With so many diets, pills, and powders on the market, weight loss can seem a little complicated.
In reality, it cannot be more simple–it’s all the foods you’ve been told to eat before (and then some).
Mother Nature really does provides all the ingredients for a healthy, nutritious weight-loss program.
Basically, as long as you keep a healthy balance of food groups and stick to mainly whole foods (as all of these are), then you are on your way to sustainable weight loss. The best part is, most of these things are delicious.
Eggs get a bad rap for their “cholesterol,” but really, unless you’re on a low-cholesterol diet, eggs are anything but unhealthy. Full of protein and fat, they’ll keep you full throughout the day.
A great lean protein that will keep you full on fewer calories, salmon is also full of omega-3 fatty acids and important nutrients like iodine.
- Lean Beef (92% minimum)
Yes, you can still have burgers!
The wonders of chicken. Naturally lean and incredibly versatile, this is a great protein for weight loss. Provided it’s not processed or fried.
Tuna is both high-protein and low-calorie, making it an ideal weight loss food. If you’re staying away from fats, look for tuna canned in water, not oil.
Like tuna, sardines are high-protein and great for feeling full.
- Black Beans
Delicious and versatile, black beans are an excellent plant protein that is also high in fiber.
- Kidney beans
Honestly, any bean is a good addition to your weight loss grocery list–kidney beans, however, are easy to find and to prepare.
Whether it’s straight from a can or ground up in some hummus, you can’t go wrong with some chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans).
If you’ve never tried lentils, now’s the time. Delicious and full of fiber, they make a great side dish.
Full of healthy fats and protein, cashews are a great way to stay full throughout the day. If you’re watching your fats, look for the dry-roasted or raw varieties.
The same principle applies–dry-roasted or raw, and try to steer clear of the chocolate-covered ones! (Unless they’re dark chocolate… see #71)
Healthy fat and delicious flavor! Try them roasted!
Try them in a salad with apples or in yogurt with blueberries for some delicious, filling nuttiness.
- Peanut Butter
Filling and versatile, you can always count on peanut butter to hold you over.
- Almond Butter
Not a fan of peanut butter? Try almond butter! It’s richer and just as filling.
- Pine Nuts
They might be a little pricey, but their healthy fats and delicious flavor might be worth the investment.
With less calories than other nuts, these are an ideal snack for weight loss.
As a complex carb, oats are ideal for weight loss because they take longer to break down.
- Brown Rice
Flavorful, packed with fiber, and low-calorie, brown rice is another ideal carbohydrate for weight loss.
This ancient grain (technically a seed!) is nutrient-dense and protein-rich.
- Pearl Barley
A satiating starch that’ll help you feel full, it’s great for soups and stews.
Don’t get too excited–french fries are still off the table. But roasted, baked, and boiled potatoes are not.
- Sweet Potatoes
Packed with vitamin A and resistant starch, they’ll help you feel full longer.
As long as you’re not filling it up with butter, popcorn can actually be a great low-calorie snack.
- Buckwheat Pasta
Swap your regular pasta for buckwheat to get more fiber and a surprising amount of protein (24 grams a cup).
Grapefruit is surprisingly filling, which makes it a great way to start off your day and keep you satiated through breakfast. Half of one should do the trick.
The pectin in apples helps keep you full, making it an ideal snack choice for weight loss.
Bananas get knocked for their sugar content, but they also contain resistant starch, which your body digests slowly, helping you stay full.
Known for their ability to fight off free radicals, they’re also good fighting off hunger. A great low-calorie snack!
Okay, maybe not Fig Newtons, but trust me–figs are just as sweet.
Filling and nutritious, oranges will provide you with fiber while satisfying your sweet tooth.
Another great source of fiber and natural sweetness!
A less-sweet version of the banana, this starchy fruit is sure to keep you full.
Great for flavor and a little pectin fiber!
Antioxidants, fiber, nutrients, and delicious sweetness. What more can you say?
- Goji Berries
Full of amino acids, these little berries have more protein than most, making them more filling.
Get them when they’re in season! They’re full of antioxidants and the seeds pack some fiber.
At 46 calories per cup, it’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fresh or frozen, these flavonoid-rich berries make a wonderful dessert alternative.
Another great way to satisfy your sweet cravings without the calories.
Mostly lycopene and water, tomatoes are nutritious, low-calorie, and versatile.
That’s right–avocados are a fruit, too. But unlike most fruits, they’re low in carbs and full of healthy fats.
Since they’re mostly water, they’re a great low-calorie snack–and the skin provides some fiber.
Worth the hype, kale is packed with iron and calcium, but only contains 33 calories a cup.
Spinach really has too much going for it. Suffice it to say that it’s very, very good for you.
- Collard Greens
Low calorie, high fiber, and full of vitamin A and K.
- Swiss Chard
As pretty as it is healthy, this leafy green is also a great source of vitamins A and K.
You may have hated it as a kid, but at 30 calories a serving and full of fiber, it’s about to become your new best friend.
Like its cousin broccoli, cauliflower is low in calories but high in fiber. Try them both steamed to prevent bloating.
- Brussel Sprouts
You gotta love those cruciferous vegetables, and nothing takes the cake like Brussel sprouts. Try them roasted for maximum deliciousness.
- Chili Pepper
Because they contain capsaicin, chili peppers are said to help reduce your appetite and help you burn fat. This is good news if (like me) you like spicy food.
- Bell Peppers
Packed with vitamin C, they make a great side dish–or stuff them and make them the main event!
Not just for pie, pumpkin is packed with fiber, vitamin B, and beta-carotene.
Mushrooms like portobellos have been shown to help regulate blood sugar. Plus, they’re a great meat alternative.
Artichokes are one of the highest-fiber vegetables out there, making them immensely filling.
Great for slaws and salads, cabbage is a great low-calorie filler that’s rich in antioxidants.
Whether you take them raw or cooked, carrots are packed with fiber and will help you feel full past meal time. Plus, you know, good for eyesight.
This might be the only vegetable that burns calories as you eat it–not really, but it does only have 14 calories in a cup.
Seems weird, but this Korean fermented cabbage is actually great because it contains probiotics, which aid in digestion.
- Cottage Cheese
Compared to other dairy products, most cottage cheese is more protein than anything else. Also a great source of calcium, of course.
- Greek Yogurt
With three times as much protein as an egg, you’re set for breakfast!
You don’t have to sacrifice all your cheese–parmesan is high in protein and come on, it’s delicious.
Fats and Oils
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
It may be a high fat and calorie food, but healthy fats in moderation are great for keeping you full–and keeping your heart healthy.
- Coconut Oil
Another viable option is coconut oil, which, though it has sparked some controversy, does contain a high amount of medium-chain triglycerides, which are easier for the body to burn off.
Other good things to have
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can help you feel full and is a great way to add some brightness to salads.
Extremely low in calories, mustard is an ideal condiment for weight loss.
- Chia Seeds
As you may have heard, chia seeds are crazy nutritious, packed with fiber, omega-3s and other important nutrients.
- Flax Seeds
Another good source of fiber, they’re great in smoothies or oatmeal.
- Dark Chocolate (70-85%)
Satisfy your cravings with some dark chocolate, which has been shown to help speed up your metabolism.
Good news, coffee lovers: coffee helps you burn calories. However, those (sadly delicious) blended beverages do not–so be wary of what you’re putting in your coffee.
- Green tea
Not a coffee drinker? Green tea is great for weight loss and high in antioxidants!
- Red Wine
In moderation, red wine has actually been shown to help in weight loss! Just, you know, try to limit it to one glass.