Before we dive in to discussing the various types of healthy foods to eat to lose weight, there’s something that needs to be addressed. When we speak of healthy foods, we’re referring to foods that are good for your body in the long run. These are not foods that are specifically aimed at weight loss, and as a result, deemed to be healthy. That is an important distinction to keep in mind. With that said, there certainly is a solid group of foods that have come to be included in almost every staple diet, because they are healthy foods that people focus on eating to help them lose weight.
1.) Grilled Meats – grilled chicken, grilled burgers, grilled steak. These are the staple meats you want to focus on as healthy food choices when eating to lose weight because they don’t come with the extra calories of breaded varieties and aren’t fried in oils. I don’t like to making sweeping generalizations, but if it is grilled you should most likely choose it over your other options. This is especially relevant when it comes to the meat department.
2.) Vegetables – what’s new, right? Ever since we were kids it’s always been about the broccoli. Nothing has changed, vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals and contain fiber that keeps you feeling more full for a longer period of time. Since the end result is always the amount of calories you wind up eating, this can be a great option.
3.) Brown Rice – the caloric difference between white and brown rice is negligible. However, since we’re focused on healthy foods to eat to lose weight, brown rice not only keeps you more satiated for longer (just like the veggies) but it is not as processed as its white rice counterpart. Complex carbohydrates help you eat less overall, because they take longer to digest.
4.) Wheat Bread – almost identical story to the brown vs. white rice match up above. Again with the generalizations, but when in doubt go with the complex carbohydrate version of the food. Processed (simple carb) foods fly right through your stomach, even if you eat a solid amount. As a result, you’ll wind up reaching for a snack an hour or two after when you could’ve still been satisfied.
5.) Fish in a can – tuna, salmon. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids and a lean source of protein (much like the grilled meats). Low in calories, high in the essentials. One of the best foods available.
6.) Eggs – scrambled, boiled. Eggs are an amazing source of protein (arguably the best) and the yolks contain a variety of fat-soluble vitamins that boost your immune system and keep your teeth, bones, and skin healthy (Zinc, anyone?). The common myth that eating egg yolks is bad for you is simply not true, they do not raise bad cholesterol (LDL).
7.) Peanuts – best snack ever? Well, if we’re trying to fit it into our group of healthy foods to eat to lose weight, you bet! High in vitamins and minerals, this snack is rather high in calories but incorporated into your day in moderation they can keep the hunger away. If you’re going to eat some peanuts and survive before your next meal, it’s a better alternative to grabbing some processed snacks, no? Take a look into our Sugar Snap Peas article, for another great snack or “dessert” (if we can call it that).
8.) Beans – fantastic addition to any meal, whether it be a salad, soup, or mash up you’re making. Protein, fiber, low calorie. What more can you want? You get the best bang for your buck here.
9.) Potatoes – the best for last? Quite possibly. Potatoes are complex carbohydrates that aren’t part of the most popular dinners for no reason. Solid fiber content, while having almost every nutrient in the book. These will keep your stomach happy for a much longer time than french fries.
Although this list has certainly not been exhausted, these healthy foods are all top choices for a diet that stresses staying on the healthy side while attempting to lose weight. Remember, losing weight isn’t necessarily about eating healthy. Losing weight is based on the total amount of calories you take in per day vs. the amount you require to stay at the weight you are currently at (maintenance). One can certainly stray away from eating healthy foods and continue losing weight, what matter is managing the total caloric intake for the day. To learn more about this entire concept, check out Clean Food Bad Food.
As always, it is important to note that there is a difference between losing fat and losing weight. For most people the two terms are interchangeable, but when it comes to dealing with body composition and how you ultimately wind up looking they are not one in the same. Lose Weight Lose Fat discusses this difference in great detail. As a summary for our purposes here, however, losing weight involves both fat + muscle loss, unlike focus solely on fat loss. This ultimately plays a role in how your body looks when it is slimmer, and since the purpose for most people is to look more fit in the end, focusing on fat loss is ideal (keep in mind, when you’re dropping fat you’re still dropping weight – the difference is that the weight loss is almost entirely fat loss while your muscles are spared, resulting in a much more fit physique).
As a final tip on the subject of healthy foods to eat to lose weight, make sure that a solid chunk of your total caloric intake is made up of protein. There is a reason a good amount of the foods listed were high in protein, because protein not only spares muscle when you’re eating below your maintenance (so you can focus on fat loss) but it also is a diuretic that can help make you appear leaner as it keeps your water weight amounts on the lower end of the spectrum. For information on how weight loss can be easier than you think, visit our Easy Ways to Lose Weight article. Good luck!
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