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Good nutrition is essential for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. And we’re not talking about the latest modern diet ensuring quick weight loss. (I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those never work.) If losing a few pounds is your ultimate goal, you’ll need to nourish your body with a nutrient-dense, balanced diet, which necessitates understanding which foods are rated among the greatest for weight reduction.
“A balanced diet, one with adequate calories and a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats, is essential to weight loss, as this will help you keep hunger at bay and resist the urge to overeat,” explains registered dietitian Katherine Brooking, MS, RD.
The focus here, though, is on balance—no single diet can miraculously melt away fat.
“While some foods may help you reduce cravings, no single food is enough. To lose weight in a healthy way, you’ll need a mix of macronutrients and micronutrients,” explains Brooking. “Fiber and protein, in particular, have been shown in studies to help keep you fuller for longer.”
The best foods for weight loss to include in your weekly meal plan on a regular basis are listed below. After you’ve stocked up on these delectable delicacies, be sure to read 15 Best Healthy Breakfast delicacies for Weight Loss.
1. Chicken breast
Chicken breast is the poster child for nutritious foods that help you lose weight, and for good reason. 3 ounces of cooked chicken breast has 26 grams of protein. A 2012 research in the British Journal of Nutrition discovered that protein-rich foods provide the perfect trifecta for weight loss: they can help with satiety, muscle mass maintenance, and metabolic boost.
If you include cod in your weekly food plan, you may notice a decrease in your weight. A 2009 study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases discovered that patients with overweight or obesity who ate cod five times per week lost about four pounds more in two months than those who did not eat seafood. Just remember to leave off the butter when cooking fish to prevent adding too many calories to your dinner.
Artichokes, one of the highest-fiber foods available, are a superfood that fits into almost every diet. One medium artichoke has about 7 grams of fiber, which is 25% of your Daily Value (DV), and can help you feel fuller for longer. A 2017 study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that participants who ate more fiber dropped roughly four pounds more than those who didn’t.
4. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with dietary fiber—one sweet orange tater has nearly 4 grams of fiber or 14% of your DV.
“This, in turn, promotes satiety, slows down digestion, and improves blood sugar level,” says Brooking, echoing the 2017 aforementioned study in Annals of Internal Medicine. “Also, the fiber and carbohydrate content of this root vegetable provides sustainable energy and can be an excellent food option pre-and post-workout,” she adds.
5. Whole grain bread
People used to be afraid of bread. In fact, whole grain bread (rather than fluffy white loaves) can and should be part of your weight loss diet. According to a 2010 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, persons who had three or more servings of whole grains per day had 10% less belly fat than those who did not consume any whole grains.
“Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, are high in fiber and low in calories, making them an excellent weight loss food,” explains Brooking.
In fact, a 2012 Journal of Functional Foods study found that consuming more of these vegetables is associated with a lower risk of obesity. For a balanced supper, stir-fry broccoli with garlic before serving with your favorite protein and a half cup of brown rice.
7. Brown rice
When it comes to brown rice, this fantastic side dish is both easy to digest and diverse and help in weight loss. According to the previously mentioned 2010 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating whole grains on a regular basis, such as brown rice, is associated with having less belly fat. Pair it with your favorite protein, such as grilled chicken, tofu, or roasted salmon, and a non-starchy veggie, such as zucchini or asparagus, for a tasty and balanced dinner.
Beans and other legumes, like peas and lentils, are high in both protein and fiber—a combo that spurs weight loss. According to a 2020 Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism study, women who ate more beans and legumes (about 3 cups a month) had less body fat and smaller waists than those who didn’t include as many legumes in their meal plans.
9. Pork tenderloin
Unlike pepperoni and sausage, pork tenderloin is a lean cut that can help support your weight loss goals. A 2012 study in the journal Nutrients found that overweight study participants who included lean pork in their diet for three months saw their waist size, BMI, and belly fat significantly drop. Even better: the study participants didn’t appear to lose any muscle mass, suggesting that all the corresponding weight loss was from fat.
“Rich in protein and healthy fats, salmon can help you feel fuller and reduce cravings,” Brooking explains. And, despite containing up to 24 grams of fat per fillet, there’s no need to be concerned about salmon’s fat level if you’re attempting to lose weight. In fact, it’s possible that eating this fatty fish is linked to weight loss. According to a 2012 study published in Nutrients, fatty fish may help people lose weight, and the researchers believe this is due to salmon’s high omega-3 fatty acid content.
As if you needed a further reason to eat avocado toast for breakfast, a study published in the journal Internal Medicine Review discovered that people who ate a third of an avocado (approximately 2.5 ounces) per day weighed less and had smaller waists than those who did not. Those who preferred the creamy fruit were also 33% less likely to be overweight or obese, and 32% less likely to have a larger waist circumference.
