If you are trying to lose a few pounds then you already know that exercising alone is not enough. A healthy, low-calorie diets is just as important as exerting, But if you want to speed the process along, these healthy, filling meals and snacks that can help you not only weigh less but also feel your very best.

Oats

Oats are filling, which makes it hard to believe that they can help you lose weight. But eating a portion in the morning for breakfast as part of a low-calorie diet is a great way to provide your body with slow-release, natural energy throughout the day, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer and can even lower your cholesterol.

Eating a breakfast made with “slow-release” carbohydrates, such as oatmeal or bran cereal, three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat, eating “slow-release” carbohydrates will spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates, such as white toast. In turn, insulin levels doesn’t spike as high and because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower levels may help you burn fat.

Avocados

Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fats, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and E and it has been linked to improved vision, good heart health, and a reduced risk of certain cancers. And avocados can also help whittle your middle: according to one study, people who regularly consume them weigh less and have smaller waists than those who do not. Another study found that women who eat half an avocado at lunchtime might experience reduced food cravings later in the day.

There are countless ways to enjoy the fruit (yes, technically it is one), but you can’t beat the classic combination of whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds. Sass also recommends whipping avocado into a smoothie, pureeing it with herbs and citrus juice to make a creamy salad dressing, or adding it to a veggie omelet.

Eggs

There has been a misconception that eating only egg whites is best, but go ahead and eat the whole thing. It tastes better, and half the protein is found in the yolk. Proteins like those found in eggs yolks stimulate the release of the hormone glucagon that aids in fat burning and actually fights off belly fat. The egg yolk has vitamin E in it, plus will help keep you fuller longer. Prep for the week by boiling half a carton of eggs to keep on hand for easy snacking.

Cinnamon

Don’t underestimate the power of cinnamon … it’s not just for baking anymore. You can get weight loss benefits simply by adding more cinnamon to your diet. Just consuming a teaspoon a day is showing positive results. What causes the magic? It’s the way that cinnamon helps to regulate your blood glucose levels. These levels play a major part in how you feel throughout the day — how energetic you are or how sluggish you feel. Maintaining good blood sugar levels can also help you crush cravings. Just make sure that you’re not counting that cinnamon on your cinnamon roll!

Cherries

Cherries may not only protect the heart and mind, but they may help you lose a pound or more. Drinking tart cherry juice could boost the fat-fighting enzyme (anthocyanin) that helps the body oxidize fat better and it may help with muscle pain after a workout as well. Researchers from the Journal of Medical Food found rats that consumed cherry powder along with a fatty diet did not gain as much weight as those rats that didn’t have the cherry powder. In the process, inflammation was reduced in the body and lipids were reduced in the blood, which are factors that contribute to weight gain. “The rats’ blood showed much lower levels of inflammation, which has been linked to diseases like heart disease and diabetes,” the study concluded.

Apple

An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away but also helps you to lose weight. The richness of fiber in apple helps to keep you fuller for longer. A medium sized apple contains 4 grams of fiber, which is 16 per cent of daily recommended fiber for women and 11 per cent of what men need. This fiber also improves your digestion and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut which helps to improve the metabolism and lose weight.

Mushrooms

If you are vegetarian looking for a something to replace the meat with in all your favorite and yummy looking food items, then this is the perfect choice. In a study at the Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it was found that replacing red meat with white button mushrooms helps you not just reduce your calorie intake but also shed some weight. Each cup contains only 44 calories when compared to lean red meat which had 6 times the amount. They have also been said to be just as satisfying as red meat.

Shrimp

Three ounces of shrimp contain 101 calories and only 1 g of fat, yet pack in 19 g of protein, which fills you up so you eat less later. They’re also a good source of selenium and energy-boosting B vitamins. Just be sure to skip the butter-soaked and deep-fried kinds in favor of sautéed, roasted, boiled, and grilled. For the cleanest, healthiest shrimp that are also kindest to the environment, opt for farmed US shrimp (hard to find, but the safest) or wild-caught shrimp from Alaska and the Gulf Coast.