Sure it's low-cal and low-carb, but a cup of this sweet orange melon also provides more than a hundred percent of the day's vitamin A. This fat-soluble nutrient helps maintain eye and skin health in addition to boosting immune function. Although cantaloupe tastes great on its own, it also pairs well with cottage cheese, another item that made this list!
Bust out your slow cooker and make some chili. A pot of chili will last you all week long and is perfect for any season and for any meal. Vegan chili is super easy; all you need are some spices, a couple cans of beans, and simple vegetables like corn, onion, and tomatoes. Chili is adaptable and tastes super with other ingredients like beer or sweet potatoes. This Three Bean and Sweet Potato Chili is a vegan wonder as you just need to add your ingredients and let them simmer. Same goes for this Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Chili. Chili also makes for an extraordinary make-ahead meal. For the more adventurous, add some vegan sour cream or cheese for an extra indulgence. To use up those leftover pantry goods, this Frito Chili Pie is an American bar-food staple that definitely suits a lazy vegan lifestyle. For more slow cooker ideas beyond chili, try using protein-packed lentils in stews and soups.
For a sweet fix, try mixing mandarin oranges canned in their own juice with a couple tablespoons of light whipped topping. The oranges give a great hit of vitamin C and other antioxidants, and the light whipped topping gives the snack an indulgent feel (a feeling you often miss when you're watching what you eat). "This is a good substitute for ice cream when you're dieting," adds McLachlan.
If you're sacrificing snacks to cut calories, stop—to lose weight, you need snacks. "Snacking is an opportunity to fuel your body between meals," says nutritionist Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet. Healthy snacks ensure you won't be ravenous come mealtime and keep your fat-burning metabolism revved up. Here are 21 nutritionist-approved choices for both store-bought and make-your-own snacks. Each nosh packs 150 to 200 calories, is filled with good-for-you nutrients, and will make you feel like your diet is about anything but deprivation.
"When I'm looking to get a little leaner, I reach for raw flax crackers topped with avocado. I prefer raw flax crackers over the wheat variety because they don't contain gluten, which can make me a little puffy. They are also intensely rich in omega-3s, which helps produce radiant skin and a faster brain!" — Dana James, nutritionist and founder of Food Coach NYC
If you're craving something sweet and sinful, grab this mini pack of jelly beans. With just 4 calories in each bean, they're the slimmest way to enjoy cotton candy, toasted marshmallows, and strawberry shortcake. As an added bonus: Jelly Belly uses real fruit purees to flavor their beans. It's still candy in every sense, but it's certainly the lesser of many sugar-loaded evils.