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Top 10 Foods for Weight Loss

written by: R. H. • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 5/24/2011

You can lose weight by eating smarter: you'll lose weight if you choose foods that are filling, and that contain macronutrients (like fat and protein) and micronutrients (various vitamins and minerals) that your body needs. Here are ten foods to help you lose weight, while gaining energy and health.

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    Before You Start Losing Weight

    There are a few pointers you should keep in mind before you start any initiative to lose weight.

    First, remember that changing habits is hard and takes time, so don't expect to be able to completely change your lifestyle overnight. Start small: small dietary changes, small additions of activity to your life, small goals. Also, be realistic in the goals you intend to achieve. To get a realistic idea of what might be a healthy goal weight for your body type and size, check out this BMI Calculator at the Mayo Clinic's website.

    Finally, if you want to lose weight, consider which foods need to be eliminated from your diet; but, even more importantly, consider which foods should be added to your diet. Here are ten healthy foods that will help you lose weight while still being well nourished and feeling satisfied.

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    Ten Foods for Weight Loss

    1. Grapefruit - How can grapefruit help you lose weight? It's delicious, juicy, filling, and only 80 calories. Eating a whole grapefruit can help you feel satisfied for a long time. In addition, red grapefruit helps lower your body's triglycerides and provides cancer-fighting liminoids and lycopene, along with a substantial does of Vitamin C.

    2. Quinoa - It looks like a grain, but quinoa actually the seed of a green leafy plant. Quinoa is an excellent source of complete protein, which makes it a filling substitute for rice and a much lower-calorie substitute for high-protein meats. It is also an excellent source of iron, potassium, and B vitamins. Quinoa has a light, nutty flavor and can be cooked up with broth or water and eaten alone, or can be incorporated into soups for nutritious bulk. One-half cup of quinoa contains only 111 calories.

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    3. Spinach - At seven calories a cup, raw spinach is undoubtedly a great food to fill up on when you want to lose weight. Combined with dried cherries, sliced red onions and a fat-free vinaigrette, spinach makes delicious salads. Spinach is a wonderful nutritional choice: one raw cup provides more then 50% of your daily vitamin A needs, as well as being high in protein and vitamin C.

    4. Green Tea - How can drinking green tea help you lose weight? Research suggests that if the average person drank five cups of green tea a day, he would burn an extra 70 to 80 extra calories through a process known as thermogenesis - the process of heat production in organisms. The amount of calories you can burn by drinking green tea is negligible in itself, but keeping yourself full of tea and well-hydrated may help you limit your intake of calorie-laden foods. In addition, green tea has also been shown to contain a compound that limits the growth of cancer cells. Green tea also reduces one's overall cholesterol level while improving the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

    5. Oatmeal - Oatmeal, whether it is of the instant, rolled or "steel-cut" variety, is a healthy, filling food. Oatmeal does not send your blood sugar skyrocketing, creating sugar highs and lows that make you crave sweets. Instead, it provides slow-burning fuel for your body. Eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fill yourself up on a fiber-rich meal. At only 75 calories per 1/4 cup dry serving, oatmeal will give you healthy, steady energy instead of empty calories.

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    6. Strawberries - Strawberries are a sweet and delicious fruit, naturally good for your health. Although they are enjoyable to eat because of their flavor and texture, they won't create urges for more and more. Eat one cup of sliced strawberries, and you most likely find yourself well-satisfied, your hunger sated. How many calories will this cup of strawberries provide? Only 77 calories, along with a huge dose of vitamin C and healthy amounts of fiber and other vitamins.

    7. Lentils - Lentils are high in protein and fiber, a filling food that is low in calories. In fact, beans are generally a smart food for dieters. They are usually low in fat and help you feel full longer, so you don't eat junk foods that add weight to your body.

    8. Eggs - Eggs, also rich in protein, should be a regular part of your diet if you want to lose weight. Eggs combine well with many different ingredients to make delicious, filling meals. One meal that is a great combination of healthy foods for weight loss is: equal amounts of cooked brown rice and red lentils, topped with finely chopped onions (lightly sauteed in olive oil) and chopped hard-boiled eggs, sprinkled with cumin, salt and pepper. Try eggs in combination with various vegetables or over brown rice or other grains for tasty, filling meals.

    9. Onions and Garlic - Onions and garlic are high in antioxidants. But perhaps the reason these flavorful foods are winners when it comes to weight loss is that they make food interesting. Adding onions and garlic (particularly if they are lightly cooked or sauteed) gives vegetable, bean and grain dishes just the kick that make them deliciously satisfying. If you are worried that eating lower-calorie foods will mean your food is bland, think again! Adding onion and garlic in tasteful proportions, as well as other spices, can make all your meals delicious.

    10. Yogurt - Lowfat yogurt is a good food for weight loss because it is full of nutrients (calcium, probiotics and protein), plus its slight fat content helps curb your appetite for hours.

    Enjoy these ten foods, and others like them, as you create a varied menu that will keep you healthy and satisfied while still helping you to lower the calorie intake and lose weight!