If you’re not a legume lover, consider this: In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, scientists found that people who consumed beans were 23 percent less likely to have large waists than those who said they never ate them. The bean eaters in the survey also tended to have lower systolic blood-pressure measurements, says research Victor Fulgoni III, Ph.D. Legumes are rich in belly-filling fiber as well as potassium, which helps fight hypertension. Aim for half a cup of cooked beans 3 or 4 days a week.
Turns out, an apple a day may also keep the extra weight away. Penn State researchers discovered that people who ate a large apple 15 minutes before lunch took in 187 fewer calories during lunch than those who didn’t snack beforehand. (The apples had around 128 calories.) What’s more, they reported feeling fuller afterward, too. Sure, the fruit is loaded with belly-filling fiber, but there’s another reason apples help you feel full: They require lots of chewing, which can make you think you’re eating more than you really are, says study author Julie Obbagy, Ph.D.
Skip the cold cereal: Eating eggs and bacon in the morning can help you control your hunger later in the day. Indiana University scientists determined that dieters who consumed their biggest dose of daily protein at breakfast felt full longer than those who ate more of the nutrient at lunch or dinner. The upshot: “They were less likely to overeat the rest of the day,” says study author Heather Leidy, Ph.D. To fend off hunger, shoot for at least 20 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast.
Fish isn’t just good for your heart; it’s good for your gut, too. That’s because omega-3 fatty acids help you feel full longer, report scientists from Iceland. In the study, dieters who ate salmon felt fuller 2 hours later than those who either didn’t eat seafood or had cod, a fish with little fat. The researchers found that eating foods high in omega-3s (like the ones to the left) increased blood levels of leptin, a hormone that promotes satiety. Hate fish? Take a fish-oil capsule every day – one that has 500 milligrams of the omega-3s DHA and EPA. It offers the same benefits as salmon.
Instead of fruit juice, reach for moo juice in the morning. Drinking milk at breakfast can help you eat less at lunch, Australian scientists say. In their study, overweight people who downed about 2 1/2 cups of skim milk in the morning consumed 8.5 percent fewer calories at an all-you-can-eat lunch spread than people who drank the same amount of fruit juice. Both beverages had an equal number of calories, but the milk contained 25 grams of protein while the fruit juice had virtually no protein and 63 grams of sugar. Those may be big servings, but the principle remains: Protein helps you feel fuller throughout the morning.