Healthy Foods to Lose Weight - 15 Plant Based Superstars!

 

Switching to a plant based way of eating often in itself makes 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 can keep us looking bloated, listless and depressed. Here I have devised a list of healthy foods to lose weight, and they are the 15 Plant Based Superstars!

Incorporating the 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 away from the biscuit tin or whatever your weakness may be.

 

WHY HIGH GI FOODS ARE BAD

Sugar is high GI and causes you to put on weight

Another important factor of the foods on this list is that they are all low GI (glycemic index). GI is the rate in which the sugars in our food are released into the bloodstream, the higher the GI the faster the release – which is bad in most circumstances as this sugar spike signals insulin to be released from the pancreas.

All of this happens in order to clear those sugars out of the blood as soon as possible, but guess what? Those sugars if not burnt off are then stored straight into fat cells which just keep expanding and expanding, and so we put on weight.

 

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 diseases. It is important to note that not all sugars are bad, especially when they are in their natural state, as a whole piece of fruit. This is because there will also be lots of fibers and nutrients present which will allow that foods sugars to be released more slowly.

So without further ado let’s get into the top 15 foods that will not only help bring many changes to your life, but will also help you to understand the powerful effect’s 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 and not added as an extra on top. Use them as swaps instead.

 

HEALTHY FOODS TO LOSE WEIGHT

1. COCONUT OIL

Coconut Oil is healthy food that can help with weight loss

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 stomach fat specifically, which is the most dangerous kind that must be kept to a minimum to protect long term health.

Those of us who are predisposed to carry fat around our middle have a much greater risk of diabetes, heart attack, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnoea and premature death. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, this belly fat also entwines itself around internal organs causing no end of damage and stopping those vital organs from functioning properly.

Adding coconut oil instead of your usual fats 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, and 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.

 

2. AVOCADO

Avocados are low GI and help you lose weight

Another fat, but a good one! Avocados are one of natures super foods, and 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 sugars stable 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.

For more information on this super food please read my post about ‘avocado and weight loss‘.

 

3. HEMP SEEDS

hemp seeds are a plant based superstar for weight loss

The high content of omega 3’s in hemp seeds have been shown to be anti obesity – which makes them a 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 alone as a snack any time of day, they are delicious.

Hemp seeds are also amazing for your hair and help it to grow thick and fast, they 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 full of zinc and help with losing weight

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a vital component of the immune system. But they are also great for weight loss due to their high amounts of protein, fiber and many other nutrients. And they help reduce overall body fat by keeping blood sugar low and reducing insulin resistance, which is vital for weight loss.

 

Sleep and Weight Loss:

Another great little nugget of information about the pumpkin seed is it is high in tryptophan, so they can also aid you in getting a good nights sleep, which brings me on to my next big fat burning tip.

Getting enough sleep is CRUCIAL for weight loss because being adequately rested suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin. When you are tired your body releases too much of this hormone in an attempt to give you more instant energy, and that is when you will find you crave the worst types of refined carbohydrate and sugary foods.

 

5. ALMONDS

almonds are a great weight loss aid and are full of protein

Raw unsalted almonds are a highly convenient snack that can either be carried about easily in your bag, left in your glove box compartment, or in the office at work. They are immediately filling and satiating, low carb, and full of fiber, protein, and antioxidants – all of the ingredients for a great fat burning food.

Also, about 15% of the calories in nuts aren’t even absorbed so you can afford to have a couple extra!

 

6. WALNUTS

raw walnuts are full of heart healthy nutrients and are good for the brain

Walnuts – another super food, and for so many reasons. Firstly they are jam packed with ALA (alpha linolenic acid), which is a heart healthy and fat burning omega 3 fat. This fat also helps reduce your risk of diabetes, boosts brain power, and contains powerful anti cancer antioxidants.

The healthy fats in walnuts also boost metabolism which will help keep your body an awesome fat burning machine. Remember that 90% of walnuts antioxidants lie in their skins, so always eat them with their skins on and as fresh as possible. Read more here on theamazing benefits of walnutsand prepare to have your mind blown.

