Weight loss programs typically inundate people with lists of foods not to eat. But often, the best diets are those that specify which tastiest foods are also the healthiest. And according to MSN Lifestyle, food pairing is the key to shedding those last stubborn pounds. The reason food pairing is important is because certain foods, despite their individual health benefits, when combined can result in low energy, bloating, and even weight gain. In contrast, smart pairings can have a reverse effect, boosting energy and super-charging metabolism.
Bell peppers and egg scramble.
Eat This Not That explains eggs have a metabolism-boosting nutrient known as choline, while peppers fight fat-accumulating hormone cortisol with vitamin C. Eating this for breakfast sets your body up for a full-day of fat frying.
Whole grain pasta and asparagus
When you add a lean protein, like chicken or fish, to this dish, you get a power meal. MSN Lifestyle reminds dieters that carbohydrates are not the enemy. When paired with non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and bok choy, whole grains do not accumulate around the mid-section.
Honeydew and red grapes.
This fruit salad combines a natural diuretic (melon) with antioxidants that prevent fat storage, says Eat This Not That. This combo also follows the advice of MSN Lifestyle, which says fruit should be eaten alone, because when combined with other foods, can lead to gas and bloating.
Yogurt and Cinnamon.
This power breakfast or mid-day snack is a miracle for weight loss, says Eat This Not That. The combination combines calcium, vitamin C, and antioxidants that improve insulin sensitivity. For additional benefits, look for a vitamin-D fortified yogurt.
Spicy salsa and chicken
Self explains spicy food increases the rate at which calories are burned. When proteins are combined with spicy foods, your body not only burns calories faster, but also stays full longer.
Apples and peanut butter.
This classic diet combo really does work. According to Self, when a carbohydrate like an apple is paired with a healthy fat like peanut butter, the healthy fat digests more slowly, meaning you stay full longer and end up eating less overall.
Bananas and spinach.
It sounds like a strange combination, but when blended together with almond-milk in a smoothie, bananas and spinach are actually quite tasty. Spinach boost safety, while the resistant starch in slightly green bananas makes you feel fuller longer and reduces abdominal fat. The potassium in the fruit has the added benefit of reducing bloating, says Eat This Not That.
Garlic and fish.
The omega-3s in fish are known to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, says Eat This Not That. While it’s unclear why garlic helps people lose weight, a convincing study published in Nutrition Research and Practice found women who ingested 80 milligrams of garlic extract a day for 12 weeks lost weight and reduced their BMI significantly. You know what you’re having for dinner!