9 Best Foods for Weight Loss and How to Eat Them

What are the best foods for weight loss?

That’s what everybody wants to know. They want to know what to eat in order to lose weight.

The theory of losing weight is simple. Eat healthier. Eat fewer calories. But it’s a lot more difficult when you try to put it into practice.

These are my favorite foods that promote weight loss.

Not only are these foods healthy. These foods are:

  • easy to prepare
  • versatile
  • delicious
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I could eat the majority of the foods listed by themselves. Not only are most of them easy to prepare, some need absolutely no preparation at all (see #1, 4 & 6).

They’re simple. They’re healthy. They’re tasty. And in no particular order, they’re the 9 best foods to eat to lose weight.

1. Bananas

Bananas are a healthy staple to help you lose weight

For many reasons, bananas tops the list for foods that help you lose weight.

One reason bananas are fantastic for weight loss is because they’re nutritionally complete. It’s possible to simply your diet to bananas without causing any nutritional deficiencies. Some people like to call this banana island. This means that you eat exclusively bananas for a set period of time.

That might be a bit extreme. But adding a few bananas to your diet has other benefits, too.

Bananas are loaded with natural sugar. Natural sugar isn’t detrimental like refined sugar. Bananas are healthy because they’re paired with fiber, water, vitamins and minerals. The sugar from bananas is part of a whole package.

Eating a banana can healthily subside your craving for something sweet whenever the time rolls around. That time always comes. But eating a banana to satisfy your cravings won’t be a stumbling block. It’ll be a building block.

How to include bananas into your diet

Bananas are easy to include into your day. Start your day off with a banana smoothie for a quick, healthy meal. Or slice some bananas onto your morning cereal or oatmeal. You can even mash the banana into the oatmeal while it cooks to make banana bread-flavored oatmeal.

Mashed banana works as a low-fat egg replacement. Use 1/2-1 mashed banana for every egg in a recipe. Bananas work best as egg replacements in baked goods like banana bread, pancakes, cookies and bars.


2. Chickpeas

Loaded lasagna made with chickpeas

Chickpeas are great for weight loss because they’re naturally flavorful, packed with fiber and versatile in usage.

Fiber is essential for weight loss because it keeps you full. Fiber and satiety go hand in hand. Satiety and weight loss also go hand in hand.

If you’re constantly hungry, your weight loss plans aren’t going to work out. You’ll abandon your efforts in an attempt to feel full. Everybody hates being hungry.

Legumes are associated with lower body weight. Statistically, individuals who eat more legumes have lower body weights.

The reason chickpeas are so great for weight loss is because they add creaminess without tons of calories or fat. Use chickpeas instead of using cheese, milk or nuts.

How to include chickpeas into your diet

Make a simple hummus by mashing chickpeas together with some onion, garlic, lemon juice and spices of your choice. You can add in capsicum or even eggplant for some added goodness. You can use hummus as a spread in place of mayo.

Slice some beetroot and top them with hummus. It’s truly tasty!

Or try some of these other delicious recipes:

3. Rice

Brown rice helps weight loss because it's full of fiber and nutrition

Though rice is a grain, it’s still one of the best foods to eat for weight loss. It’s one of the foods to help you lose weight because it’s less processed than other grain,s like wheat.

While whole wheat flour is still healthy, flours are calorically dense. And flours make calories add up fast.

A beauty of rice is that there are so many different types. The most common wholegrain rice is brown rice. But there are other colors of rice, too. Rice comes in colors such as black, red, purple and even pink. You can eat a rainbow of rice.

It’s essential to eat wholegrain rice rather than refined white rice. White rice is refined brown rice with the bran removed. The bran provides both fiber and nutrition, two things you want to keep. Diets high in fiber and nutrition lead to weight loss. Diets low in fiber and nutrients keep people fat.

How to include rice in your diet

Rice can be included in a wide variety of dishes and cuisines. People all around the world eat rice on a regular basis.

Rice is incredibly versatile. Simply throw together a vegetable stir fry and serve it on top of a bowl of rice. Quick, simple and weight loss promoting!

Some recipe ideas including rice are:

4. Spinach

Eat as much spinach as you want. It's nutritious and not calorically dense.

Spinach — and all leafy greens for that matter — truly are some of the best foods to eat for weight loss.

Salads have a bad reputation. They’re stereotypical foods that people eat in order to lose weight. But the science behind it is solid. The more salads  you eat, the more weight you’re likely to lose.

Leafy greens are the most nutritious foods on the planet. They have nearly all the essential vitamins and minerals in large amounts. Check out the nutrition in one cup of raw spinach.

  • 181% of your Vitamin K
  • 56% of your Vitamin A
  • 15% of your Folate
  • 14% of your Vitamin C
  • 13% of your Manganese
  • and smaller amounts of nearly every other nutrient you need.

Imagine how much nutrition you’d get if you ate double that. Or triple that.

Leafy greens also make up some of the least calorically dense foods. One cup of raw spinach has just 7 calories. You can eat unlimited amounts of spinach and lose weight.

How to include spinach into your diet

Make a colorful salad. Throw together spinach, grated carrot, diced tomato, sliced cucumbers and bell peppers. Top it with lemon juice and balsamic vinegar.

Use a food processor to grind up spinach to make a spinach pesto to serve on top of wholegrain spaghetti.

Or combine rice and spinach to make a Spinach Risotto.

5. Potatoes

Potatoes are a great weight loss food. They're super low fat.

Potatoes are another one of the best foods to lose weight.

Potato is the favorite vegetable of one of my favorite doctors, John McDougall. Dr. McDougall promotes a starch-based diet that helps people lose large amounts of weight successfully. His weapon of choice is potato.

