One thing is certain when it comes to diet: there are plenty of foods out there that can help us gain weight.
Can I get an “amen” to that?
Most of us have a general idea of what to eat to be healthier (more veggies, greens, etc…), yet may be wondering if there are any specific foods we can eat that assist in shredding and weight loss.
This is especially true with many of us taking time at the beginning of the New Year to take a look at our eating habits and self-improvement, so I thought I’d take some time to list out some of the best healthy foods to eat if you want to lose weight.
Remember, there are no miracle foods that you can eat if you have weight goals. At the end of the day, a huge part of weight loss is calories in vs. calories out – you want to be burning more calories than you need so that your body starts burning up your stored fat to supply energy. So in addition to adding in these healthy dietary staples, portion control, increased activity, calorie counting will also matter as you get into a weight loss endeavor.
However, there are certain foods you can eat that can increase satiation, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and even help you burn more calories.
Let’s dive into these!
Specific Foods That Can Help You Lose Weight
Avocados are packed with satiating healthy fats and an array of essential nutrients. Not to mention, they’re also one of the few fruits that are lower in carbs, which can stimulate your body to burn more fat for fuel rather than relying on glucose.
Studies show that people who eat avocados stay fuller longer, which helps overcome one of the key reasons why people fall off their diet: hunger.
2. Fatty fish
The name might sound a little funny – aren’t you trying to lose fat, not eat more of it? – but fatty fish are full of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Aside from their anti-inflammatory effects, studies have found that these essential fatty acids may help with weight loss. [*]
Try making your salad with salmon as your protein a couple of days a week or use it as the centerpiece of a healthy dinner with roasted veggies. And, be sure to grab wild caught fish when possible to avoid the heavy metal toxins and chemicals that may be present in farmed fish.
3. Chia Seeds
These little seeds are becoming more and more popular as their health benefits start to shine, and they might be especially helpful if you’re looking to lose weight. For their relatively minimal calorie count, they’re a great source of healthy fat, like the omega-3 fatty acids mentioned above, and fiber to keep you full.
Even better? You can soak chia seeds and they’ll take on a gel-like consistency, which can keep your stomach full for even longer!
They’re easy to add into your diet, too – you can easily put them in your smoothies, oatmeal, or cereal in the morning, or add them into your favorite teas to give it more nutrition.
4. Leafy Greens
It’s no secret that vegetables are a big part of weight loss. Leafy greens like kale and spinach are nutrient-dense and come with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, and they’ll run you so few calories that you can pile them onto your plate and fill your stomach without worrying that they’ll significantly contribute to your calorie count for the day.
Add these leafy greens wherever you can in your diet to bulk up anything you eat and keep your stomach full.
They may have fallen off the “trendy” bandwagon, but in reality, eggs are a powerhouse weight loss food.
Studies have shown that people who consume eggs for breakfast reduce their body mass index 61% MORE than those who consume (in a specific study) bagels.
Eggs are incredibly nutritious and full of protein, which is why we most likely see this effect. When you purchase eggs, be sure to grab organic and free range, as these will be free of added hormones and genetically modified ingredients (plus, the chickens will have been treated humanely).
When you want to make something more filling without adding a ton of calories, grab some beans! These legumes are fibrous and full of protein, so they’ll satisfy your appetite and stabilize your blood sugar, but they aren’t too heavy. For example, one serving of black beans will only run you about 227 calories.
As an added bonus, beans are pretty cheap, so you can use them as a dietary staple to promote both weight loss and save you some money.
Toss them in with your stews, add them to your salads, or use them as a hearty side for your dinner.
When you start craving a midday savory snack, put the chip bag aside and grab a handful of nuts instead. They’re way more nutrient-dense and can quickly kill your appetite, since they have a ton of healthy fat and protein to keep you satiated.
It’s important to note that nuts are very calorie-dense, so they should be portioned out correctly if you have weight loss goals. You can divide your nuts into individual portions for better calorie control.
8. Non-Dairy Yogurt
Non-dairy yogurt (almond, coconut, or even cashew) is an awesome snack to grab due to the amount of protein it contains.
Most commercial yogurts use milk from cows that have been given antibiotics and who have been injected with hormones which can spill over into the milk. Not to mention, the milk is also pasteurized, which can destroy the beneficial enzymes that help you digest it properly.
Non-dairy yogurt contains the same amount of beneficial probiotics (which have shown in studies to help increase weight loss) as dairy yogurt, without the negatives.
The main thing to look for and avoid in any yogurt brand (even non-dairy) is added sugars. You’ll typically find these in the flavored varieties (even vanilla), so try to grab a plain version and sweeten it with a dash of stevia.
Adding more of these healthy foods to your diet can really help with your weight management goals. Next time you’re making your grocery lists for the week, make sure to add these options so you can eat clean and give your body the optimal fuel it needs!