Want to remember this? Post this guide of the best weight loss foods to your favorite Pinterest board! And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest
-Mind Your Damn Fitness-
Exercise is only half the battle when it comes to losing weight. To really tip the scale (literally) in your favor, you also need to consider what you put in your mouth. Knowing the best weight loss foods is key to shaping your eating habits in a manner that helps burn fat and shed pounds.
Eating low-calorie foods may be the most obvious path to losing weight. But fortunately, low-calorie diets aren’t the only way (or even the best way) to reach your weight loss goals and sustain a healthy weight.
In this ultimate guide to the best weight loss foods, we’ll explore three food categories that should find their way into every weight loss plan.
- Metabolism-Boosting Weight Loss Foods
- Ultra-Filling Weight Loss Foods
- Zero-Calorie Weight Loss Foods
1. Metabolism-Boosting Weight Loss Foods
Metabolism is the way your body converts calories from the items you eat and drink into energy.
When you’re at rest – like when sitting in a chair or sleeping in bed – your body is still at work burning energy to fuel important functions, like circulating blood, breathing, and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses for these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate.
When people use the word “metabolism”, they are usually referring to basal metabolic rate. And so a body with a “fast metabolism” burns more calories at rest than one with a “slow metabolism”.
Eating weight loss foods that boost your metabolism can be an effective way to lose weight.
Eggs and lean meat
Eggs and lean meat, like beef and chicken, are excellent sources of protein. Studies have shown that eating a high-protein diet can boost metabolism through a mechanism called the thermic effect of food.
Our bodies burn calories to digest, absorb, and process the various nutrients in the foods we consume. Therefore, the thermic effect of food is at play whenever we eat food.
However, all foods are not created equally when it comes to burning calories during digestion and absorption. The thermic effect of processing fat is 0–3%, and it’s 5–10% for carbs. But foods high in protein (like lean meat) land on this best weight loss foods list because they can boost the metabolism by 15–30%!
Nuts are another great source of protein, with the added benefit of dietary fiber and healthy fats. Studies have shown that nuts that grow in the ground (like peanuts) and in trees (like almonds, cashews, and walnuts) have a positive impact on metabolic health and can help promote weight loss.
While nuts are great for snacks, just make sure you don’t over do it as they are fairly high in calories.
Quinoa is a pseudocereal that is botanically related to spinach. One of the main reasons quinoa lands on this best weight loss foods list is because of its iron content.
Iron is required for the proper function of your thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism. One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa provides 2.8 mg of iron, which corresponds to roughly 15% of the recommended daily intake.
Quinoa also contains more protein than other grains, so it can also help boost metabolism through its thermic effect during digestion.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contributes to weight loss in a number of ways, making it one of my favorite weight loss foods. Not only does it suppress appetite, aid in digestion, and control blood sugar and insulin levels, but it also boosts your metabolism.
Not many studies in humans have been done, but studies in animals suggest that apple cider vinegar increases an enzyme called AMPK. This, in turn, decreases fat and sugar production in the liver and enhances the body’s fat burning power.
When it comes to boosting metabolism, there are lots of weight loss foods to consider. But to really crank up your body’s metabolism, consider adding in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your exercise routine. Check out this post for an awesome at-home HIIT workout to optimally boost your body’s fat-burning power.
2. Ultra-Filling Weight Loss Foods
An out-of-control appetite can be the difference between success and failure when it comes to losing weight. One of best ways to manage your hunger and feel fuller for longer is by eating foods rich in fiber.
Fiber, which cannot be digested or used for energy, may be more commonly known for its ability to keep us “regular”, but it also plays a vital role in keeping us feeling satisfied for longer.
Since fiber comes in a variety of food sources, including grains, cereals, beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, it shouldn’t be too difficult up your fiber intake. Check out the table below for some of ultra-filling fiber-rich weight loss foods. Just keep in mind that whole foods generally offer more nutrition than processed foods, so opt for high-fiber foods that are as close to their natural form as possible.
|Lentils (1 cup, boiled in water)||
|Chia seeds (1 ounce)||
|Artichoke (1 medium)||
|Avocado (1 cup, cubes)||
|Lima beans (1 cup, boiled in water)||
Raspberries (1 cup)
|Pear (1 medium)||
|Oatmeal (1 cup, cooked in water)||
*For adults or children aged 4 or older, based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
3. Zero-calorie weight loss foods
Even though low-calorie diets aren’t the only way to lose weight, being mindful of caloric intake is a critical component of every weight loss program.
There are certain foods that are known as “zero-calorie foods“. They’ve earned this name because they essentially require just as much energy to digest as they provide in calories.
Filling up on zero-calorie foods is a great way of reducing overall caloric intake without necessarily limiting the amount of food that you eat. Celery often comes to mind when people think of zero-calorie foods, but fortunately there are a variety of tasty options that fall in this category.
Below I’ve listed a few of my favorite zero-calorie weight loss foods. You may even be surprised to find a good number of foods that have carbs (yes carbs)! Just remember that all carbs are not created equally (check out this post for more information on good vs bad carbs).
46 calories per cup
Although many assume watermelon is comprised of only water and sugar, watermelon is actually a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C.
52 calories per cup
More commonly known as a excellent source of beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), carrots are also good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium.
49 calories per cup
Strawberries are not only a tasty treat! They are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, manganese, and folate.
31 calories per cup
Boasting an impressive array of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese, and choline, broccoli is one of my favorite zero-calorie weight loss foods.
74 calories per cup
Apricots, which are yummy both fresh and dried, are a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C.
34 calories per cup
Green beans are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, manganese, and choline, making them an excellent healthy food choice.
Bonus: Non-calorie drinks
Drinking sugary beverages, like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee, is a common way for extra calories to sneak into our daily diets. You may not even realize that your favorite drinks have anywhere from 250-400 calories (or more), which could be 20% of the calories your body needs in a day.
Staying hydrated throughout the day with low- and no-calorie drinks not only helps reduce your caloric intake, but it also controls hunger. Some of the best options include:
- Plain water or sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime
- Black coffee
- Tea, including herbal, black, oolong, and green
This guide not only provides perspective on zero-calorie weight loss foods that help reduce your caloric intake, but also foods that boost your metabolism and help control hunger. Taking this multidimensional approach to healthy eating, in combination with a solid exercise plan, is the most effective way to achieve your weight loss goals!
Make sure you save the below weight loss foods grocery list, and keep it handy to ensure your kitchen is always stocked full of healthy food options.
Lastly, if you’ve been having a hard time finding or sticking with an exercise routine, check out this post to help you get on track.
Want to get fit but having a hard time staying motivated to exercise? Take the “My Fitness Personality” quiz to help you find a workout routine that sticks! Click here!
Like this post? Don’t forget to Pin It or Share It!