There is an unhealthy misconception that you have to starve yourself to lose weight, when in fact, the opposite is true. Fueling up with healthy fats, fiber, nutrients, vitamins and minerals can help prime your body for weight loss, and there are specific foods that can help you do so. Eat This, Not That! has compiled a list of some of the most weight-loss friendly foods on the planet that can help you achieve your health goals the right way. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these 19 Ways You’re Ruining Your Body, Say Health Experts.
These green soybeans, a common delicacy at your local Japanese restaurant, are packed with vitamins and minerals such omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C, Emily Rubin, RD, LDN, Director of Clinical Dietetics Celiac Center, Fatty Liver Center, Weight Management Center at Thomas Jefferson University, reveals to Eat This, Not That! “One cup of edamame has 8 grams of fiber, 17 grams of protein, making it a high-fiber, high-protein food that is going to keep you feeling full and satisfied,” she explains. Plus, they are only 180 calories per 1 cup serving. Edamame can be purchased fresh, frozen, dried and even in pasta form. “Add them to any stir fry, salad or even blend them up into a hummus. The dry roasted edamame are a top snack I recommend to my patients with weight-loss goals,” she says.
Cauliflower is very low in calories at 25 calories per 1 cup serving, yet high in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, Rubin reveals. “This veggie is extremely versatile and can be turned into rice, mashed potatoes and even pizza crust, which in turn, will save you 100s of calories,” she explains. Cauliflower contains a high amount of fiber at 3 grams per cup, which is important for digestive health-such as constipation and may reduce obesity, due to its ability to promote fullness and reduce overall calorie intake.
Rubin explains that these “miracle” tiny black seeds offer antioxidants, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients, but most importantly fiber. “They contain 11 grams per 1 ounce serving, meeting one third of your daily fiber requirements in just one serving,” she says. When chia seeds are added to yogurt or any fluid, they expand into a thicker consistency adding fullness to your meal. And, they have about 14% protein, which is high compared to other plant foods. “Next time you eat Greek yogurt, add chia seeds to fill you up for hours,” she suggests.
Berries are the lowest sugar fruit with highest nutrients—including fiber— and have been linked to aid in weight loss, according to Rubin. Raspberries contain the highest fiber (6.5 grams) followed by blackberries (5.3 grams). Strawberries and blueberries each contain 2.4 grams of fiber. “Berries have been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels which may reduce your risk of heart disease,” she explains. “At 60 calories per serving, berries can be incorporated into any weight loss diet—paleo, low carb diets, Mediterranean, vegetarian, and vegan.” How should you eat them? She suggests adding them to oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies and salads as a “healthy and flavorful add-in.”
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein, calcium and potassium and can help you feel full for a few calories. “Greek yogurt has twice as much satisfying protein and half the sugar of regular yogurt. An average serving, depending on the brand, can have 12 to 17 grams of protein,” Rubin reveals. Another benefit is the probiotics in the yogurt, which are the healthy bacteria that can help with digestive issues but may help with weight loss. An added bonus? People who have lactose intolerance may also find Greek yogurt easier to digest. And, another pro is that Greek yogurt can be substituted for many higher calorie foods, such as cheese, cream, and mayo.
Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 and DHA, explains Nona Djavid, nutrition and weight loss expert and founder of SoulScale. “It’s also a nutrient necessary for proper thyroid function, which is important to keep your metabolism running optimally.”
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Eating leafy greens is a great way to increase the volume of your meals—without increasing the calories—says Djavid. “They have several properties that make them perfect for a weight loss diet, such as being low in calories and carbohydrates and loaded with fiber,” she explains. Additionally, leafy greens contain essential wholefood prenatal nutrients like calcium, iron and folate, and tons of vital daily dietary fiber. Leafy greens include dark green vegetables like kale, spinach and swiss chard. “There are endless ways to include your greens into your daily diet, from eating raw in salads, sauteed, blanched, and steamed,” she says.
Eggs are incredibly nutrient dense and can help you get all the nutrients you need on a calorie-restricted diet, explains Djavid. Fun fact: almost all the nutrients are found in the yolks. “Compared to refined carbs like bagels, eggs can suppress appetite later in the day and may even promote weight loss,” she adds.
Avocados are a crowd go-to favorite for healthy fat, explains Djavid. “They also happen to be high in potassium, folate and Vitamin K, which helps your body to properly absorb other vitamins,” she explains. An easy way to enjoy an avocado? Slice it, and drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt.
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Djavid suggests spicing up your life to lose weight. “Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a substance which has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in some studies,” she says. “Eating spicy foods that contain chili peppers may reduce your appetite temporarily and even increase fat burning.”
Nuts help improve metabolic health and promote weight loss, and “can make a healthy addition to an effective weight loss diet when consumed in moderation,” Djavid explains. “They’re an excellent snack, containing balanced amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats—make sure not to go overboard!”
Beans and legumes include lentils, black beans, kidney beans and some others. “They are a good addition to your weight loss diet,” maintains Djavid. “They’re both high in protein and fiber, contributing to feelings of fullness and a lower calorie intake.”
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Christina Towle, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Founder of Hudson Valley Nutrition, points to many scientific studies that link tea and weight loss. She recommends three different types.
- Black Tea: Towle explains that belack tea has unique flavonoids that are proven to support weight reduction. “I recommend a high-quality one like this BOH tea direct from Malaysian Plantation,” she says. “The purer, the more potent in key fat-reducing ingredients.”
- Green Tea: Compounds in Green Tea, specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), increase hormones that help break down fat cells, Towle states. “An easy way to consume green tea, especially in the summer, is to look for a green ice-tea like this one from Harney Teas.”
- Sleep Tea: Teas aimed at helping you sleep will not only help you get your zs. “We encounter sleep studies daily on how sleep and stress-reduction aids in weight loss,” Towle reveals. “To assist with sleep that is much healthier than prescription medication, I recommend sleep tea like Rest Assured from Good Pharma that contains JuJube Seed proven to promote relaxation and also CBD Tea that calms.”
Towle is a big fan of prepared foods—but not the kind that you get in the freezer aisle—for achieving weight loss goals. “When we’re stressed for time, it’s easy to grab junk food, which will halt weight loss,” she explains. “I tell clients that if they don’t have time to prep and portion, that they should seek out a healthy food delivery program.” She is a huge fan of vegan food delivery from GO Buddha that offers light, healthy, perfectly portioned and, most importantly, delicious meals “so you feel satisfied and won’t reach for a chocolate bar.”
Protein combined with Greens is a win-win for weight loss, according to Towle. “This combo provides all the antioxidants and nutrients to support metabolism, increase energy to burn fat, and also fills you up so you aren’t reaching for more food,” she says. However, make sure you find one that isn’t made for weight-gain nor contains whey, “that will literally add weight.” Two of her picks include Female Lean Protein from True Nutrition
Sipping broth throughout the day calms and satisfies without adding calories, suggests Towle. “I typically drink one-or-two cups of this vegan broth from Grace’s Goodness Organics,” she reveals. “It is infused with cayenne that is known to boost metabolism, stimulate circulation, and regulate blood sugar…all important for weight-loss!”
Also, have good-for-you treats on-hand when you feel like you may need to indulge guilt-free, urges Towle. “Physiologically, knowing you ‘can will support you in your path towards living lean and help you stay positive,” she explains. “I have a few cases of this plant-based Double Rainbow ice-cream at all times.” And now that you’ve got a great foundation, don’t miss these additional 19 Weight Loss Foods That Really Work, Say Experts.