“Vegetables like cauliflower are high in fiber and low in calories, making them a great food for weight loss,” explains Brooking.
Two cups of cooked cauliflower contain 5.7 grams of fiber, or 20% of your daily value. As previously stated and corroborated by a 2017 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examining the effects of increasing fiber consumption, persons who ate more fiber lost more weight.
“Low in calories and high in fiber, leafy greens such as spinach can help you feel fuller and reduce calorie intake,” says Brooking.
The research backs up Brooking’s assertion. A review in Nutrients found that eating more than four servings of veggies a day reduced the risk of weight gain. One cup raw or 2 cups cooked equals a single serving of spinach.
“Eggs are high in protein and healthy fats, making them a filling food that can help reduce appetite,” says Brooking.
A study in Hormone Research in Pediatrics found that a high-protein egg breakfast helped adolescents with obesity lose weight when compared to a bread-based breakfast.
15. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is high in protein, which helps you feel fuller for longer and can help you weight loss, but it’s also high in gut-healthy microbes. And those helpful intestinal microbes are also beneficial to your body composition. A tiny study published in the Journal of Functional Foods discovered that probiotic yogurt can assist in modifying the gut microbiome to aid in fat loss.
Raspberries are high in fiber and low in calories. One cup of raspberries has around 8 grams of fiber, which is 29% of your DV at only 64 calories. The previously mentioned study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on the impact of increased fiber consumption discovered that those who ate more fiber not only lost more weight but also improved their blood pressure and insulin resistance. So go ahead and top a cup of plain Greek yogurt with a handful or two of raspberries for a filling, protein- and fiber-rich snack.
“Pistachios can help you feel full, resulting in you eating less food in one sitting and being less hungry to eat again,” Brooking explains.
Indeed, according to a 2020 study published in Nutrients, eating 1.5 ounces of pistachios per day was connected with weight loss and a reduced waist circumference.
This is due to the high concentration of nutrients such as fiber, protein, and good fats, as well as the necessity to chew, which slows down the eating process,” she adds. “In-shell pistachios have the added benefit of slowing down your eating time.”
Whether you prefer snacking on almonds on their own or spreading a tablespoon of almond butter on toast, including this nut in your meal plan is a smart strategy for weight loss. Enjoying 1.5 ounces (about a handful) of almonds every day is linked to reducing both belly fat and leg fat, per a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
If you’re trying to lose weight, setting a goal for yourself to include more plant-based protein sources like tofu into your meal plan might be a smart way to start. A 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation found that people who ate more plant-based proteins had a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome (a condition that includes obesity), suggesting that plant proteins may help maintain a healthy weight.
Blackberries are low in calories and high in fiber and antioxidants, making them an excellent weight-loss snack. Indeed, blackberries have some of the greatest antioxidant levels of any berry. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Nutrients, eating more fruit is associated with weight loss, contrary to conventional opinion. The fiber and phytochemicals in fruit, according to the researchers, may be responsible for their anti-obesity benefits.
Walnuts are a weight loss workhorse, whether sprinkled on porridge, baked into low-sugar banana bread, or eaten on their own. A low-calorie diet rich in walnuts, according to one study published in the Nutrition Journal, boosted weight loss and lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
22. Lean steak
Are you sick of eating grilled chicken every night? Spice things up with steak. A 2017 study published in Obesity Science & Practice discovered that eating lean beef as part of a high-protein diet reduced study participants’ weight without reducing muscle mass. According to the USDA, search for labels that read eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip, top loin, top sirloin, and chuck shoulder or arm roasts to ensure you’re getting the leanest beef.
Grab some celery stalks and get dippin’. Celery’s high water content makes it a good snack for weight loss or weight management, according to research by Cambridge University Press. Use crunchy celery as a vehicle to get more satiating protein in. Try pairing it with hummus, cottage cheese, or peanut butter.
When you’re feeling tired of cooking, whip together a quick kale salad for lunch or dinner. A review published in Nutrients discovered that consuming more than four servings of vegetables per day lowered the risk of weight gain. In a salad, two cups of raw kale and two cups of raw spinach will get you halfway there. For a nutrient-dense bowl, combine low-sugar cranberries with sliced cucumber and top with a piece of grilled salmon.
25. Swiss chard
Swiss chard, another low-calorie and high-nutrient vegetable, is great sautéed with garlic and olive oil. According to a review published in Nutrients, eating more than four servings of vegetables per day, such as Swiss chard, lowered the risk of weight gain. As a result, you should include this fiber vegetable in your diet more frequently.
Consider blueberries your new go-to pre-workout snack. A 2023 study published in Nutrients found that eating the equivalent of one cup of fresh blueberries every day was able to boost endurance and help you burn more body fat while exercising. A win-win!
