A vast majority of overweight people try to lose weight by cutting down on the amount of food they eat. This only leaves them feeling hungry and dissatisfied.
Many of us completely avoid losing weight or fail to stick to our weight loss resolutions simply because of the fear of ‘feeling hungry’ all the time. If you too have thrown in the towel on weight loss because of this fear of feeling hungry and deprived, then take heart: there is another way.
This effective method of weight loss aims for slow and steady weight reduction through consuming foods that fill you up without having to consume too many calories. The best weight loss foods below also stay within your calorie needs and contain tons of water, fibre and other nutritionally beneficial ingredients including vitamins, minerals and essential omega-3 fatty acids.
So let us take a look at the 33 best weight loss foods which you can include in a sensible diet plan to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
1. Eggs - Boiled or Poached
Eggs have often been condemned due to their high cholesterol content. The fact is: every cell of our body needs cholesterol as it forms an integral part of the cell’s membrane and eggs are super nutritious. They are packed with B-vitamins, proteins and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
It is due this reason that they are now being touted as nature’s multivitamin. They are also one of the healthiest foods containing antioxidants which help boost the body’s metabolism and immunity. The satiety factor of eggs is also very high making them one of the best foods to eat for weight loss.
Yes, milk features very high up on the list for best foods to lose weight. It is the first food mammals consume for the first few months of life. Milk has been specifically designed by nature for nurturing and nourishment. So unless you are lactose intolerant make it part of your weight loss routine.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, milk and other dairy foods can actually help one with the battle of the bulge. Calcium, vitamin D, protein and 9 other key nutrients in milk can help one fill up the gap that is invariably created when one is cutting back on calories.
Most varieties of beans, and especially black beans, pack in 15 grams of proteins to keep you satisfied and full longer. Also, unlike other proteins sources such as red meat, beans do not contain saturated fats. Beans are also rich in fibre and slow to digest. This helps you remain full longer.
Beans, legumes and pulses boost satiety and curb cravings for processed snacks. Preliminary research published in Applied Psychology Nutrition and Metabolism has shown that amino acids like arginine and glutamine in Fava and red and black beans as well as lentils have been linked to 50% boost in post-meal calorie burning.
Oats, as most of us are already aware, are packed with tons of fibre and fibre, as we all know, is linked with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and weight. But what most people may not know is that oats are also rich in prebiotics.
Prebiotics are non digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the host gut. This combination of fibre and prebiotic content in oats is especially beneficial for weight loss. Oats also contain complex carbohydrates that boost metabolism and keep you full longer.
Make sure you buy old fashioned non-processed or steel cut oats, not the flavoured packets with added sugar, dried fruit and salt.
Avocado is very high in fat content and at first glance might not seem like an apt entry in the best foods for weight loss list. But people looking to lose weight must not shy away from good fats like the ones contained in avocados.
Avocados contain monounsaturated oleic acid which is a good fat that is also found in olive oil. It is one of the best sources of omega-3 essential fatty acid as well as protein. Avocado contains 20 vitamins and minerals and has a high antioxidant content that significantly improves assimilation of other nutrients. Thanks to all these health benefits, avocado is one of the best foods for weight loss.
Salmon is not a fat burner; but the main reason why it fits in with most weight loss diet plans is its high lean protein content and low calorie content. A single 3 ounce serving of salmon only has up to 140 calories. It is very important to choose wild salmon instead of farm raised ones because wild salmon has more minerals than farmed varieties and is lower in calories.
Salmon is extremely rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content. A study has shown that dieters who ate MUFA rich foods lost an average of 9 pounds where their low–fat diet counterparts gained 6 pounds.
Broccoli is one of the foods you should be eating if you are looking to lose weight. This is because of its high calcium intake and study after study has already shown us how calcium is necessary for healthy weight management. Additionally, broccoli is low in calories and loaded with vitamin C that helps with calcium and iron absorption. The fibre content of broccoli is also high, so it keeps you full longer.
8. Brown Rice
Replacing white rice and other refined grains with brown rice can help you lose weight and also keep it off. White rice has now been linked with Type 2 diabetes.
Research published on brown rice has shown that it is nutritionally much superior to white rice and does not lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. It also has higher vitamin and fibre content that keeps you full longer.
Brown rice is also one of the low-energy-density foods which, simply explained, means that it is low in calories but higher in satiety index. Half cup of brown rice daily can help boost metabolism and also burn fat.
According to an article in the Harvard Times, eating fruits, especially berries like blueberries and strawberries, 3 times a week could foster weight loss. A single cup serving of berries gives you only 80 calories but nearly 4 grams of fibre to help you remain full longer.
