Just switching to a plant based diet alone is often enough to make the loss of those extra inches inevitable. For a start plant based eating means cutting out huge swathes of the fast and junk foods that keep you looking and feeling bloated, listless and depressed. This list of healthy foods to lose weight are the top 15 plant based superstars that will have you rocking great health in no time.
Incorporating these natural weight loss foods into your everyday diet as much as possible, will not only leave less room for junk foods, but their high nutrient and fiber content will help keep you full, satiated, and ultimately away from the biscuit tin or whatever else your weakness may be.
Why high GI foods are so bad for you:-
Another important factor about the foods on this list is they are all low GI (short for glycemic index) – a rate in which the sugars in a food are released into your bloodstream. The higher the GI, the faster the release, which is bad in most circumstances (except if you are running a marathon, or partaking in some other high energy activity) as this sudden sugar spike signals a high amount of insulin to be released from the pancreas.
This insulin is released in order to clear those sugars out of the blood as soon as possible and is a vital part of our bodily processes after a meal, but, if those sugars are not burnt off, or used as energy, then they get stored straight into your fat cells – which just keep expanding and expanding the more it happens. This is why and how you gain weight, making it easy to see why eating high sugar foods whilst sitting in front of the T.V. all day, makes you gain weight – fast!
A Low GI Diet is much Healthier!
This is why a low Glycemic diet is crucial, not only for weight loss, but also to slash your chances of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, certain cancers and metabolic syndrome. It’s important to note that not all sugars are bad, especially when they are in their natural state as in the case of a whole piece of fruit for instance. A whole piece of fruit also contains lots of fibers and nutrients which will allow the fruit’s sugars to be released more slowly over a period of time, and for a much more sustained energy release.
So without further ado, let’s delve into these awesome top 15 foods fat burning foods for weight loss.They will not only help bring positive changes into your life, but will also help you to understand the powerful effects the different foods you eat can have on your health and well-being.
Remember that all foods (especially fats) require portion control, and should be REPLACING other unhealthy fats or foods, NOT added as an extra on top. If you do this you will probably gain weight, after all, a calorie is a calorie, and still needs to be burnt off no matter where it comes from; but you can use these foods as swaps instead for your more unhealthier choices.
Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – 15 Plant Based Superstars
1. COCONUT OIL
Yes, this may be a fat, but it’s a unique fat in the respect that its combination of fatty acids can have a powerful effect on your metabolism to help you BURN FAT. And for extra good measure virgin coconut oil helps you burn visceral stomach fat (which is the most dangerous kind that should be kept to a minimum).
Those of us who are predisposed to carry fat around the middle have a much greater risk of diabetes, heart attack, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, and even premature death. As if that wasn’t bad enough this belly fat also entwines itself around internal organs causing no end of damage, and stopping your vital organs from functioning properly (I know… scary right?!).
How to add Coconut Oil to Food:-
Adding coconut oil (instead of your usual oil) to food is the easiest way to get this healthy fat into your diet. It’s great in stir-fries, cakes, and roasted vegetables. It has a high smoking point so it is also safe for frying at high heat, because it doesn’t go rancid or become a trans fat like many other fats do.
Always consume coconut oil in moderation as it is still a saturated fat, and should be used alternately with healthy monounsaturated fats such as olive, flax, sesame and avocado oil.
Another fat, but a good one -avocados are one of nature’s true superfoods, and also a plant based diet staple. I eat at least half a one of these creamy and delicious fruits every day and they really are a fantastic healthy fat boost for my skin. Let’s just say I’m very ‘glowy’ these days, and I know my daily avocado hit helps with that.
Avocado’s are so satiating, that not only do they fill you up, but it’s also shown in studies they can keep blood sugar stable for hours so are great for diabetics too. This means you won’t be thinking about, OR craving the nasty white stuff – and by that I mean SUGAR! Or any other refined carbohydrate for that matter.
Avocados contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals; plus fiber; and lots of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. It is also another fat, that like coconut oil, has been proven to help reduce belly fat specifically due to its unique fats and low GI rating.
3. HEMP SEEDS
The high content of omega 3’s in hemp seeds have been shown to be anti-obesity, therefore make them another great fat burning food. Omega 3’s also help regulate hormones, mood, sleep cycles and stress.
Add these seeds to your morning cereal; or simply eat them as a snack any time of day, they are even delicious even eaten alone from a spoon straight out of the packet.
Hemp seeds are also amazing for your hair, and help it to grow thick and fast; and are especially good for weak and brittle hair that is prone to falling out. I’ve tried this one for myself and it works a treat; you do however need to eat 2 tablespoons a day for this to be really noticeable, so therefore you need to add them to your daily calorie intake otherwise you will probably gain weight.
4. PUMPKIN SEEDS
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which is a vital component of the immune system so we need to make sure we get lots of it into our diet. However, they are also great for weight loss due to their high amounts of protein, fiber, and many other nutrients, and can help reduce overall body fat by keeping blood sugar low and reducing insulin resistance – both of which are crucial elements in weight loss.
