When you set up your weight loss diet you have to do a lot calculations for example for your ideal calorie intake and your macronutrients.
But even if know how to do this and have the right values in front of you, at some point you still need to fill them with actual foods.
That means even if you know how much you should eat and what type of nutrients you need you also have to choose the right foods to fulfill these requirements and get a meal plan that you can follow.
So the question is…
What Are The Best Foods For Weight Loss?
Before I answer this question you have to understand one thing. Designing your meal plan with foods that you like is critical to success. As the saying goes: the best diet is the one you can stick to.
I could tell you to eat rice and chicken as much as I wanted, but if you don’t like them you won’t eat them.
That’s why I will now give you a list of foods to choose from for each macronutrient – so a list for protein, a list for carbs and a list for fat. What you want to do is choose a few foods from each list that you like and that you can see yourself eating regularly.
That way you will lose weight but can still structure your diet around the things you like.
Let’s start with protein…
The Best Protein Sources For Weight Loss
The first good protein food for weight loss are eggs. People long thought that eggs negatively affect cholesterol levels, but recent studies have shown that eggs are very healthy and don’t cause heart attacks.
That is great news because eggs are among the best foods you can eat if you want to lose weight. Because of their high protein content they will make you feel full with a very low amount of calories.
One normal egg has around 6 grams of protein and only 70 calories. That’s because the outer part of the egg, the egg white, is basically pure protein with some water.
Add to that the nutrients from the yolk like vitamins A, D, E and K and you have a nutrient powerhouse. Getting enough nutrients is especially important when you are on a calorie-restricted diet.
Since you are already eating less, you want to make sure to eat mostly nutrient-dense foods so your body still gets everything it needs for overall health and immunity.
Lean Beef & Chicken Breast
Like eggs, chicken breast and lean beef are packed with protein, which makes them a super weight loss-friendly food. Getting enough protein is extremely important for maintaining muscle mass during a diet, because amino acids are literally the building blocks of muscle tissue.
Add to that the fact that protein is the most filling of the three macronutrients and you have another argument for a high-protein diet.
Now I should add that over the last few years red meat, especially beef has gotten a bad rep. People blame it for all kinds of diseases, even though there is very little evidence for it.
Yes, processed meat is bad for you, but moderate amounts of lean beef are generally safe. The correlation between red meat and cancer is only very small and has been blown out of proportion and the health benefits from eating quality lean meat generally outweigh the risks.
Beef is a great source of iron, zinc and vitamin b12, which are all important for a healthy hormone balance. Also, being an animal derivative beef is one of the most complete dietary sources of protein, with an amino acid profile almost identical to that of our own muscles.
So all in all quality lean beef is great for weight loss, highly nutritious and helps with muscle maintenance and growth.
Tuna is pretty popular among bodybuilders, because it’s a great way to keep protein intake high, with total calories and fat low. As a lean fish you get basically pure protein without any unnecessary extras.
When buying tuna, make sure to choose tuna canned in water and not oil and also keep your overall intake to around 2 cans per week because of the possible mercury.
Beans & Legumes
I personally eat kidney beans almost every day because of their awesome taste and the high protein and fiber content. I already talked about the benefits of protein for weight loss, but fiber is another important nutrient when you are on a diet.
Fiber slows down digestion and adds volume to food without adding calories. This helps keep you full for longer while improving gut health and nutrient abortion.
When you buy beans there two things you need to keep in mind. If you buy uncooked beans, make sure to cook them at least 10 minutes in boiling water. This deactivates certain toxins that are present in raw beans.
If you buy canned beans, make sure to choose the ones without any added salt or sauces. Unfortunately, these sauces are usually full of sodium and quite high in calories, which isn’t what you are looking for when you are on a diet.
The Best Carb Sources For Weight Loss
Ok, let’s now take a look at good sources of carbs for weight loss. I know carbs are often vilified in the weight loss community, but if you stick to the right sources you don’t have anything to fear.
The first, and in my opinion best weight loss carbs, are cruciferous vegetables. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
They are perfect high-volume low calories foods that occupy more room in your stomach and make you full, but because they are low in calories they don’t make you fat.
That way you can eat massive amounts of them and still lose weight. That’s because they are high in fiber and water, which adds to the volume and slows down digestion.
When setting up my meal plan, what I like to do is to combine these vegetables with some sort of protein for example with some fried eggs and beans. That way you can eat a lot, the meals are healthy and you will lose weight.
Whole grains are also loaded with fiber and especially filling. My favorites includes oats, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain pastas.
Oats are packed with soluble fiber that increases satiety and improves metabolic health.
Rice, on the other hand, has quite a bit of resistant starch, which isn’t fully broken down and absorbed. That way it fills you up without making you fat, just like normal fiber.
Of course, when I talk about grains I don’t mean highly refined grains, which you can find in white bread or many processed junk food. These foods have basically all the fiber stripped out of them along with most nutrients, which makes them a bad choice for weight loss diets.
Even though a high fructose intake is often correlated with obesity, this is usually only the case for added fructose in processed foods. Fruits, where the fructose is bound to fiber and vitamins are definitely still healthy.
The best way of adding fruits to your weight loss diet is by using them as candy or chocolate substitutes. Because of the fructose they are equally sweet but take longer to chew and digest more slowly. Both will help with satiety.
The Best Fat Sources For Weight Loss
Last but not least we have to talk about the right sources of dietary fat for weight loss. First of all dietary fat does not automatically make you fat, but since 1 gram has 9 calories, which is more than double that of protein and carbs, it can be easier to overeat on fatty foods.
That’s why I like to limit my intake of high fat foods when I’m dieting. By that I don’t just mean fatty processed foods like hamburgers or chips but I’m also talking about generally healthy foods high in fat like many vegetable oils.
For example 1 tablespoon of olive oil has around 120 calories and it does practically nothing for satiety so you really can call it a weight loss food.
That’s why I generally try to get most of my daily fats from solid sources like eggs, meats or fatty fish which we already talked about.
Avocados and nuts are also possible alternatives, but you make sure to use them as small additions and not your primary food sources. For example, 100 grams of almonds have around 570 calories, which is about the same as chocolate.
Of course, I’m not telling you that avocados or nuts are bad for you. They are a lot healthier than processed junk food. But as with most things in life, it’s the dose that matters.
Dietary fat is high in calories and often not very filling, which is why you just can’t eat that much when compared to the other foods I talked about so far. So make sure to place more emphasizes on weight loss proteins and carbs and then add only a few fatty foods on top.