 

7. QUINOA

Quinoa is a magnificent high protein and high fiber seed that is often used to replace grains such as pasta and rice. And this is what makes it so fantastic because you are getting all the satiety of a grain but all the nutrients, protein and healthy fats of a seed, and all for much less calories.

Quinoa is full of essential amino acids, magnesium, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12, which are all essential for energy and therefore weight loss. Having a B Vitamin deficiency will mean your body cannot utilise nutrients efficiently, which will actually hinder your weight loss efforts. So it is 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 make it the perfect filling weigh loss food.

 

8. CACAO

High Cacao Chocolate helps you to lose weight

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 to 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 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 have a stimulating effect and is probably best avoided close to bedtime.

 

9. GRAPEFRUIT

An oldie but a goodie, grapefruit’s abilities to burn fat have been known since the eighties. Who remembers the grapefruit diet? But there is good scientific evidence in the grapefruit’s fat burning abilities, 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 helps people to lose between 1-4 lbs of weight per week, and this was shown to happen WITHOUT changing the diet in any other way. Now this is just mind blowing information that definitely warrants a testing of the theory, or at least adding grapefruit to your diet as much as possible to help keep weight down.

 

10. BERRIES

blueberries are great for weigh loss

Berries are low calorie and packed full of anti aging phytonutrients and antioxidants, all of which help protect our cells from free radical damage.

 

Berries help you lose belly fat specifically!

Raspberries and blueberries are particularly good for weight loss as they boost your metabolism –  plus they are also preventative against that dangerous visceral fat that entwines itself around inner organs and predisposed us to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Add berries, especially frozen ones, to smoothies, breakfast cereals or porridge, or just eat as a snack anytime of day. A handful of raspberries or strawberries eaten if you are peckish before bed, gives a nice slow release of energy throughout the night, and will help keep you waking from night time hunger pangs. They are super low calorie and filling.

 

11. BANANAS

bananas are filling and are full of potassium and fiber to keep you full

 

Oh, what a great, 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.

Banana’s not only actually help to speed up your metabolism (music to our ears), but also help to build lean muscle, making them the perfect food for those in training. In fact, this is the reason why they are so popular in the fitness world due to the fact  they pack so many nutritional punches. Please find out more little known banana facts here

 

12. BROCCOLI

broccoli is a weight loss superfood

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 that will help fill you up nicely, and all for only a very small amount of calories. You really get a nutritional bang for your buck here!

Another good point is broccoli actually contains a specific phytonutrient that enables you to burn fat at a faster rate due to its ability to stimulate fat cells.

I just lightly steam mine and have it as a side with almost every main meal – or stir fry with some coconut oil, chili, tamari sauce, and lemon. Delish!

 

13. CINNAMON

cinnamon is good for sugar cravings

Fragrant and delicious, cinnamon is just so versatile it can be sprinkled onto breakfasts, desserts, into smoothies, cakes, or added to hot drinks. It is one of the best foods to control blood sugar and insulin quantities, which is why it is so good for diabetics.

 

Lowers GI of Meals!

As you now know, keeping blood sugar under control is the number one way to stay slim and keep weight under control. And amazingly, cinnamon, when added to food can lower a meals GI by a huge 18-29%, AND it also speeds up metabolism, helps keep sugar cravings under control, lowers bad cholesterol and helps to burn belly fat.

These qualities are only found in real cinnamon, so be careful as there is a lot of fake stuff on the market. Always buy from a reputable organic brand. It is good to buy the actual cinnamon bark and grind it yourself, it tastes super fresh this way and you know exactly what you’re getting. The bark should be of the flaky variety not the hard tubes as that stuff just isn’t real cinnamon.

Learn more about the importance of making sure you purchase the right kind of cinnamon in my post ‘Cinnamon and Fat Loss’.

 

14. PROTEIN POWDERS

Protein powders really deserve a place on this list, as not only is protein low GI, but it also helps build lean muscle mass (which in itself burns fat) and it is filling to boot – leaving us less room for consuming high GI carbohydrates.

There are many different plant protein powders on the market including peahemp, rice, soy, pumpkin, quinoa, sunflower and potato.

I have taken to having a high protein/very low carb shake for breakfast, as it helps to keep the body in fat burning anabolic mode for as long as possible after sleep. I also like to add half an avocado to this for healthy fats, and to help fill me up for hours. It really works.

