What food will make you lose weight? Eating is a very pleasurable activity. In the United States, there are many people taking food out of their diet. Many people who are trying to lose weight have a hard time finding the right food that they enjoy eating, which leads them to eat less. The main reason for this article is to list foods where you can lose weight, and I will also give tips for success after losing weight.
What’s the best diet for healthy weight loss?
Pick up any diet book and it will claim to hold all the answers to successfully losing all the weight you want—and keeping it off. Some claim the key is to eat less and exercise more, others that low fat is the only way to go, while others prescribe cutting out carbs. So, what should you believe?
The truth is there is no “one size fits all” solution to permanent healthy weight loss. What works for one person may not work for you, since our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors. To find the method of weight loss that’s right for you will likely take time and require patience, commitment, and some experimentation with different foods and diets.
While some people respond well to counting calories or similar restrictive methods, others respond better to having more freedom in planning their weight-loss programs. Being free to simply avoid fried foods or cut back on refined carbs can set them up for success. So, don’t get too discouraged if a diet that worked for somebody else doesn’t work for you. And don’t beat yourself up if a diet proves too restrictive for you to stick with. Ultimately, a diet is only right for you if it’s one you can stick with over time.
Remember: while there’s no easy fix to losing weight, there are plenty of steps you can take to develop a healthier relationship with food, curb emotional triggers to overeating, and achieve a healthy weight.
How to make healthy food choices to lose weight
- Go for variety. Buy a new fruit, vegetable, or whole-grain product each time you shop for groceries, to keep from getting bored.
- Limit sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates such as white bread and white rice, and alcohol.
- Limit smoked or pickled foods. They tend to have a lot of salt and nitrates.
- Eat small portions (no more than 6 to 7 ounces a day) of lean meat or poultry without the skin.
- Eat lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day and 3 ounces or more of whole grains. You will feel full longer and may be less tempted by junk food.
- Cover your plate with nutrient-dense, fresh foods. Fill two-thirds of your plate with fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, and one-third or less with meat and dairy products.
- Drink water or drinks with little added sugar if you’re hungry between meals, eat fruit, unsalted nuts or vegetables. Avoid lemonade, sweetened ice tea, and juices.
- Keep fresh, nutrient-dense snacks on hands, such as:
- carrot and celery sticks
- bite-sized pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, or other vegetables
- unsalted nuts
- apple slices
- orange sections
- peach slices
- frozen berries
- whole-grain pretzels
- air-popped popcorn
- flavored decaffeinated coffee
- fruit tea or herbal tea
- water flavored with lemon or lime
- broth or bouillon
How to cut fat out of your daily diet
|Instead of:||Substitute with:|
|Cooking oil in baking recipes||Applesauce|
|Sour cream on baked potatoes||Fat-free yogurt|
|Whole milk||Skim milk|
|Ice cream||Fat-free frozen yogurt|
|Butter||Fat-free soft margarine|
Foods That Help You Lose Weight and Satisfy Your Stomach
Eat Your Beans to Fill Up With Fiber
There are lots of reasons to put beans on your shopping list. Firstly, beans are an excellent source of fiber, and any food that’s high in fiber will be filling, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet: The Ultimate Weight Loss Prescription. One-half cup of black beans, for example, has 7 g of fiber, or 28 percent of your DV. One-cup of red kidney beans has 8 g of fiber, or 32 percent of your DV. And one-half cup of garbanzo beans has 6 g of fiber, or 24 percent of your DV.
Plus, fiber helps to fill you up without adding any calories to food (since our bodies can’t digest fiber), explains Kelly Kennedy, RD, staff nutritionist for Everyday Health. Fiber also takes longer to digest and adds bulk to food, she adds. A small study published in ISRN Obesity found that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet increased satiation and reduced hunger.
Beans also stimulate the production of the gut hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which slows gastric emptying and can help to suppress appetite, Kennedy notes. All of these benefits may lead to weight loss. A study published in April 2014 the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics found that a high-fiber, bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for losing weight.
Meal Prep Inspiration A veggie chili or a bean-based stew will fill you up without weighing you down, suggests Kennedy. She also loves the convenience of canned beans, which can be rinsed (to reduce the sodium content) and added to a rice dish or on top of a salad for more protein and fiber.