Berries are already considered superfoods due to their high antioxidant and vitamin content. But they also have the power to trim fat. Research conducted on animals has shown that the rats that were fed with berries along with low fat meals actually had excess fat trimmed from their bellies. The lead researchers of the study also concluded that blueberry intake directly affects the genes related to fat burning and storage.
The results highlighted the potential of blueberries to reduce cardiovascular disease and Metabolic Syndrome which can lead to heart attacks, diabetes and strokes.
Dr Steven Bolling, a heart surgeon and head of the laboratory, stated: 'Our findings in regard to blueberries and the naturally-occurring chemicals they contain, show promise in mitigating health conditions.'
Several people have tried the cabbage soup diet and most have seen fantastic results. The diet consists of eating large quantities of cabbage soup per meal. However, I definitely do not recommend such restrictive diets as they are nothing but fad diets.
I certainly recommend adding plenty of cabbage to your regular meals especially if you are looking to lose weight. Cabbages contain complex carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Being rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant, cabbage can stimulate and boost your immunity.
According to trainer Jillian Michaels, cabbage has a lot to offer people who are on a low calorie diet plans. This is because; a single serving of this vegetable contains only 17 calories and half a cup of boiled cabbage only gives you 4g of carbohydrates making it perfect even for low carb dieters.
The special compounds in cabbage also help control weight by limiting the dips in blood sugar levels which lead to unhealthy food cravings. In 2009, researchers in South Korean University in Seoul tested this theory on diabetic mice. Feeding diabetic mice with cabbage helped stabilize the blood glucose levels and also limited and curbed food craving. You can read more about the experiment here.
Another cruciferous vegetable with absolutely zero fat content is cauliflower – naturally, it features high up on our list of the best foods that can help you lose weight. Vegetarian and vegan dieters love adding cauliflower to their meatless meals on account of its strong taste which imparts tons of flavours to otherwise bland meals.
Crunchy cauliflower florets are ideal to snack upon, and you can even use grated cauliflower in place of regular wheat flour to make pancakes or other gluten free recipes. In fact cauliflower flour is a favourite of paleo dieters many of whom use it to make wraps, burgers, paleo-friendly breads, cakes etc. Cauliflower can be mashed up and served in place of regular mashed potatoes in traditional or festive meals.
The main reasons why cauliflower is one of the best foods to lose weight on are: it is low in fat and carbs, it is packed with tons of omega-3 essential fatty acids that regulate body weight and support metabolism, and its high fibre content also beats bloating and helps you stay regular.
When it comes to weight loss foods, all green leafy vegetables are winners. But the one that stands out and deserves a special mention is kale. Kale is being hailed as 'king’ when it comes to foods that help fight weight gain. Kale is extremely high in fibre content and it also contains high amounts of calcium.
Kale is also a member of the cruciferous vegetable family; these vegetables are extremely rich in vitamins A and C as well as folic acid. All these nutrients help with weight loss by reducing oxidative stress in the body. Also, nearly half of the fibre content in cruciferous vegetables is super healthy soluble fibre that is essential for keeping the weight off.
If you have been searching for best fruit for weight loss apart from berries, then the answer is watermelon. Watermelons have 90% water and a single 100g serving contains just 30 calories. It also contains amino acids arginine which helps give that satisfied feeling to keep you full longer and prevent unhealthy food cravings. This fruit also keeps you hydrated.
You can easily use watermelons in entrees, salads, fruit infused waters as well as in desserts.
The old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, is indeed true since apples are now being linked with cancer prevention. Additionally, apples also give you cleaner teeth and can boost immunity while reducing digestive issues.
But what most people might not know is that eating an apple before meals can help you lose 33% more weight than people who choose not to eat one. A medium sized apple only contains approximately 50 calories-so if weight loss is your New Year’s resolution, apples must be present in each of your shopping lists.
When it comes to best vegetables to eat to lose weight, you might have heard about peppers. Just like red hot chilli peppers which produce a thermogenic effect causing the body to burn more calories, green and red bell peppers can also help counter the fat from your mid section.
It is recommended that you eat a cup of these bell shaped vegetables at least 3 times a day to experience their fat burning properties. Peppers contain dihydrocapsiate - a metabolism stimulating compound which works in tandem with vitamin C in the peppers to counteract stress hormones. Once these hormones are regulated, you will start to see the pounds melting off.
Whilst we are on the topic of vegetables that are great to lose weight, I must mention pickles. A single serving of this low calorie vegetable contains only 15 calories but it is enough to pack tons of flavour to your sandwich.
