The best food for weight loss can help you look and feel your very best. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, one of the most basic aspects is eating foods that are good for you. This is not only important for your overall health, but also for weight loss. If you eat foods that are filled with empty calories, you’ll be hungry more often. When you are hungry all of the time, chances are you will overeat! Here are some great choices for effective weight loss.
Best Food For Weight Loss
Greek yogurt has almost twice as much protein as other yogurts. It takes longer to leave your stomach, keeping you satisfied longer. Plus, you burn more calories digesting protein than carbs. Choose nonfat, low-fat, and low-sugar types.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a nutritional all-star that belongs in your weight loss plan. This whole grain has 8 grams of hunger-busting protein and 5 grams of fiber in one cup, and you’ll also get iron, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. Quinoa is as easy to cook as rice. For a quick dinner, mix in some vegetables, nuts, or lean protein.
Some studies suggest cinnamon may have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels. This could curb your appetite, particularly in people with type 2 diabetes. Nearly everyone can benefit from cinnamon in its traditional role. Stir some into your coffee, tea, or yogurt to add sweetness without adding calories.
Hot peppers have a flavorless chemical called capsaicin. It’s more plentiful in habaneros, but jalapeños also have it. Capsaicin seems to curb appetite and speed up metabolism slightly, but only for a short time. It probably doesn’t have a big impact on weight, unless you eat less food because it’s spicy.
Several studies suggest green tea may promote weight loss by stimulating the body to burn fat. Green tea contains catechins, a type of phytochemical that may briefly affect the metabolism. To get the most benefit, you may need to drink green tea several times a day. Try taking your tea hot, because it takes longer to drink, providing a soothing, mindful experience.
Grapefruit doesn’t have any magical fat-burning properties, but it can help you feel full with fewer calories. That’s because its soluble fiber takes longer to digest. Having half a grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice before a meal fills you up, so you eat fewer calories during the meal.
Foods that are rich in water take up more room in your gut. This signals the body that you’ve had enough to eat and leaves less room for other foods. Many raw fruits and vegetables are full of water and nutrients and low in calories. Watermelon is a great example. It’s a good source of the antioxidant lycopene and gives you some vitamin A and C, too.
Pears and Apples
Pears and apples are also high in water content. Eat them with the peels for extra fiber, which will keep you full longer. Go for whole fruits rather than fruit juice. You’ll get more fiber, and you have to chew the fruits. This takes longer and you’ll burn a few calories chewing, as opposed to gulping down a smoothie.
Grapes vs. Raisins
Compare 2 cups of grapes to 1/4 cup of raisins. Either choice has a little more than 100 calories, but you’ll probably be more satisfied with the grapes. Dried fruit has its place. When used sparingly, a few raisins or dried cranberries can liven up a salad.
Like other fruits, berries are high in water and fiber, which can keep you full longer. They’re also sweet, satisfying your sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories you would get from cookies or brownies. Blueberries are a good example because most stores carry them and they’re loaded with antioxidants.
Raw vegetables make an outstanding snack. They satisfy the desire to crunch, they’re full of water to help you feel full, and they’re low in calories. Half a cup of diced celery has just 8 calories. Coat celery with a little peanut butter or dunking carrots in salsa. When you’re in the mood for chips and dip, replace the chips with raw veggies.
Think of the typical toppings on your baked potato — butter, sour cream, maybe cheese and bacon bits. If you substitute a sweet potato, you might not need any of that. Baked sweet potatoes are so full of flavor, they don’t need a lot, unless you want to try a sprinkle of cinnamon. This can save you loads of calories. As a bonus, sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber.
One egg has only 75 calories, plus 7 grams of protein along with other vital nutrients. Remember, your body will burn more calories digesting eggs than a carb-heavy breakfast. And the good news is that eggs are no longer on the “no-list” for people concerned about high cholesterol. It’s saturated fat not dietary cholesterol we need to be wary of.
It sounds too good to be true: One of your favorite beverages may rev the metabolism and help you lose weight. Coffee does stimulate the metabolism, but only a little. Don’t count on this for weight loss, especially if you add calories with toppings.