Losing weight becomes easier when you simplify your diet. What better way to do that than by limiting the number of options you have? If you were to base your diet around potatoes, you would lose a significant amount of weight like Dr. McDougall’s patients.

Another example of weight loss by eating potatoes is Chris Voight. He went on a potato diet for 60 days and lost more than 20 pounds in the process.

Potatoes are fantastic for weight loss because they’re extremely low in fat. Only 1% of calories in potatoes come from fat. That means even if you overeat on potatoes, it’s unlikely your body will store the excess calories as fat.

The fat you eat is the fat you wear — Dr. McDougall

The body prefers to store fat calories as fat. It’s easiest. It’s a lot more difficult for the body to store carbohydrates or protein as fat. It requires more work and more calories are lost in the process. Instead, the body would rather burn off the excess carbohydrates as heat.

How to include potatoes into your diet

One meal that I make regularly is low fat potato salad. It’s super quick, easy and filling.

Hashbrowns are another easy potato-based meal that takes little time using an electric grater. You get satisfying crunch without using oil.

A third option is to replace a grain in your meal with potatoes. Serve a stir fry or curry on top of potatoes instead of rice or roti. They’re just as filling but not as calorically dense.

Other recipes:

6. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor and excess weight away.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

One apple alongside a junk food diet won’t keep you healthy. But eating an apple before each meal can be an effective weight loss strategy.

One study found that eating an apple before a meal decreased total calories eaten by 15%. Imagine if you could still feel full after meals but eat 15% less. That would certainly result in weight loss.

With that, there’s no doubt that apples are one of the best foods to eat to lose weight.

Of course, apples are healthy for other reasons. Like other plant foods, they’re

  • nutritious
  • full of fiber
  • low in calories

How to include apples into your diet

Adding apples into your diet is fun and versatile. The easiest way to include them is to eat an apple before every meal, as mentioned above.

Include apples into your breakfast by throwing a few apples into a fruit smoothie. Slice a few apples into your cereal or oatmeal. Include apples in a fancy weekend breakfast with Autumn Apple & Ginger Sweet Bread.

Apples add a touch of sweetness to a salad. Go ahead and throw some in to a spinach salad. I’ve made a lovely, low fat Waldorf salad with apples, too.

Recipes with apple:

7. Corn

Corn is an unprocessed grain that's easy to prepare. One of the best foods for weight loss.

Did you know that corn is actually a grain? It’s true.

But unlike other grains, it doesn’t need to be cooked or processed in any way. It’s possible to eat corn raw. Or simply boil fresh corn on the cobs to make a meal.

That’s what makes corn one of the foods to help you lose weight. It doesn’t need to be processed at all. Just boil and eat. Simple.

Fresh corn on has more water than other grains. The more water you consume, the more weight you’re likely to lose. Opting for corn instead of flour products can help you lose weight.

How to include corn into your diet

The easiest way to include corn in your diet is to eat a meal of corn on the cob. It’s healthy, filling and nutritious. Serve some sautéed mushrooms or spiced lentils on the side for extra flavor.

Corn goes great with Tex-Mex cuisine and Latin-American dishes. Try adding corn kernels to salsa or vegetarian chili. I love how to corn adds a vibrant color to both dishes.

Here are other recipe ideas:

8. Lentils

Lentils are packed with protein, which helps keep you full.

Another legume is included on my list for best food for weight loss: lentils.

Lentils are the highest source of plant protein. Almost 30% of calories in lentils come from protein. Protein, like fiber, keeps you full and satisfied until your next meal. Protein is slower to digest than carbohydrates, like fat. But unlike fat, it it doesn’t put you in danger of gaining weight.

Fat has 9 calories per gram. Protein only has 4 calories per gram. So every gram of protein you eat will keep you full like fat. But it only has half the calories.

How to include lentils into your diet

Lentils can be added to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Brits and Australians love baked beans on toast. Lentils on toast is just as yummy with extra protein. It’s a hearty way to start the day.

Lentils can be added to lunch and dinner in a variety of ways. Top a salad off with lentils to make it a meal instead of a side. Throw lentils into a vegetable soup. Make lentil burgers.

I love to replace ground beef for lentils in recipes. Try making a lentil loaf or replacing ground beef with lentils in a marinara sauce.

Or try one of these recipes:

9. Flax Seeds

Flax will keep you chipper and add a small amount of healthy fat to your diet.

You’ll probably be surprised to find a seed on this list. After all, seeds are high in fat.

Flax seeds make the list of foods to help lose weight because of their omega ratios. Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 fatty acids.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are essential. You can’t live without them. But it is possible to have too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.

A proper ratio of omega-3’s to omega-6 will ensure you stay happy. If you’re happy, you’ll be more likely to stick with your weight loss efforts than if you were depressed.

In addition, flax seeds serve as a small portion of healthy fat. Fat helps you absorb fat-soluble nutrients in your food.

How to include flax into your diet

Include 1-2 tablespoons of flax into your diet each day. Grind them up fresh before each use. You don’t want to buy pre-ground flax-meal.

I typically grind up flax and sprinkle them on my main meal for the night. It’s easy when a meal includes a soup, salad or other moist dish. The flax seeds can be mixed right in at the end.

Up your omega 3 and decrease your cholesterol by using flax as an egg replacement. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 2 tablespoons of water for each egg in a recipe. Use as a binder in baking and cooking.

Recipe ideas:

9 Best Foods for Weight Loss. Eat these foods to lose weight. These 9 healthy foods are easy to incorporate into your diet.

  • Updated a couple of years ago
Sara Binde

Sara is a health and nutrition coach. She advocates for a whole foods plant-based lifestyle and teaches the world how to achieve weight loss.