What to eat to lose weight?

If you want to lose weight quickly, safely and permanently, what you eat matters.

That’s because the foods you eat can directly impact the hormones that control hunger.

The right foods will nourish your body, satisfy cravings, and boost your metabolism.

All in all, they help you burn more calories and ultimately lead to a greater weight loss.

Therefore, the types of foods you base your diet are just as important as the number of calories you take in.

These are the foods nutritionists call “best weight loss foods”.

There are many foods like that, but these 5 foods are the best types of foods for weight loss.

1. Protein 

Protein is essential for your metabolism and bodily functions. 

 It’s an important macronutrient for weight loss. It affects your appetite and the number of calories you burn.

A high protein diet can help you lose body fat without losing muscle.

Here’s one way how eating protein can promote weight loss.

It takes more calories to digest protein than other food groups. In fact, 20 to 30% of total calories in protein eaten go to digesting it. 

So, if you eat 100 calories from protein, your body uses 20 to 30 calories to metabolize and absorb the protein.

After that, you’re left with a net of 70 to 80 calories.

Protein is much satiating than both carbs and fat. It gives you a feeling of fullness after eating more so than other foods.

It’s another way protein reduces your appetite and causes a reduction in your calorie intake.

Make sure each one of your meals, “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner” includes a clean and lean protein source.

It’s an efficient and effortless way to create a calorie deficit. 

In one study, women who increased their protein intake to 30% of calories ended up eating 441 fewer calories per day.

They also lost an average of 11 lbs in 12 weeks (1).

But that’s not all. Protein can not only help you lose weight but also prevent you from gaining weight. 

In one study, just a small increase in protein from 15% of calories to 18% of calories reduced the amount of fat people regained after weight loss by 50% (2).

Not sure how much protein to eat?

Here are the recommended protein intakes for men and women

  • 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man.
  • 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman.

Below I included some of the protein sources.

  • Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
  • Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
  • Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.

2. Eat More Vegetables

Almost everyone agrees that eating vegetables can help you lose weight.

Vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. 

First, they are low in calories and carbohydrates but high in fiber.

Leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens are a few you should include in your meal planning.

These veggies are low in calories and carbohydrates.

Not only that, they contain all sorts of good-for-you vitamins and antioxidants. 

Eating them is a great way to add volume to your meals without increasing calories. Research shows meals that include low energy-dense foods help people eat fewer calories overall (3). 

Aim for 3-4 servings of vegetables per day.

Eat a variety of colors and types. Check out below for the best weight loss-friendly veggies.

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Avocados
  • Bell Peppers

3. Whole grains

Whole grains are of the best weight loss foods to include in a healthy diet. 

They are rich in many nutrients that support weight loss. These include fiber, B vitamins, protein, and antioxidants.

Eating foods rich in fiber can help you fill up and prevent overeating.

This is one reason why high-fiber foods like whole grains are recommended for weight loss.

In a review of multiple studies with over 100,000 participants, this was also very evident.

In those studies, people who ate 3 servings of whole grains daily saw lower BMI (body mass index) and less belly fat (4).

But refined grains are a different story.

A diet high in refined grains is linked to health problems like obesity and inflammation.

The whole grains you should include in your meal planning are:

  • Oats
  • Kamut
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice
  • Corn
  • Rice,
  • sorghum
  • Spelled
  • Rye

4. Eat More Fruits

Fruits are one of nature’s greatest treasures to humankind. 

They are packed with vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that can cause weight loss.

Fruits are generally low in calories and high in fiber. Both are essential for a healthy weight loss. 

Fiber, in particular, is a nutrient that brings satiety with fewer calories. For its healthfulness, fiber is becoming synonymous with healthy, weight-loss food. 

Additionally, fruits are rich in antioxidants. They are anti-oxidative and help keep your bodily functions healthy. In fact, a diet high in antioxidants is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

 Adding fruits to your diet to help lose weight and improve health (5). 

How Many Servings of Fruits to Eat Per Day?

It’s recommended that you eat 4 to 5 servings of fruits per day based on a 1,600 to 2,00-calorie meal plan (6). 

Best fruit for weight loss:

  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Avocados
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Cucumber
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Melon 

5. Water

Did you know drinking water can help you lose weight?

First drinking water helps with hydration without extra calories. 

Not only that, drinking water helps you become regular and flush out toxins in your body. 

Aside from hydration, water can also act as an appetite suppressant.

It brings fullness and keeps hunger at bay. It’s recommended that you have a glass of water before each meal and when you first wake up. 

This also leads me to metabolism. Studies show drinking 17 oz of water is shown to boost metabolism by 30% within 10 minutes. 

In the same research, it was also evident that drinking water is directly linked to weight loss. The participants who drank 500ml of water before every meal enjoyed a 44% increase in weight loss in 12 weeks. Water does this by making you feel full and cause you to eat less or consume unnecessary calories.

If you’re’ looking for a weight loss drink, water is the best there is.

Grab the weight loss food chart below!

Weight loss foods chart

What are your favorite weight loss foods? Let us know. 

Tagged in:

About the Author

Misato Alexandre

She co-founded Fitwirr to make health and fitness simple for everyone and share her tips through writing evidence-based articles on nutrition, weight loss, and exercise.

View All Articles