Additionally, pickles contain plenty of fibre to keep you full longer. So include plenty of pickles in your diet if you are looking to get that lean and toned look.
Pears are extremely versatile and you can eat them raw or stewed or even add them to your breakfast smoothies and cereals. Pears contain natural sugars which can help satisfy sugar cravings. This fruit is also available all year round and weight watchers can enjoy its health benefits every day.
Pears also contain tons of fibre, decent amounts of copper, vitamin C and trace amounts of boron which is needed for good bone health. Pears are rich in antioxidants, flavonols and carotenoids such as quercetin which is now being studied for its anti-carcinogenic properties.
Pears are stomach filling, cholesterol reducing and also packed with heart-healthy potassium to prevent heart diseases. Do add pears to your daily diet to reap these numerous benefits.
We all have heard about runway models eating just half a grapefruit daily to remain stick thin. This might seem to be an extreme step but adding grapefruit to your diet before each meal is a great way to keep your calorie intake low. You can eat an entire grapefruit for breakfast or eat half grapefruit before each meal to lose up to a kilogram of weight in just one week.
The main reason why grapefruit is one of the superfoods to lose weight is its insulin-reducing action. It even destroys the fat storage capacity of cells leading to thinner and leaner look. The water content of grapefruit is also very high like in watermelon - so you feel full and curb unnecessary food cravings.
Most nuts are great for snacking for weight watchers as they help control food cravings between meals. A handful of nuts such as hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts can help you go longer without food so you can limit yourself to 3 healthy meals per day.
Research conducted on obese adults kept on a low calorie diet showed that by adding almonds to the daily food, lost even more weight than those on a low-fat diet. Almonds are super rich in healthy fats and they are also a great source of proteins. So go on and add handful of soaked almonds to your cereal or your mid-morning/mid-afternoon snacks.
20. Green Tea
It is no secret that green tea is the weight watchers’ elixir. Green tea is packed with antioxidants catechins and polyphenols which, when combined with moderate amounts of exercise, can boost weight loss.
Research showed that mice that were adequately exercised and fed green tea extracts had better weight loss outcome thanks to lower plasma insulin levels and lower blood glucose levels. It is essential to select decaffeinated green tea only so that you stimulate your body to use up the energy obtained through food. You can drink up to 3 cups of green tea daily to reap weight loss benefits.
A surprising entry in the superfoods for weight loss list is banana and that also includes banana peels! Most of us do not eat banana peels but you should note that they actually contain lutein, several B-vitamins, vitamin A as well as tons of antioxidants. All these elements help boost our body’s health and metabolism.
You can also choose green plantains or green skinned bananas for cooking as they are rich in calorie-free carbs and potassium. Research has actually shown that simply by eating 2 peels of bananas for 3 days, can help increase the feel good hormones such as tryptophan, dopamine and serotonin levels in the body by nearly 15%.
These feel good hormones help reduce hunger pangs associated with a negative state of mind. So, the next time you feel the need to reach out for comfort foods, opt instead for green banana skins and keep the weight off.
22. Dark chocolate
Chocolate lovers looking to lose weight - rejoice! Although I would not eat chocolate every day, according to Prevention Magazine, eating a bar of chocolate daily can help boost your weight loss efforts by nearly 10%. Dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa helps reduce the digestion and absorption of fats and carbs.
The satiety factor of dark chocolate is also very high - so eating a piece before or after meals can reduce calorie intake and curb sweet cravings. Numerous studies have also shown the positive effects of dark chocolate on keeping arterial walls free from cholesterol.
Dark chocolate reduces inflammation and eating 1 ounce of dark chocolate 6 times weekly can reduce risk of diabetes by 34%. So taking a few bites of this delicious treat every now and then is definitely a good idea.
Oranges are very low in calories; a single medium orange contains only 50 calories making it one of the best fruits for weight loss. An Australian research also places this fruit high up on the list of filling foods. Oranges are packed with vitamin C to curb inflammation and help you burn fat.
According to a June 2005 study published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers found that individuals with adequate vitamin C intake burned fat at a rate of 30 percent higher during exercise than those with low amounts of vitamin C in their diet.
You can always start your morning with a glass of orange juice (make sure it is unsweetened or even better - freshly squeezed) but eating the fruit is always better since you get tons of fibre that helps you keep full longer. Oranges also belong to the low energy density food list, which means you can eat plenty of them without affecting your daily recommended calorie intake.
24. Potatoes - Boiled or Baked
Potatoes are a surprising entry in the best foods for weight loss list owing to their high carbohydrate and starch content. However, it is this very starch that makes the spuds rate high in the satiety index list which means, eating potatoes can actually keep you full longer.
