Top Ten Weight Loss Foods for Women

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.

Berries:

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:

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:

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:

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

Beans (legumes):

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:

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

Whole Grains:

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:

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:

Apples
Bell Peppers
Carrots
Pumpkin
Sweet Potatoes
Tea
Tomatoes
Turkey
Vegetable Juice
Soy
Coffee
Pomegranates
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!

  • elizabeth October 10, 2012, 3:24 pm

    hi im elizabeth and i am 13 i weigh 240 pounds!! any tips i want to weigh 150

    • Lori October 12, 2012, 8:32 am

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I’m sorry it took so long to reply! I had visitors from out of town and other things that came up unexpectedly.

      I would encourage you to eat plain healthy fruits and vegetables as much as you can. By plain I mean with no added sauces or sugar. Fresh is good but frozen and canned are good as well.

      You need other foods to balance your meals such as a good source of lean protein. Lean protein might be a small amount of chicken, turkey, fish, or lean beef or pork cuts. Beans are also a very good source of protein but something like Campbell’s baked beans can have a lot of added sugar. Eggs can be a good source of protein.

      If you are getting the protein you need then fill up on low calorie fruits and vegetables and limit your intake of breads, pasta, rice, and other refined carbohydrates. In the United States we tend to eat too many refined carbohydrates and this is the biggest source of extra calories. Some of those extra calories can come from beverages with added sugar. Soda pop and fruit drinks add lots of unnecessary calories. Try to drink only water and a small amount of real fruit juice and skim milk if it is served in your house.

      It’s hard when you are growing up and not in charge of what is available in your home. Just do your best to eat healthy low calorie foods when you can and limit how much you eat of everything else!

      I hope this helps!

      Lori

      Have you talked with your family doctor about your health and weight?

  • CAROLYN September 30, 2012, 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the specific answers on weight loss foods! Too many websites give needless info when THAT is the question asked!

    • Lori October 1, 2012, 9:11 am

      Thanks Carolyn! Let me know if there is other information you seek and haven’t been able to find.

      Lori

  • Cynthia Salvatore September 25, 2012, 7:00 pm

    Hi,
    I am 16 years old and I do workout almost 4-5 times a week in a gym. I take the spinning classes and some weights ones too. My parents are from India so we eat Indian food at home. It’s not as fatty as the one in restaurants but still. I have no idea whether the food is good or not. And can u please suggest me a diet because i need to loose like 50-60 pounds!
    Thank you for this awesome article!

    • Lori September 26, 2012, 1:29 pm

      Hi Cynthia,

      I’ll do my best to give you some tips. I may not be an expert on Indian food but I do know a little. And I do LIKE Indian food! Yum! That said, Indian cuisine is no different than any other when it comes to having a variety of good and not so good choices with respect to calories and nutrition.

      I would encourage you to stick with your normal diet just make some adjustments to cut back on your calorie intake. That way your parents won’t have to cook all new dishes just for you. On the other hand, over time, you may succeed in getting your parents to serve more of the healthy low calorie food and less of the higher calorie less than healthy food. If they do make an effort to change things a little always let them know how grateful you are for the support!

      Indian food can include many vegetables and that’s good. Whenever possible eat more of the vegetables to fill yourself up with very few calories. Just watch the sauces. Cream-based sauces tend to be high fat and high calorie. Tomato-based sauces tend to be lower calorie. Legumes such as lentils, peas, and beans are good choices. They are very nutritious, filling, and not too high calorie. Low fat yogurt and low fat buttermilk are excellent choices. If your parents are not using either of these you might be able to convince them to switch from the full fat versions. Also limit your intake of sour cream.

      Cynthia, we do need some healthy fat in the diet so please don’t try to eliminate all fat! I don’t know enough about Indian cuisine to tell you what fat or kinds of fat would be best. Also, you will want to limit the sources of refined carbohydrates and sugar in Indian cooking as much as possible. Limit the bread (chapatis?). Limit pastries, deep-fried foods, and again, foods covered in cream sauce. Chutney has some good ingredients but it can also have a lot of sugar so limit what you eat to very little.

      A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, beans (legumes such as chickpeas and more), small amounts of dairy or dairy alternatives (yogurt, buttermilk, cheese), some whole grains (I’m not sure what to recommend for Indian food), and small amounts of fish, meat, poultry, or other high protein foods (for vegetarian diets).

      No matter what you eat do watch your portion size.

      If you cut back on some of the higher fat, higher calorie foods and eat less of the refined carbohydrates and sugar you should do well.

      Do keep your family health care provider informed about your choices.

      I’m glad to hear that you are getting the exercise you need. Good for you.

      Best of luck!

      Lori