Food pairings that can speed up your weight loss
When it comes to slimming down, two (or more) foods can be better than one. That’s because each has different nutrients that work together. As a team, they can help you fend off hunger, stay full longer, and burn fat or calories better than they would solo.
- Nut Butter + Banana
Carb pairing is a simple premise: eat carbs and protein at every meal. Pairing healthy sources of protein and healthy complex carbs does more than aid with muscle recovery post-workout. It also keeps you fuller longer. Both protein and healthy fats slow your body’s digestion of sugars, helping to keep your blood sugar from spiking. In this pairing, bananas are your source of carbohydrates and peanut butter is your source of protein and fat.
- Spinach + Lemon Juice
Whether you squeeze a lemon over your sautéed spinach or add some juice to your morning smoothie, this dynamic duo is going to do wonders for your health. Lemons are a source of vitamin C, while spinach is a vegetarian source of non-heme iron. To increase the bioavailability of the dietary iron in the spinach, you have to add vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid). Vitamin C enhances iron absorption, according to the International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research.
- Bell Peppers + Eggs
Grab a pepper and a few eggs, and get crackin’! This mighty fat-frying duo is sure to help you fit into your skinny jeans in no time. Eggs contain a metabolism-boosting nutrient called choline, and peppers are a good source of vitamin C. Getting an adequate amount of the nutrient can help fight off cortisol, a hormone that causes fat to accumulate around the midsection. Chop some peppers, add them to a hot pan with some olive oil, add in two or three eggs and scramble them up to stay slim.
- Oatmeal + Berries
If you’re trying to lose weight, oatmeal topped with berries is another delicious fat-frying breakfast option you might want to consider. What makes the duo so powerful? They each contain insoluble fiber which, according to Canadian researchers, boosts levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger. Plus, berries are packed with chemicals called polyphenols that aid weight loss and can actually stop fat from forming. Adding this meal to your weekly repertoire is sure to help you see your six-pack before swimsuit season. And, believe us, the cooking time is worth it.
- Honeydew + Red Grapes
Fight fat and banish bloating with a fruit salad composed of honeydew and red grapes. Melon is a natural diuretic, so it helps fight the water retention responsible for making you look puffy even though you have a toned stomach. Red grapes add fuel to the better-belly fire because they contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps calm the action of fat-storage genes. This dynamic duo makes for a delicious, healthy dessert and is sure to turn your two-pack into a wonderful weight loss snack
- Pistachios + Almonds
While a snack mix of cereal and pretzels may taste good, it’s not going to give you that tight stomach you crave. Ditch the starchy carbs and replace them with a combination of pistachios and almonds. According to researchers, reaching for these nuts in lieu of carbohydrate-based foods can help speed the rate of weight loss. More good news: A study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that the amino acid L-arginine, found in almonds, helps the body burn more fat and carbs during workouts, too. So while you’re doubling down on the workouts before spring break, make sure your diet is doing double duty, too!
- Yogurt + Cinnamon
You’ve almost reached your weight loss goal, but those last few pounds seem to be holding on for dear life. Ditch the last bit of flab with a daily dose of vitamin D-fortified yogurt (we like Stonyfield Organic). A Nutrition Journal study found that diets rich in both calcium and vitamin D can significantly decrease the amount of fat the body absorbs and stores.
Why should you add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your container, you ask? Not only does it taste great, but it also contains powerful antioxidants that improve body composition and insulin sensitivity. Animal studies have also found that consuming cinnamon can ward off the accumulation of belly chub. Enjoy this tasty duo as a quick, on-the-go breakfast or an afternoon snack. Just make sure you’re choosing a pot with more protein than sugar.
- Leafy Greens + Olive Oil
If your monster appetite is making it difficult for you to trim down, consider making a sautéed side dish or salad with some olive oil and kale. How will eating these foods help you slim down? Not only is olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that help ward off hunger, and high-volume, low-calorie greens like kale help fill you up without filling you out.