Savor Salmon to Feel Full, Longer
Why put salmon on your list of foods for weight loss? Among its many health benefits, salmon is a great source of protein — 3 ounces (oz) of wild Atlantic salmon has about 22 grams of protein. In a small study published in the journal Obesity, researchers at Purdue University found that men who were trying to lose weight felt full longer when they ate higher amounts of protein at each meal. The participants, who were put on a low-calorie, high-protein diet, also reported fewer food cravings throughout the day and didn’t crave unhealthy snacks late at night.
Protein-rich foods are filling foods because “protein is metabolized more slowly than fats or carbohydrates,” explains Dr. Gerbstadt. Salmon is also one of the best sources of heart-healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids, adds Kennedy.
Meal Prep Inspiration Try baking or grilling salmon — you can have a 3-oz portion for dinner and flake the leftovers over salad greens for lunch the next day, says Kennedy.
Enjoy Eggs for a Protein-Rich Breakfast
In an eight-week study published in the International Journal of Obesity, overweight men and women who ate two eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who ate bagels. Eggs may help with weight loss because they are high in protein (one large egg has about 6 g), and it requires more energy to break down a protein than it does a starch, which many breakfast foods, including bagels, cereals, and muffins, are made up of, Dr. Kantor suggests.
If you’re worried about high cholesterol, you may want to consider eating more egg whites than yolks, but odds are you don’t have to worry too much. Some people are considered “hyper-responders” to dietary cholesterol (cholesterol in the foods we eat), but it’s a small percentage of the population, says Kennedy. For the majority of people, eating foods with cholesterol does not significantly affect their blood cholesterol levels. The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is that most people should eat seven yolks or less per week.
Meal Prep Inspiration Add hard-boiled eggs to your salad for a low-calorie protein, or try egg whites and cucumber with salt and pepper for a snack, says Kennedy.
Nosh on Nuts to Decrease Your Appetite
Nuts pack in protein and fiber, according to the Mayo Clinic, which makes them filling foods. A daily serving may also help you lose weight, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2018 in Chicago. Another study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that people on a 12-week diet that included a handful of mixed nuts daily had higher levels of serotonin, which is a hormone that can decrease appetite, than those who didn’t eat nuts.
However, the calories from nuts and nut butters can add up quickly because they are such a rich source of healthy fats, says Kennedy. While this fat is not a bad thing and is actually good for you, it’s important to keep an eye on portion size when consuming nuts. Kennedy recommends keeping your portion size to 1.5 oz, or a small handful of nuts, each day. (The amount of fat differs from nut to nut; for example, 1.5 oz of whole almonds have about 21 g of fat). If you find that you’re not losing weight, take a look at your portion of nuts again and see if you need to make adjustments. It’s also important to choose nuts without any added fat, sugar, or salt, which can decrease the overall healthfulness of the nuts, Kennedy advises.
Smart Snacking Tip Thinly spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter on a piece of whole-wheat toast for breakfast and add a sprinkle of slivered almonds on steamed green beans at dinner, says Kennedy.
Pop Some Popcorn for a Guilt-Free Snack
Your stomach lags behind your brain — it takes about 20 minutes for digestive hormones to send the signal to your brain that you’re filling up, says Kennedy. That’s one reason popcorn is high on Gerbstadt’s list of foods that can help you lose weight: It takes a long time to eat popcorn, and the more slowly you eat, the more likely you are to start feeling full before you overdo it.
Popcorn is also a good source of fiber, making it a filling food, too, says Kennedy. One cup of air-popped popcorn has 1.2 g of fiber, but since a serving of popcorn is usually considered to be more than 1 cup, the fiber adds up. To be considered a good source of fiber, a food has to contain just 2.5 g of fiber — this can be reached at just (about) 2 cups of popcorn.
Smart Snacking Tip Use a hot-air popper and you’ll save on fat and calories, Gerbstadt says. Or pop your corn on the stove with a minimal amount of oil, suggests Kennedy.
Foods You Should Eat Every Week to Lose Weight
1. Chia Seeds
When it comes to weight loss, fiber is king. It’s satiating because it slows digestion and keeps us feeling fuller longer. This is super important when we’re cutting back on calories, a common approach to weight loss. Consuming a serving of chia seeds, roughly 2 tablespoons, satisfies a whopping 40% of daily fiber needs. And they’re easy to incorporate into meals, especially breakfast and snacks, with foods like breakfast pudding, berry jam and energy balls. Bonus—chia seeds are one of the best foods to help you go No. 2!
