Some foods you have always thought were sure-fire weight gainers can still be an option – and even help you to shed pounds.
When summer brings barbecued burgers and cooling tasty milkshakes, it can be hard to resist the treats.
But perhaps you don’t have to. And by tucking into your favourite foods you won’t feel deprived and be tempted to binge on them.
Sun nutritionist Amanda Ursell shows ten unlikely foods that can help your body switch off hunger, keep you feeling full and cut overall calories.
1. Chilli con carne
This combination of red kidney beans and lean mince is the perfect mix of appetite-busting ingredients as there is protein in the meat and soluble fibre in the beans.
The metabolism-boosting effect of the chilli is the icing on the cake.
Served with a small portion of brown rice, this gives you a really satisfying meal, which can easily come in with fewer than 500 calories.
2. Roasted peanuts
Usually swerved by dieters, nuts are a great combination of protein, fibre and good fats.
Studies show swapping your usual snacks for a handful of nuts can aid weight loss.
They also contain energy-boosting iron as well as the zinc, selenium and B vitamins needed for energy, strong immunity and nerve health.
Just try to skip salted ones.
We think of lattes and cappuccinos as drinks but our body sees them as food.
This is because the acid and digestive enzymes in our stomach turn the milk into a semi-solid gel, which helps take the edge off hunger.
Since a skinny cappuccino is less than 100 calories, this is a great way to fill up between meals without a calorie splurge if you lay off adding sugar.
4. Chicken curry
Chicken is rich in protein which curbs appetite more than carbs and fats.
This is partly because protein increases production of hormones that make you feel full.
Protein is also physically harder for your body to break down, which slightly ups the calories your body burns after a protein-rich meal.
Hot spices in the curry add to this calorie-burning effect.
5. Baked beans
Even though traditional baked beans contain added sugar in the tomato sauce, the are also full of soluble fibre that is digested slowly and keeps us feeling full as well as giving a gentle rise in blood sugar after eating.
Combined, these put baked beans up at the top of the list of natural hunger busters.
And you could look our for brands with reduced sugar too.
6. Spaghetti Bolognese
Refined carbs such as white pasta usually get the thumbs down but both wholegrain and white pasta have a low glycaemic index, meaning they get digested slowly and help keep you feeling satisfied.
But watch out for portion sizes and what you serve the pasta with.
Choose a lean bolognese and a 70g portion (240kcal) of dried pasta to fill up, not fill out.
Avoid sugar-rich takeaway versions.
Make one at home using a hand blender and combine milk with a handful of frozen or canned fruit plus a banana.
You’ll introduce lots of air and therefore volume and the final drink will be 50 per cent “bigger”.
Scientists have shown that if ingredients are made to look bigger, it tricks us into thinking we are fuller after eating.
With a brioche bun and mountains of fries and mayo, a cheeseburger can easily top 1,000 calories.
But serving the burger with a big salad instead gives you a protein-rich, hunger-busting meal with half the calories, as well as two of your five a day target for fruit and veg.
With 19g of protein, it is also nearly half a woman’s daily requirement, and is good for iron too.
9. Mediterranean pizza
Our stomachs need a certain volume of food to feel satisfied, so pumping up a meal with low calorie vegetables is a good idea.
Make a pizza using a 100g base, tomato puree, sliced tomato, mushrooms, pepper and 40g sliced mozzarella for a 380g pizza with 459 calories and 13g fat.
A takeaway pizza the same size can contain more than double that.
10. Fried eggs
Studies have shown that people eat around 400 fewer calories over the course of a day if they start with a two-egg breakfast.
Researchers have found that levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, are lower following an egg-based breakfast, compared to levels found in people who have eaten a bagel first thing.
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