Oatmeal has three things going for it: fiber-rich whole-grain oats, lots of water, and it’s hot. It’s a very filling combination. Hot food takes longer to eat, and all that liquid and fiber will help you feel full longer. Avoid super-sugary oatmeal. Stirring in cinnamon or nutmeg will give you a sweet taste with less sugar.
Whole-grain rye crackers, sometimes called crispbreads, offer a low-fat, fiber-packed alternative to traditional crackers. Research suggests people who replace refined grains with whole grains tend to have less belly fat. Whole grains also provide a richer assortment of plant nutrients. This doesn’t just apply to crackers. You can get the same benefits by switching to whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas.
A standout whole grain is bulgur wheat, the type found in tabouli. It’s high in fiber and protein but low in fat and calories. That helps you fill up with a minimum of calories. It also tastes great. To turn this dish into a meal, you could add beans and stir in extra tomato, cucumber, and parsley.
Soup — we’re talking broth-based, not creamy — has a lot going for it. It’s full of water, which fills you up with the fewest possible calories. It’s hot, which prevents you from eating too much. Have it before a meal, and soup can take up space that might have gone to higher-calorie foods. You can also make a satisfying, low-calorie meal out of soup alone by adding chicken, fish, cut-up vegetables, or beans.
Another way to fill up before a meal is by eating salad. Lettuce has plenty of water content to take up space in the stomach. That leaves less room for fattier foods that might come later in the meal. Make your salad interesting by adding a variety of fruits and vegetables or grated cheese. Be careful about dressing, which can add a lot of calories.
Dress your salad with oil and vinegar. It’s easy to make and it’s full of flavor that can make salad more satisfying — and it has fewer calories than most pre-made dressings.
Nuts are an excellent way to curb hunger between meals. They’re high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Studies suggest nuts can promote weight loss and improve cholesterol levels when eaten in moderation. They’re also rich in calories, so limit your portions. If you have to get them out of their shell, you’ll slow down and not eat as much.
Three cups of plain, air-popped popcorn may seem like a lot, but you’re not getting a lot of calories. All that air adds volume without adding fat or sugar.
Skim milk provides plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D with none of the fat found in whole milk. And even though it’s fat-free, skim milk can help you feel full. It takes longer to leave the stomach than drinks with less protein.
You know that protein can keep you full longer and burn more calories during digestion. Choose your protein carefully. Dark meat tends to be high in fat, which could cancel out some of the benefits. Skinless chicken breast is a great choice. And some cuts of beef can make the grade. Flank steak, eye of round, and top sirloin are extra-lean with less than 4 grams of saturated fat per serving. Stick with a 3- to 4-ounce portion.
One of the best sources of protein is fish. Most fish is low in fat, and the exceptions usually have a good form of fat: omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s, which are found in salmon, herring, and other fatty fish, may help protect against heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Beans are a vegetable, a protein, and a great source of fiber. You feel full for very few calories. Open a can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and toss them into soup or salad, or mash them up to use as a dip. One cup packs 12.5 grams of fiber, just 4 grams of fat, and almost 15 grams of protein.
Fat Burning Foods For Weight Loss
A simple salmon dinner can help you lose weight fast, as this delicious lean fish packed with protein and omega-3s.
“Salmon is a fantastic source of high-quality protein which is beneficial for weight and fat loss as the body must work harder to digest it,” explains David Weiner, a Nutritionist and Training Specialist at AI-based fitness and lifestyle coaching app Freeletics. “In addition, salmon is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which are shown to reduce inflammation and promote fat burning, with studies showing that fish oil supplementation can help to reduce weight and the stress hormone cortisol, which is also linked to fat storage.”
Indeed, one 2015 study into omega-3 found these friendly fats helped with a “reduction in abdominal fat”. Whilst another study found that salmon – compared against cod and fish oil capsules – was the most effective for weight loss overall.
There’s further good news too. As one serving of salmon contains around two thirds of the nutrient selenium – which your body needs for a healthy thyroid. This is especially important, as your thyroid holds the key to an efficient metabolism.
With this in mind, make sure to stock up on salmon on the weekly supermarket shop.
2. Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek yogurt good for you and delicious. It’s also scientifically proven to help burn body fat too.
“Greek yogurt can really help with fat burning but it needs to be the full fat variety,” says Suzie, a clinical nutritionist from Feel Alive UK.
