by the body.