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3 surprising foods that can help you lose weight

The potato is a surprising weight-loss food. (Getty Images)

Everyone knows that if they want to lose weight, they have to break away from their unhealthy eating habits and start eating in a healthy way. But which foods are healthy? Which foods are helpful for losing weight and which are obstructive?

We have often heard that we should avoid certain foods because they are high in fats and carbohydrates. But did you know that some of the foods on the no-no list are actually helpful weight-loss foods?

In this article, you will find three helpful weight-loss foods that have sometimes been forbidden in a weight-loss diet.

1. Beef

No joke; you can enjoy your steak and lose weight at the same time. The protein in beef can actually help you gain muscle and increase your metabolism, which will, in turn, help you burn more fat and lose weight. Additionally, the protein can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.

Be aware, however, that beef can also be detrimental to your weight-loss plan.

The difference lies in the type of cut. Cuts of beef such as T-bone steaks are high in saturated fats that can lead to weight gain, high cholesterol and increased risk for various diseases. Leaner beef cuts, on the other hand, such as round steak and sirloin steak are healthier options that contain much less saturated fat and can be a healthy part of your diet. Taking time to remove any fat found on the mean (it will look white), will make it even healthier.

Apart from your choice of beef cut, the cooking method can also affect the healthiness of the meat. The best and healthiest option for cooking your steak is either grilling or broiling. The grilling process cuts out a good amount of the fat in the meat; therefore, grilling can be a great way to prepare low-fat meals.

Besides eating steak by itself, try making other meals with it, such as a steak sandwich. Another option is to add thinly sliced steak to your bowl of vegetables to create a steak salad. Grilled steak can also be accompanied by grilled vegetables such as carrots, eggplants, and asparagus, which will add extra vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Keep in mind that, despite steak's health benefits, it is recommended to eat no more than three ounces of steak at one go.

2. Salmon

Another great weight-loss food is salmon.

Salmon is widely known to be high in fat, which suggests that it should be avoided in a weight-loss diet. However, salmon is actually low in calories and contains unsaturated fats, which are healthy (unlike saturated fats). Salmon also contains Vitamin D, a nutrient that many people are deficient in, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain and cellular development and can help lower your cholesterol.

Similar to steak, the way you prepare salmon affects its healthiness. Grilling, boiling and baking are good cooking methods to make salmon into a healthy food choice. You should avoid adding sauces that are high in fat to your salmon, such as tartar sauce or creamy sauces.

Salmon, although not commonly found in a Singaporean's diet, can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be eaten as a main dish accompanied by vegetables such as celery and carrots. It can also be served with rice. Additionally, salmon can be used to make a salmon sandwich or mixed with vegetables to create a salad.

3. Potatoes

The potato is another food that many people think should be avoided in a weight-loss diet due to its high carbohydrate content. However, the potato can actually be another helpful weight-loss food.

First, potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, contain good amounts of fiber. Fiber helps us to feel fuller for a longer period of time and can thus help us to prevent overeating. Fiber also helps keep our blood sugar level balanced, which is helpful to prevent diabetes.

Again, the way you prepare potatoes will determine whether potatoes will be helpful or detrimental to your weight-loss plan.

One of the ways to make potatoes a helpful weight-loss food is to choose the right toppings. You should avoid mixing potatoes with high-fat products such as butter, sour cream, margarine, cream and cheese. Healthy preparation options include topping baked potatoes with low-fat plain yoghurt or seasoning boiled potatoes with herbs, spices, and vegetables.

Another popular way to prepare potatoes is to combine them with vegetables in a salad. Furthermore, potatoes can be a great ingredient to add to soup. You can make a healthy vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots and onions. One delicious vegetable soup option is minestrone.

It is advisable to leave the skin on the potato for added flavor and fiber. Also, the potato skin and parts just underneath contain the most nutrients.

Overall, it is important to keep in mind that cooking methods and eating in moderation are the keys to turning beef, salmon, and potatoes into healthy weight-loss foods. Always try to minimize the fat, oil, and salt used in preparation.

In addition to the suggestions above, you can be creative and explore the various ways of preparing these tasty foods.

Do you know of any other helpful weight-loss foods that have been wrongly portrayed as unhealthy and forbidden to people trying to lose weight? Leave them in the comments below!

By registered dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get your free guide on the secrets to Healthy Eating.

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