You’ve been exercising, eating mindfully, and have even learned your best options for healthy alcoholic drinks when you’re out imbibing. But if you’re still piling the cookie dough crumbles onto your fro-yo or sprinkling handfuls of waxy, shredded cheese onto your salad, then you’re still sabotaging your health and weight loss goals.
Whether you’re at the salad bar or the pancake house, healthy toppings do exist; you’ve just got to keep your eyes out for the right ones. The body-friendly options listed below are great on a variety of foods, but we popped them into specific categories to help you think outside the box. Mix and match, though, and then be sure avoid these 25 Foods That Make You Hungrier.
Top 3 Salad Toppings
The salad bar can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Steer clear of calorie-dense and sugar-laden toppings like bread crumbs or dried cranberries that offer you very little nutrition (if any), and opt for a healthier choices like these.
For a little crunch that doesn’t come in the form of a crouton, it’s hard to beat sunflower seeds. These seeds contain healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps fight against heart disease and also provides your body with a small boost of protein and fiber to promote great feelings of satiety. Speaking of heart health, steer clear of these 30 Worst Foods For Your Heart.
Choosing good fats like avocado can help rid your body of unwanted fat. Research published in the journal Diabetes Care found that incorporating healthy monounsaturated fats into your diet, like those found in avocado, can help prevent and reduce body fat specifically around the belly area.
Chickpeas are one of your best bets at the salad bar because they’re full of hunger-killing fiber and are a great source of plant-based protein. A study published in the journal Appetite revealed that, by adding these guys to your diet, you’re more likely to stay on track with your healthy eating plan and avoid overeating junk food. Get more chickpeas into your life with these 20 Amazing, Surprising Ways to Eat Chickpeas!
5 Amazing Yogurt Toppings
There are so many healthy ways to customize your yogurt that there’s really no good reason to buy pre-flavored cups, which often contain high amounts of added sugar. Mix these toppings into your favorite Greek yogurt instead!
Adding your own fruit like antioxidant-rich blueberries will do more than just kick up the flavor; researchers from the University of Florida found that people who eat a diet rich in antioxidant foods actually weigh less, regardless of whether or not they consume fewer calories. Bonus: Blueberries are actually a natural cure for e.d.
Flaxseeds are kind of amazing in that they offer your body so many benefits in such a teeny tiny package. They’re an excellent weight loss aid, thanks to their polyunsaturated fat and fiber content. A study out of Harvard found that participants who included flaxseed in their diet lost 37 percent more weight than their non-flax-eating counterparts.
Have you ever heard the phrase “Food can either be the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison?” Well, there’s some science to back that up. Research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that, if most people began eating healthier fats regularly (like those found in walnuts), there could potentially be more than a million fewer deaths from heart disease each year. These same healthy fats also help keep you feeling fuller, longer. Watch this fun and short video about The Benefits of Walnuts to find out what they do to your body!
Though cutting one open and securing the seeds may seem like an arduous task, doing so can do wonders for your body. This antioxidant-rich fruit can help boost immunity and lower cholesterol. They also contain quite a bit of fiber—about 3.5 grams per one cup serving—which can help kill off hunger pains and support weight loss.
With 11 grams per one-ounce serving, these tiny seeds can help you sneak more gut-filling fiber into your diet with very minimal effort. From stabilizing blood sugar to fighting against heart disease and assisting weight loss efforts, the health benefits of chia seeds are numerous. Don’t miss out on these 15 Awesome Ways to Use Chia Seeds!
3 Tasty Toast Toppings
Avocado toast is awesome, but if you’re out of avo or simply want something simpler, these slimming choices are very satisfying!
The next time you pop some whole-grain bread in the toaster, swap out regular dairy butter for this healthier spread. Research performed by the American Diabetes Association found that regularly incorporating nuts (like almonds) into your diet can help fight diabetes without any major changes to physical activity or total calorie intake. Plus, the magnesium found in almonds helps regulate blood sugar, which helps put the kibosh on food cravings.