A study conducted on potatoes for weight loss concluded that eating 5 to 7 servings of potatoes weekly along with low calorie and low glycemic Index (GI) foods helped people lose the same amount of weight as the control group that went without any GI limits but had potatoes included the diet.
Naturally, it is important to use potatoes healthfully and wisely. Boiled, grilled and baked potatoes are best and you can eat them with a dash of olive oil instead of butter. Two small potatoes (170 grams) only contain about 130-150 calories so you can enjoy them in your low calorie diets.
25. Pumpkin seeds
Apart from nuts, seeds are also powerful weight loss boosters. Some of the best seeds for weight loss are pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds and flax seeds.
Seeds contain tons of zinc, iron and magnesium which help you remain energetic throughout the day. Studies have shown that eating a handful of seeds can alleviate anxiety and fatigue. Protein rich seeds also keep you satiated and promote lean body mass.
The high levels of tryptophan in pumpkin seeds promote restful sleep at night. This in turn boosts productivity so you feel energized and ready to take on the day. Hemp seeds are also great for weight loss as they contain nearly 5.3 grams of proteins and 40 calories in a serving size of just 1 tablespoon.
Quinoa, which is actually a seed and not a grain as the common misconception about it suggests, makes a wonderful addition to any low fat or low calorie diet. This pseudo-grain cooks up wonderfully to make a filling and hearty meal. It is a rich source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and soluble fibre. It also contains healthy fats, magnesium and zinc.
Low carb dieters avoid quinoa since it is slightly higher up in carbohydrate content. However, experts are now suggesting that the carbs found in quinoa do not get stored, but are completely used up for energy. This makes quinoa one of the best foods to eat to lose weight. Weight watchers could aim to get at least 1 cup serving of quinoa 2-3 times a week.
27. Coconut oil
If you think oils need to be avoided when one is trying to lose weight, think again! Certain oils, especially coconut and olive oil, are incredibly beneficial for weight loss. Coconut oil is actually being touted as the world’s best oil for weight loss. By adding coconut oil to your diet, your body can burn the abdominal fat. So if you are looking for a flatter belly, start cooking your meals in coconut oil.
Paleo dieters are also known to fry, grill, and sauté or bake using coconut oil. Epileptic patients on a ketogenic diet have seen amazing results with coconut oil in the form of reduced epileptic attacks. The medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) in coconut oil go straight to the liver where they get used up for energy rather than being stored as fat.
Another study to support the fact that coconut oil is good for weight loss can be found here. It suggests that rats overfed with MCFA resulted in diminished body weight and reduced deposition of fat.
The reason why lettuce makes an amazing salad addition is its crunchy texture. Additionally, lettuce leaves are one of the lowest-calorie greens available in the market. 100g or one shredded cup of fresh Romaine lettuce only gives about 12-15 calories and also keeps you full.
Besides being low calorie food, lettuce is also low in carbs and high in soluble fibre and water content that makes it perfect for weight watchers. The soluble fibre in salad greens keeps one full longer and you also reap tons of other benefits in the form of its phyto-nutrients.
Lettuce leaves are packed with vitamin A, C and K. It is no wonder lettuce is jokingly called as rabbit food but it is actually the ‘perfect weight loss food’. 3 daily servings of lettuce can actually provide you with 20% protein by calories.
Radishes are cruciferous vegetables having strong spicy flavour and a crunchy texture which makes them a great addition to salads or as garnishes. This low fat, low-calorie food is perfect for snacking on, especially if you are looking to lose weight. It is a highly filling food with a high satiety index. A single serving of red radish will only increase your energy gain by approximately 12 calories. You will additionally get up to 1 g of fibre per ½ cup of radish.
The high fibre content in radish along with other natural compounds is also beneficial for binding with LDL cholesterol; so eating radishes is good for you if you are looking to decrease your cholesterol levels. Radishes also contain folic acid, potassium, vitamin C and sulphur.
You must not forget the green leaves of radishes; they contain 6 times the vitamin C and more amount of calcium than the red roots. Diabetics and weight watchers must try and eat these low glycemic Index foods for getting the stipulated daily 25g of fibre.
Singer Kelly Osbourne claims to have trimmed down several dress sizes by eating plenty of mushrooms. Even pop-star Katy Perry attributes her slim and svelte figure to a diet rich in mushrooms. You can eat mushrooms as is: raw, sautéed or baked and you would only gain about 38 calories per 100g of these babies.
