Want to lose weight as you chow down? Your wish is granted! (I promise, this is no fairy tale.) Your supermarket is filled with foods that studies show have lipid-melting powers to help melt fat and keep you slim. Stock up on these fat-fighting super bites, and you'll be trimmer even as you indulge. Read on to discover the eight foods that deserve a permanent spot in your fridge—and in your diet!
Almonds These yummy nuts are high in alpha-linolenic acid, which can accelerate your metabolism of fats. In fact, dieters who ate 3 ounces of almonds daily slashed their weight and body-mass index by 18 percent, while those who skipped the nuts reduced both numbers less— just 11 percent—a study in the International Journal of Obesity revealed. Chomp almonds à la carte (limit yourself to 12 per serving to keep calories in check). I get a pack at Starbucks and nibble throughout my day. Or sprinkle them into a recipe such as Black Bean–Almond Pesto Chicken. Go nuts!
Berries I tell my daughter, "These are nature's candy!" Turns out they're also your body's best friends. Strawberries, raspberries and other vitamin C–spiked fruit can supercharge your workout, helping you burn up to 30 percent more fat, research from Arizona State University at Mesa has found. If they're not in season, buy the little gems frozen in a bulk-sized bag so you'll always have them on hand to whip up a Berry Bliss Smoothie or Strawberry-Sunflower Pops, regardless of whether berries are in season.
Cinnamon Adding 1/4 teaspoon to your plate may prevent an insulin spike—an uptick that tells your body to store fat. Sprinkle it on your morning cereal or coffee or on your yogurt in the A.M., or savor it in Apple-Cinnamon-Raisin Oatmeal.
Mustard It's heaven on a soft pretzel, but mustard may also be a weight loss wonder. Turmeric, the spice that gives mustard its color, may slow the growth of fat tissues, a study in the journal Endocrinology finds. Use it on sandwiches instead of mayo, or sprinkle turmeric on cauliflower pre-roasting to give it a kick. Try it on tuna salad—I promise it adds zest.
Oranges This citrus fruit, which contains fat-blasting compounds known as flavones, deserves to be your main squeeze. Women who ate the most flavones had a much lower increase in body fat over a 14-year period, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes. Eat oranges sliced or swig fresh OJ (including pulp!) to get the best benefit from the fruit.
Soybeans Reason to toss a half cup on your salad? Soybeans are rich in choline, a compound that blocks the absorption of fat and breaks down fatty deposits. Oh, and they're addictively delish! But if breast cancer runs in your family, experts suggest you should talk to your doc before adding soy to your diet.
Sweet potatoes The colorful spuds' high-fiber content means they keep your insulin steadier than their white sisters, which means less fat packed on your hips, research finds. Top a small baked tater with lowfat cottage cheese for a tempting side dish, or whip up Miso Soup With Sweet Potato Dumplings.
Swiss cheese Calcium-rich foods reduce fat-producing enzymes and increase fat breakdown, and Swiss has more calcium than many of its cheesy peers. Choose the reduced-fat variety, such as Sargento. Slip it into your sandwich, put it on top of high-fiber crackers or use it for a healthier grilled cheese. Yum!
For other tricks to eating your way to your healthy, happy weight, load up on these 20 slimming superfoods at Self.com.
Lucy Danziger, SELF Editor-in-Chief