2. Fatty Fish
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming two servings of seafood each week because it contains essential fatty acids that we can only get through our diet. In addition to supporting heart and brain health, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, sardines and tuna may help to reduce body fat. Seafood is also high in protein to help curb hunger, keeping us full for hours. Fresh fish is great, but can be pricy to purchase every week. Consider frozen fish fillets or shrimp, which tend to be less expensive, and don’t overlook canned seafood to whip up easy salmon patties, quick sardine toast or a classic niçoise salad.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens like kale and arugula. Their health benefits are vast, and a growing body of research links regular consumption of these vegetables to a lower risk of cancer and reduced inflammation. They’re also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them the perfect nonstarchy addition to any weight-loss plan. These vegetables are simple to include throughout the week. Use them as the hearty base for meal-prep salads or as a low-carb swap for grains, or blend them into smoothies.
4. Whole Grains
Many people may think they need to give up starches like pasta, bread and rice when they’re trying to shed pounds. Thankfully this isn’t the case, especially if we’re choosing whole grains most of the time. In addition to vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and quinoa contain fiber to keep us feeling satisfied. Plus, our bodies and brains prefer energy from carbohydrates, so consuming these foods alongside protein and healthy fats can help reduce cravings for refined carbs and sugar, which can sometimes sabotage weight-loss efforts.
Like vegetables, fruits are a smart addition to any healthy weight-loss plan. Apples are especially good to have on hand throughout the week because they’re inexpensive, keep for weeks in the fridge and make for a super-portable snack. You can also get creative and work them into meals. Apples are delicious atop salads and toast or whirred into soups and smoothies. Because of their high water content and fiber (be sure to eat the skin), apples are low in calories and filling. Research suggests these factors play a role in helping people lose weight.
6. Fermented Foods
Gut health is a trending topic these days, and for good reason. In addition to supporting immunity and good digestion, a healthy balance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract may help to promote fat burning. Aim to include a few bites or sips of probiotic-rich foods most days, in addition to eating prebiotics (like bananas, asparagus, legumes and onions) which provide fuel for our healthy gut “bugs.” Good sources of probiotics include kefir and yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and tempeh.
All nuts can be included in a healthy weight-loss diet. They’re satiating and satisfying thanks to their healthy fat, fiber and protein content. The key is portion control, as a serving of nuts (about ¼ cup) ranges between 160 and 200 calories. Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, coming in at 160 calories per serving. In addition to being delicious, pistachios come with a slew of health perks. Studies suggest these pretty green nuts can be protective against type 2 diabetes, promote a healthy gut and improve cholesterol levels. And eating them two or more times per week may reduce the risk for future weight gain. We suggest buying pistachios in shells—shelling them as you snack is a simple way to promote mindful eating!
The egg really is the perfect protein, especially when it comes to weight loss. Eaten at breakfast, eggs have been shown to enhance weight loss as part of a reduced-calorie diet. Plus, incorporating enough protein-rich foods like eggs at breakfast may keep evening snack cravings at bay. They’re also economical and versatile enough to meal-prep ahead for grab-and-go snacks and lunches for the week, or to top a power bowl at dinner.
Best Foods That Melt Stubborn Belly Fat
Eggs are the single best dietary source of the B vitamin choline, which is an essential nutrient used in the construction of all the body’s cell membranes. Two eggs will give you half your day’s worth; only beef liver has more. And believe us, starting your day with a slab of beef liver does not make for a great morning.
But as more and more research is done into the mechanisms of fat genes, the value of eggs has only grown. Choline deficiency is linked directly to the genes that cause visceral fat accumulation, particularly in the liver. One of the reasons heavy drinkers develop fatty liver is that alcohol undercuts the body’s ability to process choline.
Yet, according to the 2005 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, only a small percentage of all Americans eat daily diets that meet the U.S. Institute of Medicine’s Adequate Intake of 425 milligrams for women and 550 milligrams for men. Start your day with eggs, and enjoy some other sources like lean beef and seafood.
More and more research has begun to show that some fruits are better at fighting belly fat than others. And the master fruits all have one thing in common; they’re red, or at least reddish. These fruits include ruby red grapefruit, tart cherries, raspberries, strawberries, Pink Lady apples, watermelon, plums, peaches, and nectarines.
