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1 year ago
7 Weight Loss-Promoting Foods That’ll Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

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Nutrition-wise, sweet treats get a pretty bad rap. After all, they're generally loaded with refined sugar and unpronounceable chemicals and are a shortcut to weight gain. But just because something’s sweet doesn’t mean it can’t help you lose weight. So we asked nutritionist Kelly Pritchett, Ph.D., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to share her favorite healthy sweet treats that can help you meet your weight-loss goals. You're welcome.

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Dark Chocolate

You probably already know that dark chocolate packs more antioxidants and less sugar than its milk counterpart. But get this: Dark chocolate is also teeming with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which can help decrease food cravings, says Pritchett. Plus, according to research from the Reina Sofía University Hospital in Spain, eating a diet rich in MUFAs may help prevent the accumulation of belly fat.

MORE: The 9 Fats You Need to Lose Weight

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Greek Yogurt Parfait

Whether you top it with a spoonful of honey, sprinkle of cocoa, or handful of fruit, Greek yogurt is an awesome source of calcium, which can help support healthy weight loss, says Pritchett. What’s more, Greek yogurt packs tons of protein—two times more, in fact, than regular yogurt—which helps keep you fuller and more satisfied throughout the day, she says.

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Frozen Bananas

High in filling fiber, bananas seem to taste even sweeter when you freeze them (FYI, they can make a perfect ice cream substitute). And while it won’t help with fat accumulation specifically, the potassium in bananas does help your body deal with sodium. So if you're carrying any water weight from excessive sodium intake, it can help decrease bloating, says Pritchett.

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Toasted Chickpeas Tossed in Cinnamon and Honey

Chickpeas are fiber and protein powerhouses, and recent research published in Obesity found that after eating them (and/or other pulses), people feel 31 percent fuller than those who don’t. But cinnamon has its own weight-loss benefit: It lowers blood sugar to help keep cravings under control, says Pritchett. Pop the chickpeas in a 400°F oven for about 30 to 40 minutes (until crisp and golden), and then toss them in a cinnamon-honey mixture.

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Berries

Among the richest sources of antioxidants out there, berries can help combat inflammation, which research published in Diabetes has linked to weight gain. Plus, they are high in flavor and low in calories, which sure doesn’t hurt when it comes to satisfying cravings while staying healthy, she says.

MORE: 8 Foods That Decrease Inflammation and Help You Lose Weight

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Chia Seed Pudding

Just one ounce of chia seeds packs 40 percent of your RDA of fiber, which can increase feelings of fullness and aid in weight loss, says Pritchett. Plus, almost all of its fat comes from healthy unsaturated sources, meaning it has true staying power. And while chia seeds don’t have much flavor on their own, making them into a pudding with some coconut milk, vanilla, and other goodies only ups their nutritional power.

MORE: Mango-Coconut Chia Pudding

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Cinnamon-Dusted Popcorn

Without all of the butter and salt, popcorn is a veritable health food; it's low in calories and high in weight loss-promoting fiber. If you toss your popcorn with blood sugar-regulating cinnamon, the snack turns sweet—and boasts even more staying power.

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