The 21 best foods for weight loss

This will help you to get the best results, tailored to your situation.

best foods for weight loss

Unwanted weight gain can often have an underlying medical cause. Weight loss solutions are only helpful if you’ve identified the possible causes. This includes issues like:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Side-effect of insulin
  • Corticosteroids (treatment for arthritis, asthma)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Fluid retention
  • Exhaustion (sleep disorders)
  • Depression
  • Age

If there is a medical condition contributing to weight gain, you’ll want to work with your healthcare provider. This will help you to get the best results, tailored to your situation. If there is no underlying medical cause, then this article should benefit your goal to lose weight.

21 foods for weight loss and why they work

1. Whole eggs

eggs weight loss
  • High in protein
  • Contain healthy fats
  • Helps you feel full
  • Low calories
  • Nutrient dense

2. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, swiss chards)

  • Low in calories
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • High in fiber
  • Add volume to meals
  • Helps you feel full
  • Nutritious
  • High in vitamins
  • High in minerals
  • Good antioxidants

3. Salmon (and other fish)

salmon losing weight
  • Keeps you full, longer
  • Low in calories
  • High amount of iodine
  • High in protein
  • Contain healthy fats
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

4. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts)

  • High in fiber
  • Filling
  • Good for protein

5. Lean meat (beef, chicken)

  • High in protein
  • 25-30% of calories
  • Helps cut food cravings by 60%

6. Boiled Potatoes (and sweet potatoes, turnips, other root vegetables)

foods that help reduce weight
  • High in a range of nutrients
  • High in potassium
  • Helps you fill naturally full
  • Helps you eat less

7. Tuna (canned in water, not oil)

  • Lean
  • High in protein
  • Low calories

8. Beans and legumes (lentils, black beans, kidney beans)

  • High in fiber
  • High in protein

9. Soups (especially homemade)

  • Helps you feel fill
  • Significantly low calories
  • Any range of benefits you add

10. Cottage cheese

  • Few carbohydrates
  • Few fats
  • High in protein
  • High in calcium
  • Helps burn fat

11. Avocados

lose weight with food
  • High in healthy fats
  • Tastes delicious on toast
  • Perfect addition to any salad

12. Apple cider vinegar

This one is a little different, because it isn’t a typical food. In fact, most people use this as a condiment. There are a few people who put ACV into tea and others who drink it diluted with water. The benefit of ACV is that it helps you to feel full, especially when drank at the same time as you’re eating. It can also help to the spikes in blood sugar after eating.

13. Nuts

  • Good amount of protein
  • Good amount of fiber
  • Good amount of healthy fats
  • Balanced snack

(Unfortunately, high in calories)

14. Whole grains (oats, brown rice and quinoa)

whole grains diet
  • Helps you feel full
  • Improves metabolic health

(Unfortunately, high in carbohydrates)

15. Fruit

  • Low energy density
  • High in fiber
  • Sugar evened out through fiber content

Did you know: If you eat grapefruit before every meal, you’ll lose weight? After 12 weeks, you can lose approximately 3.5 pounds! This is because grapefruit is filling and causes you to eat less.

16. Full-fat yogurt

  • Improved metabolic health
  • Pro-biotic
  • Helps reduce risk of getting sick

17. Green tea

green tea fast burning
  • High in antioxidants
  • Promotes weight loss

18. Coconut oil (as a cooking oil replacement)

  • High in fatty acids (MCT)
  • Helps you feel full

19. Water

  • Increases energy
  • Helps to burn calories
  • Decreases the urge for sugary drinks
  • Helps you feel full

20. Chia seeds

chia seeds for weight loss

Chia seeds are amazing for weight-loss, but they can be equally as dangerous! Chia seeds are able to absorb about 10 times their weight once they enter a liquid. If you eat them dry, this happens inside of your stomach. Not pleasant.

Instead, toss a handful into your yogurt and wait until the seeds expand. Then, enjoy the 11 grams of fiber for every ounce of seeds you added! This can drastically reduce your appetite and help you to go longer between meals.

21. Chili Pepper (capsaicin)

Reduces appetite

What you need to lose weight the healthy way

lose weight best foods

When it comes to switching your diet, randomly cutting out “bad food” is going to have negative results. Especially if you’re not entirely sure what is good and what is bad. You should try to follow the food pyramid and ensure you’re getting the right nutrients. Below are the essentials you need to stay healthy, regardless of your ideal weight-loss plan:


Every adult should have at least 20 grams of fiber every day. Fiber fills your stomach and reduces the impulses to snack between meals. This is obviously a crucial weight-loss tool. You can find fiber in:

  • Fruits
  • VegetablesWh
  • ole grains

Calcium and Vitamin D

These nutrients are better known as bone benefactors. They help strengthen your bones and prevent arthritis. However, they also help build strength in your muscles, which can help in your journey to weight loss. You’ll want around 3 servings a day of something that has both of these nutrients. They can often be found hanging out together in dairy products.


nuts helps lose weight

While most of us think “fat is bad”, there are good fats. In fact, you need at least 3 or 4 servings of these “good” fats every day. The good fats are monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these fats in:

  • Oils
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Fish *not all fish, though
  • Chocolate


Protein is another crucial tool to weight loss because it helps you to feel full for longer periods of time. A high-protein breakfast is actually the best way to start the day. Throughout the day, you want to get 3 servings of protein. You can find protein in:

  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean beef

The rules to real weight-loss

weight-loss rules

Of course, knowing what to eat to lose weight is only part of the battle. You have to know the rules of eating as well. The first rule is that it isn’t healthy to cut-out anything. You want to make every switch more gradually, so your body has time to adjust. Weight loss should never be instant or rushed. That brings us to the first rule (for real):

Rule #1: You’re not on a diet

The notion of being on a “diet” is that it’s a temporary change to the way you’re eating. If that’s what you’re doing, it’s never going to work for you. There’s no quick fix and anything that promises to be a quick fix is nothing more than a lie.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle choice. A choice you are making for yourself and your body, regardless of what anyone else thinks. This is not an obligation or something that is making you suffer. You’re not “losing” the ability to eat your favorite foods. You’re just learning control and the importance of moderation. You can still enjoy a slice of cheesecake once in a while.