Sleep and Weight Loss:-
Another great piece of information about the pumpkin seed is the fact it is high in tryptophan, making them a great aid for getting a good nights sleep… bringing me on to my next big fat burning tip.
Getting enough sleep is CRUCIAL for weight loss, as being adequately rested suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin. When you’re tired your body releases too much of this hormone in an attempt to give you more instant energy, making it a time when you’ll find you crave the worst types of refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.
Raw unsalted almonds are a highly convenient snack and can either be carried easily in your bag, left in your glove box compartment, or your office drawer at work. They don’t perish fast, are immediately filling and satiating and are low carb; plus they are full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants – all of the ingredients for a great fat burning food.
And about 15% of the calories in nuts (this means all nuts) aren’t even absorbed, so you can afford to have a couple extra!
Walnuts are yet another great superfood and for so many reasons. Firstly they are jam packed with ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is a heart healthy, fat burning, healthful omega 3 fat that can help reduce your risk of diabetes and boost brain power; plus, its powerful antioxidants have been shown in studies on mice to have anti cancer properties.
But for weight loss purposes the healthy fats in walnuts boost metabolism, which in turn will help your body become a fat burning machine. Remember that 90% of the walnut’s antioxidants lie in their skins, so always eat them with their skins on and as fresh as possible as they quickly go rancid.
Quinoa is a magnificent, high protein, high fiber seed that is often used to replace grains such as pasta and rice. And this is what makes it so great, as you’re getting all the satiety of a grain, but all the nutrients, protein and healthy fats of a seed – all for much less calories.
It’s also full of essential amino acids; plus magnesium, calcium, iron and vitamin B12, all of which are essential for energy and therefore weight loss. Having a B Vitamin deficiency will mean your body cannot utilise nutrients efficiently and can actually hinder your weight loss efforts, so it’s very important to make sure you get adequate amounts.
How to use Quinoa:-
The high fiber, high protein, low GI and low calorie content of this super little seed makes it the perfect filling weigh loss food that is versatile enough to be incorporated into any meal. As it contains healthy low GI carbs you can either use it as a substitute to replace rice, potato, bread or pasta; OR it can be used as a protein and carbohydrate source all on its own.
I love to eat mine in the morning in one of my favorite quinoa breakfast bowls as it really is the best start to the day you could possible get; especially when mixed with other fruits, nuts and seeds. It will keep you satiated until lunch, so minimum mid-morning snacking!
Who doesn’t love chocolate! Well did you know you can have this luscious treat and not hinder your weight loss efforts into the bargain? Just be sure to have the dark kind with ideally 70% cacao solids minimum; this way you will gain all the benefits of cacao’s high magnesium, anti aging antioxidants, and fat burning effects.
Chocolate contains a chemical that releases feelings of euphoria, which is the reason why it can be so addictive. I knew it! But these chemicals also help release stress and keep you relaxed, both of which will help curb emotional eating problems. Do not over indulge in high cacao chocolate though, as it can be stimulating, and is probably best avoided close to bedtime too.
An oldie but a goody! Grapefruit’s abilities to burn fat have been known since the eighties – who remembers the infamous grapefruit diet? But there is actually sound evidence in the grapefruit’s fat burning abilities, as it helps reduces insulin resistance and decreases levels of sugar in the bloodstream; and most importantly it actually contains a chemical that stops the body from storing fat.
In fact, studies have shown that half a grapefruit before a meal can help you to lose up to 1.6 KG of weight in a 12 week period, and this was shown to happen WITHOUT changing the diet in any other way.
Berries are low calorie and packed full of anti aging phytonutrients and antioxidants – all of which help protect your cells from free radical damage. These wonderful qualities lie in the vibrant colours of a berry’s skin, therefore eating lots of different berries and vibrant colourful fruits and vegetables in general will give you plenty of immune boosting, skin loving antioxidants.
Berries can help you to lose belly fat specifically!
Raspberries and blueberries are particularly good for weight loss as they actually boost your metabolism. Plus, they are also preventative against the dangerous visceral fat that entwines itself around inner organs – the kind that can predispose you to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Add berries, especially frozen ones to weight loss smoothies, breakfast cereals and porridge; or just eat them as a low calorie snack anytime of day. A handful of raspberries or strawberries are fibrous and filling, and when eaten before bed give a nice slow release of energy whilst you sleep, helping to keep you night time hunger pangs at bay.
What a fantastic, filling, cheap and easy snack these are! They can be a life saver in hunger emergencies, as their fiber and low GI sugars can help keep you going until your next meal AND they are full of nutrition.
Bananas not only help to speed up your metabolism (music to our ears), but they also help to build lean muscle – making them the perfect food for those in training and the very reason why they are so popular in the fitness world.