 

15. GREEN SUPER FOOD POWDER

Hemp super food smoothie protein drink

Green super foods such as chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass and barley grass are one of the best kept diet secrets I know of. 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 ourselves with junk foods and other toxins – some of which are obviously out of our control, like those in the water system, air pollution, plastics, and pesticides.

 

Green powder – A Powerful Detoxifyer

In fact, 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 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, and I swear you can see you skin and eyes glowing for hours afterwards. I often take it before a night out, or when I need to look my best and need to glow – it really 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. To find out the easiest way to do this, and which are the best foods to get your fat burning fires stoked then please read my ‘Fat Burning Low Carb Foods List’.

 

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Stefanie Taylor

I have studied nutrition for many years, and have since discovered that a plant based diet has been the most beneficial to my health and body. I have more energy and zest for life than I have ever had and this website is dedicated to helping others who wish to know more, and start out on this lifestyle.

18 Comments

Logan · 22/01/2018 at 7:33 pm

Hey I really enjoyed this post. I had no idea that pumpkin seeds could help with weight loss. You have listed a lot of foods that I will have to try out. Thanks

    Stefanie Taylor · 25/01/2018 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Logan, thanks for reading and I’m glad the post has given you some new information. Pumpkin seeds are also great for the immune system as they are high in zinc, so another great reason to eat them.

Scott Rosenberger · 22/01/2018 at 8:18 pm

Great information, in a colorful, easy to read format! Just an observation, did you mean arsenal or even regimen, rather than arson, in # 4? Great job, and keep the info coming. I’ll keep following!

    Stefanie Taylor · 23/01/2018 at 9:50 pm

    Hi Scott, thanks for reading and yes I did mean arsenal, I will go in and change it. Thanks for noticing that! I’m glad you liked the article and yes, keep following as I have so much more to give.

Shelli Thomas · 22/01/2018 at 8:22 pm

Wowsa! This is a fantastic list of 15 wonderful foods to be eating. My favorite part is that I love everything on here! I really appreciate you sharing this information and giving me more reasons to be eating all of these delicious foods!

    Stefanie Taylor · 25/01/2018 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Shelli, really glad you love everything on this list. Everybody has been saying that, which is great. Makes it so much easier to stick to and incorporate into your every day diet. Thanks for reading.

Suzanne · 22/01/2018 at 8:49 pm

I agree Stefanie, the more plant based I eat the better I feel. The benefits are really explained well!

    Stefanie Taylor · 25/01/2018 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Suzanne, yes me too! I have been plant based for almost a year now and I could never go back as I just feel so much better, and one marked thing that I’ve noticed the most is that I have never been sick in that time. I have felt thinks coming on but they have disappeared the next morning. This says it all to me that this truly is the best way to eat.

John Patrick Styron · 23/01/2018 at 2:57 am

Hi Stefanie. Loved the article! The website as a whole is very attractive in appearance as well. I like the images, the organization, and the short to-the-point discussion under each of the items. I also like that you have an easy way for the reader to share your article themselves on facebook, twitter, etc. Nice job. I need to do that with my website as well.

Specifically, I like your discussion of green powders. Actually I had never heard of them before. I try to take care of myself but I think we can all learn much more about how certain foods can really impact our body such as you are trying to do with your website.

    Stefanie Taylor · 23/01/2018 at 6:31 pm

    Hi John, thanks so much for all your compliments about my website. You have really made my day as everything you have said about is what I wanted to achieve. I have only been going for a short while so I hope to do a lot more things to improve the site and help a lot more people.

    Yes, honestly, you should try the green super food powders as they make such a difference to energy and well-being. I use them every day on top of an already healthy diet as they are just so detoxifying. I wish you all the luck in the world with your website and I shall go on and make a comment for you too.

Oscar · 23/01/2018 at 5:25 am

Hi, what an extensive list of superfoods to help me lose weight. I had heard about many of them, but there are some that I did not know about, for instance the beneftis of cacao and cinnamon. I will have to add them to my diet.