Olive oil—and other healthy fats
Though it may seem counterintuitive to add fat to a meal if you’re trying to lose fat, eating a moderate portion of unsaturated fats, like the kind found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts, can ward off the munchies and keep you full by regulating hunger hormones. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40% decreased desire to eat for hours afterward.
Changing the kind of fat in your diet will also help you increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids while reducing omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oil and fried foods); upping your ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s has been proven to improve metabolic health and reduce inflammation.
Beans, brown rice, oats, and other healthy fiber
Grains get a bad rap because of their carbohydrate content. And now, more and more studies are looking at the effects of gluten, the protein found in wheat, not just as a culprit in weight gain but because of possible long-term health effects like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
But not all grains are created equal. Gluten-free whole grains like quinoa contain a nutrient called betaine, an amino acid that positively influences the genetic mechanism for insulin resistance and visceral fat.
So stop thinking in terms of “grains” or “carbs” and start thinking of healthy fiber. The right fiber sources provide your body with energy and feed lean muscle mass while keeping you full all day. In addition to filling fiber, some of the best foods that melt belly fat include beans, lentils, oats, quinoa, and brown rice contain magnesium and chromium—two incredible nutrients that combat cortisol (a stress hormone that directs fat to be stored around the waist) and keep down insulin production (high levels of the hormone also encourage fat to pile on around the belly).
Extra plant protein
Plant-based protein powders are a low-sugar, high-fiber alternative to popular dairy-based supplements. A study by the University of Tampa that compared plant protein to whey found it to be equally effective at changing body composition and boosting muscle recovery and growth. But with less sugar and a healthier fat profile, plant-based proteins will also improve your gut health at the same time as they’re fueling your muscles. Hemp, rice, and pea proteins are all good options; however, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting a complete protein with a full amino acid profile, which is why a blend that combines all three is superior.
Lean meat and fish
Protein is kryptonite to belly fat, and the building block of a lean, toned belly. When you eat protein, your body has to expend a lot of calories in digestion—about 25 calories for every 100 calories you eat (compared with only 10 to 15 calories for fats and carbs). Protein is also more filling. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a meal that’s high in protein as opposed to carbs increases satiety by suppressing the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin.
Now, you may be tempted to grab one of those expensive protein bars instead of sitting down for a decent meal. But the effect isn’t the same. Not only are you getting a lot of extra sugar and chemicals, but you’re not getting the same fat-fighting effects. Studies show that your body burns more calories digesting whole foods than it does processed foods. In addition, lean meats are key sources of choline, which we already established is a nutrient that helps turn off the genetic triggers that lead to fatty liver—a new epidemic linked to visceral fat—and methionine and vitamin B12, which unplug genes linked to diabetes and weight gain.
Leafy greens, green tea, and brightly colored vegetables
Low-energy-density foods like vegetables are crucial for melting belly fat, because they add essential nutrients, filling fiber, and volume to meals, all for relatively few calories. Bright colors signal that the vegetables are rich in polyphenols, micronutrients that help to control diet-induced inflammation. Green tea carries catechins, some of which can “turn off” the genetic triggers for diabetes and obesity. And vegetables, especially the leafy kind, have a low glycemic load—meaning they fill your body up with nutrients without generating a spike in blood sugar.
Your favorite spices and flavors
New research has shown that piperine—which is released when the waiter from the fancy restaurant uses that giant pepper grinder in front of your face—has some stunning magical powers. In animal studies, piperine has been shown to fight depression, inflammation, and arthritis and enhance the action of other nutrients. In human studies, it’s been demonstrated to improve your ability to get a nice tan while spending less time in the sun. Who knew all that could come from a simple pepper grinder?
Research is showing that herbs, spices, and flavorings do more than add extra bite to your food and help you reduce salt intake. Yellow mustard seeds have high levels of anti-cancer compounds called glucosinolates; cinnamon has been linked to improved insulin response, and compounds in turmeric and horseradish have been shown to impact the behavior of your fat-storage genes, while ginger packs high levels of health-boosting phytonutrients. Bottom line: adding yellow, black, and brown spices to your meals means you’re boosting the health benefits across the board, while also calming your desire for more salt and sugar.