lentils

Photo: MmeEmil/istock

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Optimize your salad toppings

Instead of: Croutons, crunchy noodles, cheese
Try: Beans, lentils, chickpeas

A salad can either make for a metabolism-stoking lunch or a metabolism-tanking one. To keep it running right, pack your greens with ingredients that contain both fiber and protein. "Your body uses a greater percent of calories to convert protein and high-fiber carbohydrates into energy versus carbohydrates and fat," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area. The difference may be modest, but fiber and protein also deliver sustained energy to power you through the afternoon, she says. Gorin recommends getting this metabolism-friendly duo with pulses, or beans, lentils and chickpeas. "Eating just three-fourths of a cup daily can help you lose an additional pound over a six-week period, one study found," says Gorin.