Adding sliced bananas atop some nut butter on your toast is the last step for creating a perfect healthy snack or breakfast. Bananas are considered a great weight loss food because they’re relatively high in fiber, providing about 10 percent of your daily needs in one serving. Combined with the whole grain toast and healthy fats in the almond butter, you’ll have yourself a healthy, filling breakfast or snack to carry you through your tasks for the day. Find out the 21 Amazing Things That Bananas Do to Your Body!
While honey still contains a not-so-innocent amount of sugar, it offers your body a lot more health benefits than many other sweeteners, thanks to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Some research suggests that replacing regular sugar with this sweet stuff can help support weight loss efforts—as long as it is consumed in moderation.
6 Oatmeal Toppings You’ll Love
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another group of people who adore oatmeal as much as Eat This, Not That! But that’s because we know better than to eat the sugary, instant packets, and we instead like to concoct and curate all sorts of combos. Ahem, like these 25 Overnight Oats That Boost Your Metabolism in the Morning!
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
The day that chocolate was declared “healthy” was quite possibly historic. While not all cocoa products will help you shed some pounds—most are filled with sugar and empty calories—unsweetened cocoa powder may have the power to assist your fitness efforts. According to research published in the journal Nutrition, including cocoa as a part of a healthy diet has been linked to lower percentages of fatty tissue in the body.
With nearly 200 calories per two-tablespoon serving, peanut butter may be a bit intimidating on a weight loss diet. However, researchers at Harvard University discovered that diets rich in foods containing monounsaturated fats like peanut butter can not only help you lose weight, but also help you stick to your weight loss journey for longer. Just make sure you’re choosing the best kind and not the #1 worst on our exclusive list of Every Peanut Butter — Ranked!
Pop these high-fiber berries on top of your morning oats as you please, because they’ll take your bowl’s nutrition to the next level. Just one cup contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber. Combine that with your fiber-filled oats, and you’ll be cruising through your morning meetings without so much as a single tummy rumble.
Although a pumpkin tends to make its appearance in our diets seasonally, its seeds should be eaten year-round. Pumpkin seeds—sometimes called pepitas when shelled—are a great source of protein with a steep 8.5 grams per one ounce serving. They’re also a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which work to prevent heart disease and reduce inflammation in the body. Last, and certainly not least: Mark Langowski, celeb trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! For Abs, lists pumpkin seeds as one of his 15 Favorite Foods for Flat Abs!
Just a shake of cinnamon into your daily oats can tremendously assist your weight loss efforts. Cinnamon has a regulatory effect on blood sugar, which can help prevent wacky food cravings and keep you on track with your healthy eating. It’s also been found to slow the passing of food from the stomach to the intestine—helping you feel fuller longer and squashing that I’m-hungry-but-I-just-ate frustration.
Hemp hearts (a.k.a. shelled hemp seeds) pack a mighty 10 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber per 3-tablespoon serving. A study published in Current Biology revealed that exercise alone is not enough to encourage weight loss, but that the focus needs to be on crafting and consistently eating a healthy, balanced diet. Sprinkling hemp hearts over oatmeal, yogurt or even salads can help introduce more weight-loss friendly protein and fiber into your meals daily. They’re also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
4 Best Pizza Toppings to Order
One of the most important parts of starting and seeing through a weight loss plan is being realistic. We all have our food vices and odds are pizza is one of them. You don’t have to deny yourself, but you should be mindful of frequency and portions when eating fare that’s usually not super healthy.
Customize your slice with broccoli to lessen the blow of your cheat meal while sneaking in some added vitamins and fiber. For more tips on doing damage control while indulging, check out these 20 Cheat Meal Tips for Weight Loss Success!
Opting for a margherita pie with fresh tomatoes might help your body’s weight loss hormones work more efficiently, regardless of the fact that you’re taking a moment to indulge. Tomatoes contain inflammation-fighting nutrients called carotenoids and bioflavonoids. By reducing inflammation in the body, these nutrients support the functioning of the weight loss hormone leptin, which helps control appetite, metabolism, and weight loss.
A member of the mint family, basil has long been used for its medicinal qualities. The herb not only boosts the flavor profile of your slice, but it boasts high amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, and magnesium. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition linked higher levels of magnesium intake to less fat or weight gain.