These low GI foods are digested uniformly and slowly by your bod, so there is no spike in your blood glucose levels which lead to unhealthy food cravings. The best way to lose weight using mushrooms is to replace one meal with them for a period of 14 days. Read the experiment here, wherein Anna, the test subject lost 1 inch from her hips and waist at the end of a fortnight (on the mushroom diet plan).
These fungi have high protein content and are the only item in the produce section that is packed with Vitamin D. Mushrooms are also full of iron, zinc and B-vitamins making them wonderful foods for hair, skin and nails. Portobello mushrooms are a fantastic substitute for meat and can be grilled, stuffed or baked in delicious recipes.
31. Greek Yogurt
While Greek yogurt has no special weight loss powers, as a higher source of satiating protein than regular yogurt, it may be a better choice for those who want to lose some weight.
So if you're trying to drop a few kilos or pounds, consider including Greek yogurt in your diet. A small container of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt has up to 17 g of protein and only 6 g of carbohydrates.
Did you know that according to a 2015 study published in Food Science and Nutrition, getting a higher percentage of your calories from protein offers a number of benefits when it comes to weight loss, including better hunger control, preservation of muscle mass and an increase in your calorie-burning power.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of yogurt, why Greek yogurt is a better choice for weight loss and health than plain yogurt and how to choose quality, real Greek yogurt, I invite you to read my recent article Health Benefits of Yogurt: Simple Snack or a Powerful Remedy.
32. Lean Meat
Unless you are a vegetarian, beef, poultry and fish all belong on a weight loss menu. As long as you choose lean cuts, don't deep fry and don’t add a lot of fat during cooking you can enjoy a serving for only about 150 to 200 calories.
Your weight loss efforts will also benefit from the high amount of protein in a serving, and if you choose fish or organic meat, the omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce abdominal fat.
In the past, meat has been considered a less healthy option and often blamed for all sorts of health problems but recent studies indicate that this is not the case. A 2010 study published in Circulation determined that 'consumption of processed meats, but not red meats, is associated with higher incidence of CHD and diabetes'.
Grilled, skinless chicken (breast especially) can be a great addition to any weight-loss plan
and eating it will help you fill you up without the extra calories. A small portion of skinless chicken breast has only about 100 calories. Avoid fried chicken because it contains more calories and fats.
So include lean meat in your diet but avoid processed meats and sausages as they are high in fat and contain preservatives as well unhealthy chemicals.
33. Fermented Foods - Sauerkraut and Kimchi
Fermentation is way to naturally preserve food that has been used for centuries around the world. It generally does not require refrigeration but you can refrigerate foods after fermenting to help them last longer.
There are many foods that can be fermented. Some are good for weight loss and they include breads, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and wine.
Fermentation preserves the food enzymes and probiotics. Fermented foods are loaded with beneficial nutrients so they will benefit your health in many ways on top of weight loss. Consuming food that is fermented can even lower your sugary foods cravings.
A 2011 study published in the academic journal Nutrition Research found that people who ate the Korean fermented food kimchi on a regular basis weighed less and had lower blood pressure than people who did not eat it regularly. These results suggest that kimchi may affect obesity, lipid metabolism, and inflammatory processes.
If you want to make sauerkraut like many Polish people do, you only only need salt and cabbage. The lactic acid bacteria that are present on raw cabbage will initiate the fermentation process. Place shredded cabbage with salt in a jar and in a few days you will be able to eat your own sauerkraut along with large amounts of lactobacilli, healthy probiotic bacteria that will help you with digestion and a robust immune system.
I hope this list of best foods to eat to lose weight will help you with your weight loss goals. As with any diet plan, you are more likely to be successful if you select foods which suit your lifestyle and fulfill your calorie needs.
Today, experts believe that restrictive diets are usually fad diets which do not show positive long-term results. Such diets might give you rapid results, but these may not be sustainable. This is where the list of foods for weight loss can help.
These fruits, vegetables, nuts, meats, oils and seeds are packed with proteins and fibre to keep you full longer. They are also ideal for burning calories and have a stabilizing effect on the blood sugar levels. Majority of these 'super foods' help curb appetite and boost metabolism. Moreover, they can be eaten before meals or as part of main meals so you end up eating a lot less calories and finally lose weight forever.
Did I miss any good foods to eat to shed kilos easily? What are you favourite choices?
Latest posts by Barbara Komorek (see all)
- 30 Best Green Vegetables for Health and Weight Loss - June 21, 2017
- Dieters Tea Review: 5 Special Brands for Rapid Weight Loss - June 8, 2017
- Health Benefits of Red Onions: The Next Big Superfood - June 1, 2017