However, the one that kept me thinking was grapfruit. I am trying to lose weight, and have been able to shed over 30 pounds so far, but I have another 50 or so to go, and at this point it seems a little slow. I am eating healthy, weigh my food, eat no sugars nor flour, lots of raw vegetables, but I cannot seem to beat it now. So grapefruit is another way to try.

Thanks for sharing,
Oscar

    Stefanie Taylor · 23/01/2018 at 4:38 pm

    Hi Oscar, wow, congratulations on losing all that weight. That truly is an awesome feat as I know how hard it is. The thing is your body has probably got used to your diet and has reached a plateau stage. It happens like this. Your only option now is to just keep going, maybe cut down calories/carbs even more and up the exercise, especially weight bearing as you want to get as much muscle mass on your body as you can. This muscle will help you burn fat much more efficiently. 

    Plus add these fat burning foods on my list. Definitely add cinnamon to your food if you are prone to sugar cravings, and try the half a grapefruit thing. I think for ease of purpose you could probably use pre-squeezed carton grapefruit juice, as long as it hasn’t been pasturised and is fresh, and has it’s bits in (which is the fiber). I would also go for the yellow grapefruits as I think these are meant to have a better effect on fat burning. If you do go for the juice you will only need a small amount before each meal, say 100 ml as you don’t want to add excess calories.

    Another thing that may help you is this turmeric paste, as turmeric can help with weight loss and the paste has added healthy fats that when eaten before a meal will stop you consuming so much. You could try it anyway, the link is Turmeric Benefits and Side Effects – Homemade Turmeric Paste

Jucing Fan · 23/01/2018 at 4:32 pm

This is a great resource! thanks for these!

Definitely plant-based Food are good source of nutrients that will fill our bodies up. We are usually taught that carbs are the ones that fuel us but it turns out that they do contain a lot of sugar that can build up in our system. It’s hard to breakdown, but of course that also depends on our metabolism parse.

But definitely, when you gradually incorporate plant-based food in your diet, you can be most certain that you will naturally lose that unwanted weight.

    Stefanie Taylor · 23/01/2018 at 5:03 pm

    Hi there, yes lots of carbs are bad, I’m talking mostly refined sugars and flours that make up pretty much every junk food out there. Luckily there are lots of healthy carbs for us to eat like vegetables, pulses, whole grains and fruit. I love all of them, and since turning to this way of eating i have most definitely lost weight.

penelope · 27/01/2018 at 3:24 pm

I was at the grocery store yesterday and the clerk was telling me that she and her family moved to a plant based diet. She was a very large woman, so i was surprised, but I could have been seeing an “after” version – it’s possible she was MUCH larger at some point before going on this journey. Anyway, she bragged that she got groceries for her family last week for $53…because this diet is so affordable.

I’m considering the shift, particularly after reading more about all of these rich delicious things like walnuts and avocados, and how they could be a doable swap out for meat.

    Stefanie Taylor · 27/01/2018 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Penelope, yes they sure can. There are so many plant based proteins that you can swap for meat such as tofu, pulses, nuts, seeds and also lots of vegetables actually contain some protein, the highest being broccoli. Not to mention there are an abundance of protein powders out there now also, to fill in any gaps. You may find this post interesting if you are looking for more plant based alternatives to protein .

    Also, it’s a bit of a myth that all vegans and plant based eater are slim. Trust me, I struggle to keep my weight down on this kind of diet as I did before on the average diet. Have yous seen the calories in nuts and seeds, and vegan chocolate? Ha ha. Also, there are a lot of junk food vegans around who can still find a way to make this diet unhealthy as they live on fries and chips and sugar. So food for thought!

      penelope · 05/02/2018 at 9:52 pm

      “Junk food vegan” – that’s a thing? WOW. You may as well tell me that olympic athletes keep their stellar physiques on a diet of just McDonald’s. It just seems so incongruous.

      I had no clue broccoli had the most protein, amazing what the internet will teach you!

        Stefanie Taylor · 05/02/2018 at 11:15 pm

        Ha ha yes Penelope, there are so many junk food vegans out there and they give us healthy ones a bad name. I know some of them myself and they look really pale and unhealthy which causes people to believe that it must be because they’re vegan, when it’s simply because they are not doing it right. Drives me to despair! yes, broccoli if great and I must say I have it almost every day, it’s one of my absolute faves.

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