Switching to a plant based diet, in itself, 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 foods 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 super health status in no time.
Incorporating the weight loss foods on this list into your diet as much as possible will not only leave less room for the junk, but their high nutrient and fiber content will help keep you full and satiated, and ultimately away from the biscuit tin, or whatever else your food weakness may be.
WHY HIGH GI FOODS ARE BAD:
Another important factor of the foods on this list is that they are all low GI (short for glycemic index) which is the rate in which the sugars in a food are released into the 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 sugar spike signals insulin to be released from the pancreas.
Insulin is released in order to clear those sugars out of the blood as soon as possible, but guess what; 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. And so you put on weight, more and more until you break the cycle; making it easy to see why eating high sugar foods whilst sitting in front of the T.V. makes you gain weight… fast!
A Low GI Diet is the Healthiest!
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, cancer, and many other nasty diseases. It is important to note that not all sugars are bad; especially when they are in their natural state, as in a whole piece of fruit for instance. In this case there will also be lots of fibers and nutrients present to allow the fruit’s sugars to be released more slowly over a period of time for a sustained energy release.
These are the reason why a low GI diet is SO important to a healthy lifestyle and for keeping the excess pounds off.
Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – 15 Plant Based Superstars
So without further ado let’s get into the top 15 foods fat burning foods for weight loss that will not only help bring many changes to your life, but will also help you to understand the powerful effects food 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. Use them as swaps instead.
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 coconut oil helps you burn visceral stomach fat (which is the most dangerous kind, and 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, right… Yikes!).
Coconut oil is easy to add to many dishes-
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-fry’s, cakes, and roasted vegetables: because of its high smoking point it is also safe for frying at high heat as 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 of one of these creamy and delicious fruits every day.
Avocados are so satiating that not only do they fill you up; but it’s proven they can keep blood sugar even for hours. 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, which makes 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 as they are 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.
4. PUMPKIN SEEDS
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, and zinc 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 little nugget of information about the pumpkin seed is it is high in tryptophan, which makes 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, so this is when you’ll find you crave the worst types of refined carbohydrates and sugary foods.
Raw unsalted almonds are a highly convenient snack that can either be carried easily in your bag, left in your glove box compartment, or your office drawer at work. They are immediately filling and satiating, 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, boost brain power, and its powerful anti antioxidants may reduce your risk of some cancer’s.
But for weight loss purposes, the healthy fats in walnuts boost metabolism, which in turn will help your body become an awesome fat burning machine. Remember that 90% of the walnuts antioxidants lie in their skins, so always eat them with their skins on and as fresh as possible.
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 which can actually hinder your weight loss efforts, so it’s very important to make sure you get adequate amounts.
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 .
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Well did you know you can have this luscious treat and not hinder your weight loss efforts? Just be sure to have the dark stuff 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, and is the reason why it can be so addictive; but these chemicals also help release stress and keep you relaxed, both of which will curb emotional eating problems. Do not over indulge in high cacao chocolate though as it can be stimulating, therefore is probably best avoided close to bedtime.
An oldie but a goodie! Grapefruit’s abilities to burn fat have been known since the eighties; who remembers the infamous grapefruit diet? But there is actually sound scientific evidence in the grapefruit’s fat burning abilities as it reduces insulin resistance and helps to decrease 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 between 1-4 lbs of weight per week; and this was shown to happen WITHOUT changing the diet in any other way. This, I believe, is mind blowing information that definitely warrants a testing of the theory, or at least, if nothing else, adding grapefruit to your diet as much as possible to help keep weight under control.
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 fruit and vegetables in general, will give you lots of immune boosting, skin loving antioxidants.
Berries help you 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 smoothies, breakfast cereals, or 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 if you’re peckish before bed give a nice slow release of energy while you sleep to help keep you waking from night time hunger pangs.
What a fantastic, filling, and easy snack these are! They can be a life saver in hunger emergencies as their fiber and low GI sugars can really help keep you going until your next meal.
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 due to the fact they pack so many nutritional punches.
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 that is also high in fiber, and will help fill you up nicely all for only a very 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 pout with your meal.
Another great piece of information about broccoli is it contains a specific phytonutrient 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 control blood sugar and insulin quantities, so it’s also great for diabetics.
Cinnamon is low GI
As you now know, keeping blood sugar stable is one of the best ways to stay slim and keep weight under control. And amazingly, cinnamon, when added to food can lower a meal’s GI by a huge 18-29%; PLUS it also speeds up metabolism, helps keep sugar cravings under control, lowers bad cholesterol, and helps to burn 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; it is also good to buy the actual flaky bark cinnamon (not hard rolls) and grind it yourself – it tastes super fresh 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 naughty high GI carbohydrates.
There are many different awesome plant based protein powder’s on the market 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; it all depends on your own goals. Please check out my review’s of the top plant protein powders 2018.
When to take your protein powder:-
Having a high protein (30 grams)/very low carb shake for breakfast will help to keep the body in fat burning mode for as long as possible after your nights 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!
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. In this case it’s always good to have more protein after your workout.
15. GREEN SUPER FOOD POWDER
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 detoxify the system.
Toxins are held in fat cells that keep on swelling the more we keep bombarding our bodies with junk foods and other toxins. Some of these toxin’s are obviously out of our control; such those in the water system, air pollution, plastics, and pesticides; but the fact remains the body still needs to detoxify them adequately.
Green powder – a powerful detoxifyer
The fact is, we live in a toxic world, and these toxins are contributing to making us fat. Super food green powders are powerful detoxifiers that will help kick start the process of cleaning out your system.
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 .
This green beauty actually gives you a hit of energy within 20 minutes; (no kidding) and I swear you can literally see you skin and eyes glowing too. If it’s having these effects on the outside then 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 need to glow – it works a treat!
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 just which foods contain hidden carbs – I was.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you have found some foods you enjoy on this list that can double up as fat burners for you. I always welcome any comments or questions, so feel free to drop me a line below!