A study from Tel Aviv University found that people who had a carbohydrate- and protein-packed breakfast followed by dessert lost more weight than those who started the day with a low-carb, sugar-free meal. Participants who indulged in a small treat—chocolate, a doughnut, a cookie, or a piece of cake—reported feeling less hungry and having fewer cravings throughout the day. At the end of the eight-month trial, they'd lost an average of 45 pounds, compared to just 11 pounds for the low-carb dieters.
Torn between the gazpacho vs. tuna tartare starter? Order the gazpacho. According to research out of Penn State, eating low-calorie soup before a meal triggers people to consume an average of 20 percent fewer calories overall. Obvi, stick to healthy, brothy options instead of fat-bombs like cheddar-broccoli or New England clam chowder.
3* Oatmeal Topped With Walnuts
Nuts are hard for your bod to digest because they're so dense. As a result, they stay in your system longer and extend that feeling of fullness for hours. "Pair nuts with a carbohydrate, like a small smear of peanut butter on whole wheat toast," suggests Crandall. "Carbs give you energy and the nuts delay the release of that energy so your blood sugar remains stable." The upshot? You'll be less likely to cave when Ben & Jerry beckon.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who drank a cup and a half of milk a day lost nearly twice as much weight as those who consumed just a half a cup. How come? The milk drinkers had higher levels of vitamin D, which is associated with weight loss. "Any nutritional deficiency slows your metabolism, causing you to hold onto weight," explains Crandall. And since nearly half of Americans lack adequate D, dairy products can counter the effect.
5* A Homemade Sandwich
Women who went out for lunch at least once a week shed less poundage than those who brought their own food to work. Researchers from the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center, which conducted the study, pointed out that you don't have as much control over ingredients and portion size at restaurants. Of course, that's true no matter when you go out to eat—but the strongest correlation was found with lunchtime meals.
Load up on leafy greens at the salad bar; they're surprisingly filling. "You get a huge quantity of food for a very low calorie count," says Crandall. "Plus, a big salad takes a long time to finish, which helps make you feel full." According to Crandall, most people consume a meal in 5-10 minutes, but it takes 20 minutes for our satiety signal to kick in and tell us that we've had enough—so the slower you eat, the less you ultimately consume.
7* Dark Chocolate
It's way more filling than milk chocolate, according to findings from the University of Copenhagen. People who ate 100 grams of dark chocolate and then were given free reign to pig out on pizza ate 15 percent less food than when they'd nibbled on 100 grams of milk chocolate pre-meal. Participants also reported fewer hankerings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.
Foods high in potassium (melon, avocado, bananas) act as natural diuretics, helping you shed excess water retention.
8* A Breakfast Burrito
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that females who ate a high protein breakfast—like a breakfast burrito, egg-based waffles with applesauce and a lean sausage patty, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese—felt fuller and snacked less than women who'd skipped their morning meal or had cereal.