If you need to kick the bad habit of bread, cereal and other refined carbs for breakfast, oatmeal is here to take their place. Not only does it have protein, but also the soluble fiber keeps you feeling full for longer (maybe even full enough to nix a mid-morning snack). Make sure you choose steel-cut oats over rolled or instant. They’re not pre-cooked and are processed in a manner that helps them maintain more fiber and protein than other versions. Plus the hearty, chewy feel of steel-cut oats helps you to slow down breakfast and feel full.
Quinoa is a delicious carb that reduces belly fat and takes inches off the waist because it’s absorbed into the blood stream at a slower pace then “bad” carbs like white pasta. “Quinoa is one of the healthiest carbs,” says Jessica Rosen, a holistic health coach and founder of Raw Generation. Why? It’s gluten-free, high in fiber, packed with antioxidants, and is full of nutrients like iron, zinc and magnesium, and is a low-calorie protein. “Unlike most high-carbohydrate grains, quinoa sustains the appetite without skyrocketing blood glucose levels,” says Rosen. “It actually lowers blood glucose levels which is significant for healthy weight loss because excess glucose gets stored as fat in the body.” We love that quinoa takes on multitude of flavors so it’s incredibly versatile for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Lentils are tiny legumes that are great sources of plant-based protein and fiber. “They won’t elevate your blood sugar so you’ll have sustained energy without the spike and crash,” says Andrea Wise, a Chicago-based trainer and nutrition coach. Don’t just think of them as a side dish. We like to serve salmon on a bed of lentils and add them to burgers and meatballs. The same goes for black beans. There’s a lot of fat-fighting power in the humble black bean. They have protein and fiber plus B vitamins that could accelerate weight loss and prevent fat from settling in your middle. We love black beans in burritos and enchiladas but they have a happy place outside of Mexican foods. Sprinkle them over roasted veggies, put them on top of pizza and mix them into salads.