Chili Pepper Flakes
Those hot chili flakes that sit in the shaker right next to the parmesan are a low-calorie way to kick up the flavor of any dish—especially pizza. Crushed chili peppers are another great inflammation-fighting food and can help support weight loss as a result. They’re one of the key ingredients in these20 Spicy Recipes That Will Fire Up Your Metabolism!
4 Favorite Pancake Toppings to Try
Sorry not sorry—whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or anything else that resembles desert is definitely below. Instead, find out a few smart selections for dressing up your short stack while staying slim!
Ordering your hot cakes with a pile of sliced strawberries on top can help lessen the blow of your indulgent breakfast. Strawberries are full of anti-inflammatory enzymes and antioxidants, which can help increase the metabolic rate and help your body burn more fat, instead of storing it.
Real Maple Syrup
If you have the option, go for whole grain pancakes and stick to small amounts of real maple syrup—Aunt Jemima and its processed, fructose-heavy competitors don’t qualify as “real” by any means. Real maple syrup contains vitamin B2, which aids in the metabolic process and could aid weight loss when subbed in place of regular sugar or processed syrups. Just be sure to keep your syrup portions small since this meal is high in calories and lower in nutritional value. (Psst! Find out the The 30 Best Breakfast Habits to Drop 5 Pounds!)
By dropping some apple slices on top of your pancakes, you’ll have a more satisfying meal because of the added fiber. Apples contain a specific kind of fiber called pectin, which helps delay stomach-emptying. Researchers at UCLA found that study participants feel fuller for nearly twice as long when they subbed in pectin-rich foods in place of regular fiber.
Yep, yogurt! Rather than smearing butter or whipped cream on top of your flapjacks, try scooping on some probiotic-filled yogurt for a more belly-friendly topper. Yogurt will give you that sweet, tangy sauce pairing, but without the added sugar and saturated fat of other popular pancake toppings. Opt for Greek varieties to supplement your carb-heavy cakes with some muscle-friendly protein to help slow down digestion.
3 Clever Popcorn Toppings
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When air or stove popped, this classic movie food can be a pretty healthy snack. Popcorn is rich in whole grains, fiber, and antioxidants, and is easy to customize when it comes to flavor.
Thanks to its low-moisture properties, parmesan cheese can last for a pretty long time in your kitchen—which makes it all that much easier to incorporate into your healthy snacking. Sprinkle some protein and calcium-rich parmesan on your plain, fresh-made bowl to satisfy cravings sans artificial ingredients. And never eat mainstream, store-bought microwave popcorn; it’s one of the 50 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet!
According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, this spice may help promote weight loss and encourage your body to use glucose stores for energy rather than clinging to your body as fat. Furthermore, paprika is also a good source of iron, which facilitates the transportation of oxygen to your muscles and will help you finish strong when doing a tough workout.
Also known as nooch, nutritional yeast is a vegan staple that’s gone mainstream. If you’re lactose-sensitive or just trying to stay away from dairy, nutritional yeast will give you that cheesy flavor without all the tummy discomfort. Nooch comes with quite a hit of health benefits, too. For one, it’s a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids that help the synthesis of muscles and promote greater fat loss. This nutty topping also offers up 3 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber per tablespoon.
And Finally, Frozen Yogurt Toppings
Just because you’re skipping Haagen-Dazs, doesn’t mean your dessert is suddenly guilt-free. While viewed as a healthier choice, frozen yogurt still contains sugar and calories and should be eaten in moderation.
Skip the cookie dough and opt for fresh fruit like pineapple or mango to lessen the impact of your treat further. According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding more fresh fruits into your diet like pineapple can help boost weight loss efforts. For some weight loss tips backed by glamorous people, scope out these 60-Second Weight Loss Tips Celebs Swear By!
Dark Chocolate Chips
When we head out to Pinkberry, we’re well aware of the impending indulgence. We get it: Sometimes, you just want something sweet that isn’t fruit. If you’re going for that sweet treat, skip the cookie crumbles and high-fructose laced caramel sauces; instead, sprinkle on some dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate, when consumed in small amounts, has been found to support heart health and also may support weight loss. The dark stuff actually contains traces of healthy fats that help to slow the absorption of sugar in the body.
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