But, the combination of healthy fat with vitamin-rich greens is essential for your body to absorb those fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin K, in particular, is found in high levels in kale. Vitamin K is necessary to boost cell growth, blood circulation, and bone strength. The thing is, you need the fat from the olive oil to reap all these body-boosting benefits.
- Bananas + Spinach
Slightly green bananas are rich in something called resistant starch. This type of starch not only boosts satiety but also—as the name implies—resists digestion. The result: the body has to work harder to digest the food, which promotes fat oxidation and reduces abdominal fat. What’s more, bananas are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps banish pesky bloat that can make you look less trim and fit than you actually are.
Pair this mighty fruit with spinach, a low-cal veggie that boosts satiety and aids post-pump recovery, to create a fat-frying smoothie in just seconds. Simply throw a small banana, two handfuls of spinach, and a cup of organic 1% or carrageenan-free almond milk into a blender with a couple ice cubes, blend and enjoy!
- Tuna + Ginger
Want to look slim and fit on the beach? Look no further than the ocean—or at least the beachside sushi joint. Pairing a tuna roll or a few pieces of tuna sashimi with ginger, the oft-overlooked pickled spice that comes on your plate, can help your abs shine through. Ginger accelerates gastric emptying, which helps diminish that “food baby” look more rapidly than other foods, and it also blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation.
Tuna’s role on this team is important, too; it’s a prime source of docosahexaenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fat that can ward off stress chemicals that promote flab storage and down-regulate fat genes in the stomach, stopping belly fat cells from growing larger.
- Apples + Watermelon
All fruits are healthy, but some fight fat better than others. And when you put the best of the best together in one simple fruit salad, you’ve got yourself a solid defense against health-harming flab. Apples are one of the very best sources of fiber in the fruit kingdom—and the nutrient is integral to reducing visceral fat. In fact, a Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center study found that over five years, for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber eaten per day, visceral fat diminished by 3.7 percent.
Watermelon, which is one of our best fruits for fat loss, adds fuel to the waist-whittling fire by improving lipid profiles and lowering fat accumulation. This dynamic duo makes for a delicious, healthy dessert or anytime snack, and is sure to turn your two-pack into a six-pack—stat!
- Corn + Beans
While eating something that can make your belly bloated may not sound like the best way to lose weight, it’s actually a solid strategy. Eating a calorie-restricted diet that includes two daily servings of protein- and fiber-rich legumes aids weight loss more effectively than a calorie-equivalent diet that doesn’t include beans, a study in Arya Atherosclerosis says. Besides tasting delicious, pairing beans with corn can help boost the slimming effects.
Corn, like bananas, contains resistant starch, a type of carb that dodges digestion. In turn, the body isn’t able to absorb as many of the corn’s calories or glucose, a nutrient that’s stored as fat if it’s not burned off, aiding weight loss efforts. To reap the benefits, create a tasty corn and bean side dish. Combine salt- and BPA-free cans of corn and beans in a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Season with ground pepper and cilantro.
Add the mixture to greens for a waist-trimming salad, use it as a flavorful topper for grilled chicken, or load the mixture into a toasted whole-grain pita pocket for a quick, on-the-go lunch.
- Potatoes + Pepper
Thanks to the popularity of low-carb diets, white potatoes have been unfairly blacklisted. However, a second look at the science reveals that the spuds are actually powerful hunger tamers that can help you lose weight. In fact, Australian researchers found that potatoes are actually more filling than fiber-rich brown rice and oatmeal! The root vegetable is also a good source of bloat-banishing potassium, so they can help you look slimmer almost immediately.
But, just because potatoes are a go doesn’t mean your favorite high-cal toppings also have the green light. We’re looking at you, bacon bits! Our suggestion: Enjoy half a baked potato with a bit of olive oil and fresh pepper instead. Piperine, the powerful compound that gives black pepper its taste, may interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis—which can help trim your waist, zap body fat and lower cholesterol levels. It’s a triple win!