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1 year ago
7 Foods That Boost Weight Loss AND Improve Your Workout

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Weight loss and your workout go together like the Kardashians and contouring. One without the other just seems wrong! So why not turn to food options that do double duty and help you crush it in both areas? "There are definitely some foods that can help promote weight loss and also make your workout even better at the same time," says Brigitte Zeitlin, M.P.H., R.D., a nutritionist at B Nutritious. Read on for some options, and get ready to feel even better than you already do.

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Water

Is it really any surprise that water tops this list? “This is absolutely the most important for both weight loss and excellent workouts,” says Zeitlin. “Our bodies are 60 percent water, and it’s crucial for everything from how your muscles work to your metabolism. Even mild dehydration can slow it down.” When you’re dehydrated, your body sends any water that would go to keeping your metabolism chugging smoothly to more important locations like your brain, which gets sluggish when you don’t get enough. And if you hit the gym without proper hydration, your workout will suffer. “You’ll probably start to feel lightheaded and fatigue will set in faster,” says Zeitlin. “If you get dizzy, you’ll want to sit or lie down. It interrupts your workout, which is the opposite of what you want!” She recommends aiming for eight to 10 glasses a day—or 10 to 12 if you’re working out for 45 minutes three times a week—to make up for what you lose in sweat.

MORE: 5 Ways to Make Water Taste Better (So You’ll Drink More of It)

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Greek Yogurt

"Greek yogurt is really fantastic for this," says Zeitlin. "It's very high in protein and lower in sugar and sodium than traditional yogurt." The high protein keeps you fuller longer, which will help you make it to your next meal without snacking or getting so ravenous you go overboard. It's specifically a great post-workout snack. "All protein helps build and repair muscles, but dairy protein does it more efficiently than any others," says Zeitlin. Aim for two percent or whole to avoid additives that companies add to dress up low-fat versions, and go for plain. "You can add some fruit or pure vanilla extract for flavor," says Zeitlin.

MORE: The Best Yogurt for You

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Nut Butter

Protein's not the only nutrient at play here: The unsaturated fat found in nut butter can actually help you drop pounds. Beyond keeping you satisfied so you're not giving into cravings, it can help you absorb more nutrients from what you're eating, helping your body be the well-oiled machine it should be. The key is to have a source of healthy fat with some carbs so your body can break it down quickly. Just having a tablespoon of nut butter won't quite give your body what it needs to excel.

MORE: The Newest Superfood That Helps You Live Longer

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Eggs

Whether it's for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, eggs should be one of your go-tos. Their high protein count influences your satiation, helping you feel more full. Plus, they're high in choline, which is an anti-inflammatory nutrient. "It helps keep your muscles in working order and can improve gym performance," says Zeitlin. Even better, foods with anti-inflammatory properties can help cut down on weight gain by keeping your metabolism regular and fending off potential metabolic diseases.

MORE: 5 Creative Ways to Cook With Eggs

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Dark Leafy Greens

These are incredibly high in fiber. "A little of these vegetables goes a long way because they're bulky and fill up your stomach so you're less likely to overeat," says Zeitlin. "They're also anti-inflammatory and help reduce the risk of so many diseases like diabetes." To use these weight-loss weapons for a more effective gym session, bust out the blender. "They're so great in a smoothie post-workout because they're packed with vitamins, but they also don't lose the fiber that's pressed out in juice," says Zeitlin, who recommends adding a source of protein like Greek yogurt or milk. If you do have a hankering for straight juice, have something like a hardboiled egg on the side to get that protein hit.

MORE: 3 New Ways to Eat Kale

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Whole Grains

"Our bodies run on carbohydrates for fuel, but not all grains are created equal," says Zeitlin. Look for whole grains instead of any that have been refined before becoming the final product. "Whole grains give you B vitamins, fiber, and protein. White grains give you none of this." Beside protein and fiber's filling properties, B vitamins are key for boosting energy, and they happen to be anti-inflammatory, as well. Try a piece of whole-wheat toast with nut butter is a great pre-workout snack. "Our bodies break down carbs real quickly, so this pairing is a great jolt of energy to make sure you're getting the most of your workout," says Zeitlin.

MORE: Q&A: What's the Difference Between Multigrain, Whole Grain, and Whole Wheat?

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Low-Fat Chocolate Milk

When you're jonesing for a post-workout snack, go for one serving of low-fat chocolate milk. "Organic one percent chocolate milk is phenomenal for after some exercise," says Zeitlin. "You get the dairy protein, but you also get some carbohydrates from the chocolate. It helps your body absorb protein faster and better." The tastiness of this treat isn't a coincidence. "It gets at that sweet craving and helps with moderation so you don't go looking for something else to get your fix," says Zeitlin.

MORE: What's Up With Omega-3 Fortified Milk?

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