Love it or hate it, you should get used to adding broccoli to your diet as much as humanly possible, and here’s why: It is one of the highest protein vegetables which is also high in fiber, and off the charts on the nutritional front; plus, it will help fill you up nicely all for only a small amount of calories. Yes, you really get a nutritional bang for your buck with broccoli, so bear this in mind when deciding on which veggies to accompany your meals.
Another great piece of information about broccoli is it contains the specific phytonutrient sulforaphane that gives it the ability to stimulate fat cells, thus enabling you to burn fat at a faster rate.
It’s best eaten lightly steamed as a side that will go with almost any main meal; OR stir fry with some coconut oil, chili, tamari sauce, and lemon… delicious!
Fragrant and delicious – cinnamon is just so versatile it can be sprinkled onto breakfasts, desserts, into smoothies and cakes, or added to hot drinks. It is one of the best foods to help control blood sugar and insulin quantities, so it’s also great for diabetics too.
Cinnamon is low GI!
As you now know, keeping blood sugar stable is one of the best ways to stay slim, and also keep weight under control once you are at your ideal weight. And amazingly, when cinnamon is added to food can lower a meal’s GI by a huge 18-29%. It may also help speed up metabolism, lower blood sugar, keep sugar cravings under control, lower bad cholesterol, and play a role in burning off that dangerous belly fat.
These qualities are only found in ceylon cinnamon (see pic); therefore you should be careful what you buy as there is a lot of cassia cinnamon (which comes in the hard rolls as opposed to flaky bark) on the market which isn’t as healthful. Always buy from a reputable organic brand; OR buy the actual flaky bark cinnamon (not hard rolls) and grind it yourself, which makes it tastes super fresh and fragrant and this way and you know exactly what you’re getting.
14. PROTEIN POWDERS
Protein powders really deserve a place on this list as protein is low GI and helps to build lean muscle mass (which in itself burns fat); plus it is filling to boot, leaving you less room for consuming those less healthy high GI carbohydrates.
There are many newfangled and fantastic plant based protein powders on the market these days including pea, hemp, rice, soy, pumpkin, quinoa, sunflower and potato; and you should take your time to find one that suits your needs. Some are even designed specifically for fat burning and weight loss, OR fat burning and muscle building; what you choose all depends on your own goals. Please check out these reviews of the top plant protein powders 2019 and you will see what I mean about the great products out there.
When do I take Protein Powder?
Having a high protein (30 grams), low carb shake for breakfast will help to keep YOUR body in fat burning mode for as long as possible after your night’s sleep. Instead of adding carbs like a banana – add half an avocado instead, for a dose of healthy monounsaturated fats which will also aid in filling you up for hours. This really does work, and you won’t get any hunger pangs until lunch using this method.
Other reasons to take extra protein supplements would be if you are a vegan or plant based eater; or if you do lots of exercise or training as your body’s demands will be higher under these circumstances. In these cases it’s always a good idea to have an extra hit of protein after your workout.
15. GREEN SUPER FOOD POWDER
Antioxidant rich green superfood powders such as chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass and barley grass are one of the best kept diet secrets I know. The reason being, they are loaded with concentrated minerals, vitamins and antioxidants; all of which can help detoxify your system.
Toxins are held in fat cells, that keep on swelling the more you keep bombarding your body with high sugar, high fat junk foods and other toxins. Some of these toxins are obviously out of your control, such those in the water system, air pollution, plastics, fertilisers and pesticides; but the fact remains the body still needs to detoxify them adequately and sometimes it needs a helping hand with this.
Green Superfood Powder – A powerful detoxifyer
The fact is we live in a toxic world, and these toxins are contributing to making us fat; and some green superfood green powders are powerful detoxifiers that will help kick start the process of cleaning out your system more efficiently.
One of the best super food powders I have found and still use to this day is Dr. Schulzes super food powder. It has a mix of specially dried green superfoods such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass and barley grass; plus other super foods, fruits and vegetables. This fantastic supplement also contains high levels of B-vitamins for energy and central nervous system support .
I’m aware I’m sounding ‘selly’ when I rave about this supplement but that’s just because I am genuinely passionate about it. This green beauty actually gives you a hit of energy within 20-30 minutes, and I swear you can literally see you skin and eyes glowing too if you look. If it’s having these effects on the outside, then my God you can only imagine what’s going on on the inside. I often take it before a night out, or when I need to look my best and it really gives me a boost.
LOW CARB DIET
Following a low carbohydrate diet, as well as eating lots of the above goodies on the list, will boost your fat burning and weight loss efforts even further. Check out this YouTube video for more information on those unsuspecting high carbohydrate foods that you may be eating unawares. You may be surprised which healthy foods contain hidden carbs… I was!
Thank you for reading this post from zestforever. I hope you have found some foods you enjoy on this list that can also double up as fat burner’s for you. I always welcome any comments or questions so feel free to drop me a line below.