Rule #2: Immediate results will keep you motivated

While you never want to rush any change in weight, if you see results within the first few weeks, you’re more likely to stick with the new lifestyle. This means you’ll need to be strict with yourself when you’re first starting out. It’s important to weigh yourself regularly so you can see the difference you’re making. In fact, put together a weight-loss journal and track your progress. This gives you something to look back on and can give you a boost when you’re feeling low.

Now you don’t want to punish yourself for any slip-ups, but you do want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. That’s why it’s so important to follow Rule #1.

Rule #3: Exercise is important

healthy life

Regardless of what you’ve heard about exercise and weight loss, the best thing you can do for your body is strength training. Both strength training and interval training are ideal for helping you to lose weight. It doesn’t hurt to throw a few cardio exercises in as well. The recommended routine is:

2-3 days of strength training, each week
5 sessions of cardio, each week

Rule #4: There is nothing wrong with hunger

Hunger is a totally natural response when our body feels like it needs nutrients. There’s nothing wrong with feeling hungry. When you’re trying to eat better, it may feel natural to simply ignore those pains. In fact, many weight-loss “experts” will tell you that you don’t have to eat until it becomes a problem. That means, dizziness and severe cramping. This is your body telling you that it is starving.

Do not wait that long to eat. Of course, no one says you have to eat a full meal either. You just have to eat enough that your stomach will feel satisfied. You can grab something from the list above to ensure you’re getting the right food to feel completely satiated with no effort.

There are two tricks to dealing with hunger impulses:

Ask yourself, “why do I want to eat?”. Hunger can be caused by feeling: bored, lonely, anxious, depressed, etc. If there’s an underlying cause, try distracting yourself with a hobby instead.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day. Many people have issues with the “3 meals a day” rule. It’s fine to eat 4-6 smaller meals throughout the day instead.

Rule #5: Calories count

weight loss foods

When you think about counting calories, it’s generally a negative action. For most people, too many calories is bad. But, it’s important to know that not all calories are exactly the same. Bad calories, found commonly in processed foods, don’t fill you as well as they should. This is because they actually mess up the signal telling your brain that your stomach is full. You keep eating because your body doesn’t tell you to stop. Then, you end up feeling hungry more quickly.

The good calories help to boost that signal and prevent you from overeating. You can find the good calories in whole foods, such as vegetables, lean protein, and foods high in healthy fats. You’ll see the results on your appetite early into your switch to better food.

Rule #6: Follow the P’s

There are three P’s when it comes to weight loss: Protein, produce, plant-based fats. This has actually been referred to as the “weight-loss trinity” among diet bloggers. These three nutrients work together to help you get the most out of your meals. All three have properties that help you to feel more full. This allows you to go longer without eating and eat smaller meals. When you’re trying to lose weight, that’s important. Plant-based fats can be found in oils and nuts, so they are often in addition to a meal.

Rule #7: Mindful eating

mindful eating

The type of food you’re eating won’t matter if you’re not eating properly. This is why crash diets and skipping your meals isn’t a helpful way to diet or lose weight. Eating properly means being mindful. The purpose of this is truly appreciating your food.

You want to be present in the experience, instead of shoveling food to fill your stomach. By practicing mindful eating, you’ll also eat more slowly, which will improve your digestion. If you don’t know how to eat mindfully, here is a simple exercise:

  • Sit in front of your food
  • Look at it, the texture, the color, the shape
  • Inhale the smell
  • Bring your food closer to your nose, almost touching your lips
  • Think about how it is going to taste, imagine the flavor
  • Take a slow bite, truly savor the flavor

Alternatively, you can practice just eating without any distractions. Don’t sit in front of the television or play on your phone while you’re eating. Being present is the most important part of watching what you’re eating, which contributes to a more balanced weight.

Rule #8: The underlying Issue

At the beginning of the article, we mentioned the possibility that an underlying issue could be causing weight gain. One of the biggest issues is stress and depression. The two go hand in hand and both cause over-eating. When your body is feeling stressed and frustrated, it will produce more cortisol. That’s the hormone that causes you to start craving carbohydrates. Depression causes your body to feel like it needs sugar, leading to an increase of sugar cravings. If you’re depressed and stressed, you’re going be in a tricky position when it comes to losing weight.

Unfortunately, improper sleeping habits can also cause you to feel hunger at the wrong times. Since stress and depression both lead to sleeping disorders, it’s important you tackle whatever is bothering you. You can ask your healthcare provider for something to relieve stress, or try:

  • Meditation
  • Essential oils
  • Yoga
  • Journaling

Weight-loss is a long journey and it’s important that you go in prepared. In order to see the best results, you’ll have to stay diligent and fight through any doubts you may have.

If you’re seriously struggling, you can see a weight-loss expert or talk to your doctor.