Calories can add up quickly. So it matters which foods you select on a low calorie diet. Choose wisely and you will not only achieve a calorie deficit for weight loss but you can take care of your health and effectively manage your hunger at the same time. Not feeling hungry on a low calorie diet is a good deal!
So, what are the best weight loss foods for women? Narrowing it down to just 10 was difficult. However, calorie for calorie, the foods I’ve chosen are nutritional powerhouses that show up often on the lists of so-called “superfoods.” Each of these foods is packed with healthy nutrients. The plant sources of food also include fiber and antioxidants. At the same time each of these foods is low fat and low calorie.
Keep in mind that fat is not bad. There are certain essential fatty acids that we need in our diet. However, the calories from fat add up fast. A gram of protein or carbohydrates has 4 calories whereas a gram of fat has 9. There are some nutritious foods that I highly recommend for your health such as nuts, avocados, and olive oil. But I am not including them in the list of the top ten for weight loss because of their calorie count.
Here’s my list. Include these foods in your diet often and you will dramatically increase your chances for weight loss success.
Nutritious and delicious, you just can’t go wrong with berries. Some of nature’s very best foods, unsweetened berries are low fat, low calorie, a great source of antioxidants and most are a good source of fiber. Some berries such as blueberries are also low sugar. Even the strictest low-carb diets such as Atkins allows blueberries after the first two weeks or so.
When purchasing berries look for organic whenever possible. Berries not organically grown may have significant and potentially harmful amounts of pesticides.
For calorie and fiber counts see Low Calorie, High Fiber Summer Fruits and Vegetables.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids seem to play an important role in reducing inflammation and risk for heart disease. Recent research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may also improve insulin sensitivity and decrease belly fat. Stabilizing blood sugar is important because it helps to reduce food cravings.
Salmon can be low calorie, low carb, low sodium, low saturated fat, and heart healthy depending on how it is prepared. When you buy salmon look for wild salmon rather than farm-raised.
Low-fat Plain Yogurt:
Low-fat plain yogurt has a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. This kind of balance can help keep blood sugar steady, which reduces food cravings.
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and protein, which makes it a great choice for women. Getting enough calcium on a low calorie diet can be quite a challenge. Although numerous studies have suggested that the calcium in milk products promotes weight loss, the evidence remains unclear. Yogurt is a good choice regardless. If new research confirms that there is indeed a relationship between the calcium in milk products and weight loss, so much the better.
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (8 oz container) – 154 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 448 mg of calcium
Eggs are an excellent choice for any meal, especially breakfast. Getting enough high quality protein is particularly important for your first meal of the day.
To begin with, having a well-balanced nutritious breakfast can get you off to a good start. Balance matters for your health and satisfaction and sets a standard for eating healthy the rest of the day. Getting enough protein helps to kick-start your metabolism and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than a high carb breakfast.
If eating eggs often does not fit with your need to be on a low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet, then choose an egg substitute. You’ll come out ahead because the egg substitute products made with 99 percent egg whites are high protein and lower in calories than whole eggs.
See Healthy Low Calorie Breakfast Ideas for breakfast menus that include eggs.
Broccoli is loaded with vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. In addition, broccoli provides a source of naturally occurring plant chemicals that have been linked to reducing risk for cancer overall and specifically breast cancer. Broccoli also contains lutein, which is important for healthy eyes.
1 cup chopped broccoli = 31 calories, dietary fiber = 2.4 grams
1 stalk broccoli = 51 calories, 3.9 grams dietary fiber
Loaded with fiber, protein, and other nutrients, beans can be fantastic. Beans provide soluble fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. (Are you picking up on the theme of choosing foods that keep blood sugar in line? Think healthy food sources of omega-3 fatty acids, balanced nutrition, and soluble fiber.)
Stabilizing blood sugar keeps you from overeating by managing your hunger. Preventing insulin spikes can also reduce your bodies attempt to store more calories as fat than you need especially in the abdomen.
Add beans to salads, soups, stews, salsas, and sauces. Edamame beans can be eaten plain or with a low calorie dip. Look for edamame beans in the frozen foods section at your grocery store.
For more on fiber and weight loss read: Dietary Fiber: Can it Help You with Weight Loss?
Spinach is very low calorie and an excellent source of many important nutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron. It is also a rich source of fiber and of healthy antioxidants, the benefits of which are still being uncovered.
1/2 cup cooked spinach = 21 calories, 4.3 grams of fiber
Oats, barley, whole wheat, and quinoa are just a few examples of the healthy grains to include in your diet. Whole grains have more fiber and a complete and balanced array of nutrients just as nature intended unlike processed and fortified grain products such as white bread. Look for the 100% whole grain stamp, a symbol of approval by the Whole Grains Council for packaged foods.
Whole grain foods are a rich source of fiber both soluble and insoluble. The fiber in whole grain foods can fill you up and keep you feeling satisfied as well as stabilize blood sugar. Watch your portion sizes with whole grains. Calorie counts vary so read the nutrition label and be aware of how much you eat.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit are a good source of soluble fiber and water as well as other nutrients such as vitamin C. Once again, the soluble fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Also, eating nutritious foods with a high water content can help you fill up while keeping your calorie count down.
Picking just ten foods was difficult. Here are some of the many other excellent foods you will want to consider including in your diet:
Spicy foods (Spicy foods burn extra calories for a short time but more importantly these foods are difficult to eat fast. Eating slowly can give you more time to register that you are getting full and keep you from overeating.)
See how often you can include the top ten weight loss foods for women in your diet. When eating these foods becomes a habit, it’s time to expand your repertoire. If you choose to eat healthy foods and follow the weight loss tips and strategies I’ve shared with you on this site, you have a formula for success!
[Have you had a chance to explore some of the latest additions on this site? I’ve now created a page specifically for everything you need to know about going on a healthy 1200 calorie diet. I’ve also created a toolbar that you can download for free to stay informed about my latest posts and recommendations. Look for it on the 1200 calorie diet page.]
Till next time, watch those calories and eat healthy!