Do you know what foods to eat when trying to lose weight? Many dieters eat “healthy” foods. That’s not a bad thing. But many times, foods that have healthy ingredients are full of fat and calories—like peanut butter, almonds, or avocado. So they are not necessarily good foods for weight loss unless you are very careful with portion control.
Then again, if you fill your grocery store cart with processed diet foods, you may shortchange yourself out of the good nutrition you need to fuel your workouts and stay energized when you’re trying to burn more calories.
So what are the foods you should consume when slimming down is your goal? Use this guide to find out which foods are likely to fill you up, provide essential nutrition, and keep you satisfied during your weight loss journey.
Foods with protein help you in several different ways when you’re dieting. First, protein will help you to maintain muscle mass as you lose fat. And if you start a strength-training program when you’re trying to lose weight, protein-rich foods help you to build muscle.
Protein foods are also satisfying to eat. Many dieters prefer to enjoy a traditional meat and potatoes meal from time to time during the dieting process. It might help you to feel less deprived. While you may not be able to eat the same kind of indulgent dinner that you enjoyed before weight loss, eating a lean protein with vegetables may help you to get the same enjoyment.
Lastly, protein foods help you to burn (slightly) more calories. The thermic effect of food (TEF) contributes to your daily metabolism—or the number of calories you burn each day. Your body requires energy (calories) to chew, digest, and process the food that you eat. Protein requires more energy to process than other foods.
So which protein-rich foods are best? Look for choices that are naturally low in saturated fat and calories, those that are portion-controlled, and foods that you enjoy.
- Skinless chicken breast
- Ground or sliced lean turkey
- Lean cuts of pork
- Lean cuts of beef
- Greek or traditional yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Green peas
If you have a difficult time getting enough protein in your diet during weight loss, you can also make a smoothie with a protein powder supplement.
Foods With Fiber
Do you want to lose weight without getting hungry all the time? You’ll be able to manage cravings better if you eat foods with more fiber. On this list you’ll find delicious foods that help you to feel full longer after eating so you consume fewer calories. Most of these foods also provide other nutritional benefits that you’ll enjoy during the weight loss process, like vitamins and minerals.
Fill your shopping cart with some of these foods.
- Whole wheat crackers (low calorie choices like Wasa are smart choices)
- Plain popcorn
- Whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pita or tortillas
- Chickpeas or hummus
Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with some of these staples to keep your hunger at bay.
Foods That Are Naturally Low in Calories
It’s easy to find diet foods at your local super market. In fact, you’ll find fat-free foods, low-calorie foods, foods that advertise that they contain no trans fat, foods lower in saturated fat, lower sugar foods and other foods with health claims on the label. But some of these foods are not necessarily good for everyone who is trying to lose weight.
For example, some fat-free foods are higher in sugar than their full-fat versions. Some salad dressings, sauces, condiments and other foods remove fat but add sugar for flavor and consistency. They may not necessarily be lower in calories and if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake they can do more harm than good.
So should you avoid low-calorie foods? No! Just try to find foods that are naturally low in calories. Consider some of these options.
- Kale, arugula or other leafy greens
- Clear broth or stock
- Brussels sprouts
Choosing these foods that are naturally low in calories will help you to get the nutrition you need when you are trying to slim down. You may also be able to save money as well. Those 100-calorie snack packs that you buy in the store are generally more expensive than 100-calorie snack packs you make at home with healthy, diet-friendly foods.
Diet-Friendly Convenience and Snack Foods
Nutritious foods are always the best choice when you’re trying to slim down. But sometimes you want more than whole grains, lean protein and fresh fruits and veggies. If you’re like most dieters, you occasionally crave comfort foods like pasta, chocolate and other diet no-nos.
If you’re going to stay on your weight loss plan for the long-term, you may want to enjoy a treat or an indulgent snack from time to time. And there might also be times when you need to grab a quick bite on the go. Thankfully, there are ways to stick to your weight loss plan and still allow for certain convenience foods.
Consider any of these foods to eat when you’re trying to lose weight.
- Smart snack bars for weight loss
- Comfort foods that are lower in calories
- Diet-friendly snacks to grab on the go
- Quick meals to make in your blender
Remember that when you choose foods to eat during weight loss, it’s not only about calories. The foods you choose should fill you up, satisfy your desire for a savory meal, curb your cravings for sweets, and provide your body with good nutrition. Thankfully, it is possible to find these foods.
Print out this list of foods to eat when trying to lose weight. Use it to compile your weekly grocery list or take it with you to the market so you know which foods to consume and which foods to avoid for a successful weight loss experience.