27. Brussels sprouts
Brussels sprouts shouldn’t be reserved for Thanksgiving only. Eating them year-round might just help you reach your weight loss goals. Not only are brussels high in fiber and low in calories, but a 2012 Journal of Functional Foods study showed that eating more veggies is linked to a reduced incidence of obesity. To help keep the calorie count low as you prepare them, skip the bacon and roast them with just a spritz of olive oil.
28. Whole grain oatmeal
A bowl of whole grain oats is a healthy way to start the day. According to a 2010 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who ate three or more servings of whole grains per day had 10% less belly fat than those who didn’t eat any whole grains. A full cup of cooked oatmeal is two servings, so eating oats for breakfast will bring you three-quarters of the way to your daily whole-grain goal. Make your oats flavorful by adding a fried egg to the dish for added satisfaction.
29. Green tea
Though green tea is occasionally used in cooking, more often than not, it’s served up in beverage form. However, it’s still worth noting as one of the best foods for weight loss because if you regularly exercise, consuming green tea can be a simple way to potentially boost your weight loss efforts. For instance, one study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that exercisers who drank about 2.5 cups of green tea daily and worked out for 45 minutes three times a week were able to lose more belly fat than those who didn’t have any green tea.
Water, while technically not a food, is necessary for weight loss. “Being well-hydrated helps to keep you feeling full, and water has zero calories,” Brooking explains. According to a study published in the journal Obesity that looked at the impact of water consumption on weight reduction, premenopausal overweight women ages 25-50 who drank more than 4 cups of water per day lost roughly 4.4 pounds more than those who drank less H2O.
Another reason to drink water instead of soda or fruit juice: “When you consume high-calorie beverages, the brain does not register satiety in the same way that it does with food, so you may end up drinking [or] eating excess calories to satisfy hunger,” Brooking explains.
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FAQ About Weight Loss
Can you lose fat just by doing cardio?
Absolutely! You need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. As a result, you must modify your lifestyle so that practicing cardio is sufficient to burn more calories than you ingest. It is important to note that this is not the quickest (or healthiest) approach to lose weight, but it will get you there.
Can you lose belly fat by just drinking water?
Almost! Many people believe that drinking lots of water helps them lose weight. Drinking water helps you burn calories through a process known as resting energy expenditure. Studies show that adults’ resting energy expenditure increases by 25 to 30 percent within 10 minutes of drinking water. In children, the energy expenditure increases by up to 25 percent.
Besides this, you are likely to eat less if stuffed up with water. Also, there is an hormone called angiotensin that has been linked with thirst. Excess angiotensin activity in the body has been linked with obesity, so you probably want to avoid going thirsty for too long.
Can you lose fat by just eating healthy?
Yes, good eating is one of the most efficient strategies to lose weight without drastically altering your lifestyle. The best method to attain this effect is to eat a whole-food plant-based diet. In fact, simply converting to a vegan diet will help you lose weight without calorie counting or thinking too much about macros. Here’s an example of a food plan.
Can you lose fat by just eating less?
Absolutely! Are you aware of Jared Fogle, popularly knows as the ‘subway man’ who shot a documentary of himself losing weight on a ‘junk food diet’. He basically ate nothing but Subway sandwiches for months together and lost a lot of weight. On the other hand, if you remove fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious food from your diet and go with coke and fast food, you will gain cholesterol, metabolic and heart diseases. So sure just by eating less you could lose weight, but at the cost of your health if your nutrition intake is close to nil.
A healthy lifestyle and good eating habit is the key to weight loss.
What foods help fast weight loss?
Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber but low in calories, so eating them in place of higher-calorie snacks may help with fast weight loss. Losing about 1–2 pounds Trusted Source per week is generally considered the fastest rate that is healthy.
What foods burn more belly fat?
Some studies suggest that following a high fiber diet may decreased body fat. Examples include chia seeds, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, and legumes.
But foods on their own cannot make you burn fat. The only way to truly burn body fat is by eating fewer calories than you burn.
What food burns the most weight?
High protein foods may be trusted. The high protein food source is especially helpful for weight loss. Lean meat, fish, legumes, and dairy products are great sources of protein. But to lose weight, you also need to make sure you’re eating fewer calories than you burn.
What is the best diet to lose weight?
As long as you are on a caloric deficit and most of your food sources are coming from whole foods, you will lose weight.
Does eating at night make you overweight?
No, as long as you are eating less than your maintenance weight, eating any time of the day will not make you gain weight.
Is it possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time?
Yes, with proper diet and training, it is very possible to do so.
How much protein do you need to take everyday if you are trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time?
Taking 1 gram of protein per body weight is a simple way to measure how much protein you need, for example if you weigh 150lb then take 150g of protein, now if you are overweight, then set the protein intake amount to the weight that you want to be.
What foods help the most for weight loss?
Foods with lower calories, but filled with fibers are the most beneficial during weight loss journey.