“Firstly, full fat Greek yogurt contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which promotes fat burning. And secondly, probiotics naturally found in the yogurt support the good gut bacteria which is key to any weight loss programme.”
This is important, Suzie notes, as the more overweight the person, the more imbalanced the bacteria in their gut. And it’s this imbalance that makes it harder to lose fat overall.
As for Greek Yogurt’s fat-burning qualities – researchers in Journal of Nutrition study reported that the amino acids, vitamin D and calcium it contains speed ups fat burning. And this was certainly proven by one University of Tennessee study. Participants who cut calories and ate just over 500g of yogurt daily lost an incredible 81% more belly fat than their counterparts.
Suffice to say we’ll be drizzling over our granola and adding to our morning smoothies in the hopes of reaping the same rewards.
3. Dark Chocolate
It seems that dark chocolate is good for you, your body AND your waistline. Win-win!
According to nutritionist David, it reduces sugar cravings, leaves you feeling full and fires up your metabolism.
“Dark chocolate is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids which help boost your metabolism,” says David. “And as a result you will burn calories faster.
“However, when choosing dark chocolate make sure you check the ingredients as many are still packed full of sugar.”
What’s more, science has shown that giving in to the evening chocolate munchies might actually work in our favour. In one 2021 study, women who ate chocolate at night (compared to those during the day) had a better metabolism and lost weight from around their middle after two weeks.
But be warned: whilst there was evident weight loss, researchers advised against regularly overindulging in chocolate due to its overall high calorie content.
Our experts have given these cute tiny trees the green light as one of the best fat burning foods for weight loss.
“Broccoli and its counterparts – like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts – are super high in fibre and nutrients that keep your body burning fat,” says registered dietician Claire Muszalski of MyProtein.
Broccoli contains calcium, which is good for both healthy joints and weight loss, according to researchers. One University of Tennessee study found that calcium in fact controls how fat is processed and stored in the body. And that the more calcium in a fat cell, the more fat that cell will burn.
Meanwhile, Scientists at Kanazawa University in Japan delved into the science of broccoli further. And credited the chemical Sulforaphane, found in this mighty green veg, as the key to fighting flab.
They discovered this chemical not only encourages brown fat cells to speed up your metabolism, but it also helps to beat the bloat after a particularly salty meal.
A word to the wise though – steaming this green superfood is the best way to reap the full fat-burning effects. This is because steaming broccoli gives you the best chance of absorbing it’s nutrients. And of course frying broccoli carries extra calories if seasoned and brushed with olive oil.
Nibbling nuts on the regular has a number of nutritional benefits to our bodies, says nutritionist David.
“Nuts, specifically almonds, are a great source of magnesium and healthy fats. These healthy fats also provide antioxidants, which both fight and repair the damage caused by inflammation,” he tells us.
Indeed, almonds in particular are something of a fat burning superfood, according to one US study. With overweight participants who enjoyed almonds as part of a low-calorie diet losing 50 percent more fat overall and around their weight compared to the other test group.
“They’re also a good source of protein, and as such they require the body to use more energy during the digestive process which can boost your metabolism and help burn more calories,” he adds.
And this was certainly the case with one European Journal of Nutrition study which find those who included nuts in their diet were at less risk of gaining weight or becoming obese.
So far, so good. But Suzie notes that whilst peanuts may be tasty, these are not the nuts in question when discussing fat-burning foods.
“Though nuts are really healthy, they are high in fats (although mainly healthy fats) but they do need to be eaten in moderation in order for any benefits to be noticed,” she adds.
6. Green Tea
Glugging a mug of green tea can do wonders for your waistline. With this herbal tea hailed as on of the best fat-burning foods out there.
“Green tea is known to be thermogenic, or a fat-burner,” Suzie tells us. “It’s loaded with antioxidants called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps speed up metabolism. Plus green tea also contains a small amount of caffeine, and research has found it to speed up metabolic rate and increase fat-burning if drunk before exercise.”
She’s not wrong either, with one German study finding that the antioxidants in green tea promoted fat breakdown. Then there’s the University of Birmingham study which reported that men who took a green tea extract before a workout burned 17 percent more fat than those who didn’t. So be sure to sip some regularly before a gym session for maximum potential.