Many people think that *not* eating certain foods is the key to weight loss, but this list will show you what you *should* be eating to shed pounds.
Our diets can have a profound effect on our health. What we eat can either be the best source of energy or the reason why we lack it.
When we eat right, our bodies will naturally use the food we eat to be more active and help us keep at a healthy body weight.
Of course, if you haven’t been so great at keeping your junk food habit in check, you might already be overweight.
Luckily, you can eat certain foods to help you lose that extra weight.
Here are the eleven best foods you should start eating right now to help you lose weight:
1. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great snack to reach for in between meals if you want to shed unwanted pounds. We like to call them the king of snacks.
Although there are many different varieties to choose from, some shine brighter than the rest when it comes to helping you lose weight. These include almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
You can even eat peanut butter to help you lose weight!
One word of warning, however, is that nuts and seeds carry a lot of calories. Keep your servings small — a handful is all you need to reap the benefits.
Nuts and seeds contain protein, fiber, healthy fats, and lots of minerals. By choosing to snack on these golden nuggets, you help to keep yourself satiated between meals. This can prevent binging on unhealthy snacks when you’re trying to shed pounds.
2. Fatty Fish
Salmon, tuna, and herring all fall under this category. These fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. Oddly enough, omega-3’s don’t help you lose weight so much as help you burn fat.
Along with the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, these fish contain a lot of protein, which helps to keep you full, even if you only have veggies on the side.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are the most nutrition-packed foods available. They deliver a high quantity of minerals and vitamins and are also high in fiber.
These foods are hands down the most essential part of a weight loss diet. There are really no wrong greens — they all contain healthy doses of nutrients and very few calories.
Kale, spinach, collard greens, beet greens, and mustard greens are all popular choices. Depending on where you live, they can all be found at different times of the year.
It’s best to incorporate as many different types of greens into your diet for the maximum benefit to your health.
If you have a sweet tooth but don’t want to gain weight from eating sugary foods, you can use berries as a substitute.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all delicious and versatile. You can add them to your yogurt, make a delicious smoothie, or eat them as is.
The insoluble fiber in berries helps to keep you full, and the natural sugars will satiate your sweet tooth without spiking your insulin levels.
Berries are also high in antioxidants, potent compounds that fight against disease.
One of the best breakfasts you can eat for weight loss is a plate of eggs. They may have had a bad rap in the past, but dietitians revere eggs as one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
Boiled eggs are best for weight loss as they contain no butter or oil and are convenient to bring wherever you go. But if you choose to eat them scrambled, consider adding some spinach or other veggies to create a more filling and nutritious meal.
Egg whites are the purest form of protein, containing all the essential amino acids needed to preserve lean muscle mass.
6. Beans and Legumes
The only carbohydrates on this list, beans and legumes are energy powerhouses.
Yes, they contain a lot of carbs, but they have a lot of fiber which helps the body to slowly digest the carbs while keeping your blood sugar levels steady.
Beans also contain protein and minerals. And, as a bonus, they are filling and cheap!
Avocados are another item on this list that uses the power of omega-3 fatty acids to help you shed fat. Add the fiber that avocados contain to the list, and you have the perfect weight-loss food.
Avocados can be eaten in many different ways. Some people just split the fruit in two, sprinkle a little salt on it, and eat it with a spoon. They are also great chopped up and tossed into salads.
One of the best ways to use avocados is to mash them up and use them to replace mayo on your sandwiches or burgers.
The caffeine in your morning coffee not only gives you an energy boost to get your day started, but it’s also proven to help you burn more calories and break down fat.
To keep the benefits outweighing the downfalls, don’t add sugar or creamer to your coffee.
Tea is coffee’s tamer older cousin. This drink is milder than coffee but still provides the body with caffeine.
EGCG is an antioxidant-packed plant compound that promotes weight loss and is even healthy for the brain and heart.
Theanine in green tea can increase the body’s natural relaxation hormones to counteract the negative effects of cortisol, which can cause excessive weight gain.
10. Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic are two foods that almost every family eats, but most don’t understand the health benefits they provide.
These two vegetables fall under the plant group called alliums. The plants in this family contain sulfur that helps the body to burn fat.
Onion and garlic also contain probiotic compounds and are considered antiseptics.
They provide the most nutrients when eaten raw, although most people don’t enjoy raw garlic. However, if you dice up your garlic into tiny pieces and mix it into a salad with other vegetables and fruits, it won’t taste as strong, and you’ll get the maximum benefits
11. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices add flavor without adding calories. This makes them the best addition to any meal.
Many herbs and spices also contain healthy nutrients. Fenugreek is a spice that helps with appetite control. Cayenne contains capsaicin which boosts metabolism. Ginger both lowers appetite and boosts metabolism.
Oh, and salt is neither an herb nor a spice, so try to use less of that — according to scientists, salt and weight gain go hand in hand!
It may take a little while to incorporate these foods into your diet, especially if some of them aren’t your favorite things to eat. But even though it’s difficult, the payoff is great.
Eating these eleven foods regularly (and staying away from junk food) will help you look and feel your best.
Remember to consider the nutritional value of these foods and remind yourself why you’re eating them. Many times, having the why behind an action will help you to stay motivated to follow through.
Here’s to seeing you five, ten, or many more pounds lighter!
Jill Bowers is the property manager at Industry Columbus, a luxury apartment community in Columbus, OH.