Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – 15 Plant Based Superstars!

Just switching to a plant based diet alone is often enough to make the loss of those extra inches inevitable. For a start eating plant based foods in itself 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

cookies with faces

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!

red apple hanging on tree

This is why eating low GI foods 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.

1. COCONUT OIL

coconut oil in glass jar

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 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.

2. AVOCADO

chopped ans sliced avocado

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

raw 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

woman sleeping in bed

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.

5. ALMONDS

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!

6. WALNUTS

walnuts with shells

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.

7. QUINOA

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

bowl cooked 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!

8. CACAO

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 as it can be stimulating, and is definitely best avoided close to bedtime too.

9. GRAPEFRUIT

pink grapefruit

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. 

10. BERRIES

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!

blackberry, blueberry, raspberry

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 homemade weight loss shakes, 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.

11. BANANAS

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.

12. BROCCOLI

broccoli and tape measure

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!

13. CINNAMON

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

flaky bark ceylon cinnamon sticks

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?

protein powder smoothie

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 superfood shots 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

clear glasses of green smoothie

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. Schulze’s green superfood blend (which you can find through the above link). 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!

CONCLUSION

Eating weight loss foods regularly can help you lose excess weight and boost metabolism as part of your healthy eating and exercise plan. These fat burning foods will be filling you up with their nutrition and fiber leaving less room for unhealthy junk foods, so they can boost weight loss in this respect alone.

Anyway, I hope you have some good results with these foods and would love to hear about your results or any questions you may have, so please feel free to post them in the comments thread here on this page.

Don’t go yet!!

Before you leave, don’t forget to join up to Zestforever’s mailing list below↓↓↓ and receive more fantastic tips, guides and meal plans straight to your inbox. Continual learning is the best way to ensure you keep that hot body for life and not just a flash in the pan. Good luck!

Stefanie Taylor
Plant based eating is set to EXPLODE in 2019; not just for health reasons, but also to help keep our beautiful planet thriving. I have lived this healthful lifestyle for over 2 years, which is the reason why zestforever was born to share my experiences, trials and errors, how I overcame them, and how to turn to this lifestyle in such a way that you will thrive too.

I have studied, tried and tested healthy foods, superfoods and diets for over 25 years, but nothing has come close to giving me the buzz of wellness that plant based eating has. To expand my knowledge further I have also studied and worked as a Sports Nutritional Advisor, Nutritional Therapist, and Clinical Weight Loss Advisor - all of which can tie in with the plant based diet.

This website is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical diseases or illnesses. It's merely meant as a way of showing you how to boost your health through the eating of more nutritious plant foods in place of junk foods.

I am grateful for your support, and I hope that the tips and guides you find here will help to guide you on your own plant based journey.

16 thoughts on “Healthy Foods to Lose Weight – 15 Plant Based Superstars!”

  1. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  2. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  4. 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

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  5. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
      • “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!

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply

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