Best way to work them in: Eat a pear before a meal to help curb hunger. Ditch the peeler, though; most of the fruits beneficial fiber is in the skin.
GrapefruitWhy you need them: According to researchers at Scripps Clinic in California, eating half a grapefruit before each meal may help you lose weight—up to one pound a week—even if you change nothing else about your diet. The studys author, Ken Fujioka, MD, says a compound in grapefruit helps regulate insulin, a fat-storage hormone. “Anything that helps lower insulin can help people lose weight,” he explains. “Grapefruit seems to be one of those foods.”
Best way to work them in: Peel and segment; cut into chunks and add to spinach salad. Its also a great companion with shrimp or peeled, sliced jicama.
AlmondsWhy you need them: Eating a handful of almonds a day, along with a healthy diet, might help you zap fat, suggests research published in the International Journal of Obesity. Diet-study participants who ate almonds daily for six months lost 18% of their body fat. Those who followed a diet with the same amount of calories and protein but swapped almonds for an equal number of calories in complex carbs (like wheat crackers) lost only 11%.
Best way to work them in: Theyre a great at-your-desk snack—22 almonds add up to one serving. Another idea: chop them finely and add them to oatmeal or yogurt.
ChocolateWhy you need it: Cant resist a little rich chocolate? No need to: Dark chocolate—and other foods high in antioxidants—may help prevent the accumulation of fat cells in the body, a precursor to heart disease and obesity, according to new research from Taiwan published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
Best way to work it in: Melt a half-ounce of dark chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds and spread it on half a graham cracker; its just 98 calories.
Navy beansWhy you need them: They're loaded with resistant starch, a powerful fat burner (one half-cup serves up nearly 10 grams of resistant starch). If you eat navy beans and other foods rich in resistant starch at just one meal a day, youll burn 25% more fat than you would otherwise, according to researchers at the University of Colorado.
Best way to work them in: Saute diced onion and garlic in olive oil, add two cans of drained navy beans; puree and serve.