How to Lose Weight by Eating Healthy Foods: Top 9 Foods for Healthy Eating & Sustainable Weight Loss
Updated: Apr 18
There is a ton of information out there about what we should be eating and how to lose weight. Luckily for us, the best way to lose weight is just by eating healthy. Many of the best high-energy foods are also great for weight loss and clean eating. Clean eating is super simple - don't worry so much about counting calories or cutting out major food groups. Instead, just prioritize minimally processed, real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits for sustainable weight loss.
When you’re eating mostly produce, beneficial proteins, and healthy fats, you can feel good about what you’re eating throughout the day. If you’re eating clean and eating for energy, you’ll likely already be primed for weight loss - eating fewer processed foods, less meat, more produce, and plenty of water.
Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Choose whole foods over processed foods
Choose whole grains over refined carbs
Chose healthy fats like avocado or olive oil over other vegetable oils or margarine
Limit meat, and choose ethically-raised when you have it
Limit sugar and alcohol
Click below for a FREE SMART goal -setting worksheet and flowchart that will help you plan a SMART goal around healthy eating for weight loss!
Top 9 Foods For Weight Loss
Vegetables are awesome for your brain and body. Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies are low in sugar and packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. They are some of the highest-protein vegetables, and are highly nutritious to keep you (or get you) healthy. These vegetables can even help reduce inflammation and your risk of cancer.
Leafy greens like kale, spinach, arugula, and collard greens are low in calories and carbohydrates and loaded with fiber that fills you up. They are incredibly nutritious and very high in many vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Dark leafy greens promote energy and are high in iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K. They also contain folate, which helps with detoxification and getting your genes to do their proper jobs.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and brussel sprouts are very beneficial to our health. Broccoli in particular is a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, has powerful anticancer activity and heart benefits, and helps protect our eyesight and our immune system. All of these veggies contain sulforaphane which may help treat or prevent cancer, autism, autoimmunity, brain inflammation, gut inflammation, and obesity.
Berries are some of the healthiest foods on earth. They are loaded with antioxidants that help keep free radicals under control, protect our cells, and keep us safe from oxidative stress. They are high in fiber and many nutrients (including vitamin C, manganese, vitamin K1, copper, and folate), they help fight inflammation, lower cholesterol, protect against cancer, and are great for your skin and protecting against wrinkles and damage. Berries are also great at boosting energy and fighting inflammation and fatigue.
Other fruit like apples, bananas, and citrus fruits are also great - they're high in fiber, antioxidants, potassium, and various other important nutrients. Though fruit does have sugar, its fiber content helps prevent sugar from being released too quickly into your bloodstream. Apples are a good source of carbs, fiber, and antioxidants, and they provide a slow and sustained energy release. Bananas are an excellent source of carbohydrates, potassium and vitamin B6, all of which can help boost energy. Oranges are filled with vitamin C as well as antioxidants that help keep us safe from oxidative stress and decrease fatigue.
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, potassium, and fiber, and they can even help support increased antioxidant absorption from other vegetables. They can also be stored in the body and used as a steady source of energy. They’re a good source of B, K, C, and E vitamins, folate, and potassium, and they also contain magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin A.
Eggs are one of the ultimate weight-loss foods. They are high in protein and fat, super filling, and provide tons of nutrients. Eggs are an awesome satisfying source of energy, protein, and vitamin B. They provide steady and sustained energy and they help break down fat. Almost all of the nutrients are in the yolk, so eat your eggs whole.
Wild salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, and other fatty fish are incredibly healthy and very satisfying, keeping you full for hours without a ton of calories. They are high in protein, healthy fats, and many important nutrients. Their omega-3 fatty acids may help to support heart and brain health in addition to reducing body fat. Frozen and canned seafood also works well.
Tuna is another fish that’s low in calories but high in protein. Tuna is lean, so it’s lower in fat than many other fish, and is a great resource for a low calorie, low fat, and high protein snack.
Lean grass-fed beef and free-range chicken are high in protein and amino acids, incredibly filling, and help you burn calories faster. Eating enough protein can help curb cravings and speed up weight loss. Grass-fed beef is a rich source of essential and usable minerals like iron and zinc. It's also a great source of omega-3 fats, vitamin B12, and vitamin E.
Beans and legumes like lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and more tend to be high in protein, fiber, and resistant starch, which all help us stay full longer. Beans are rich in nutrients and a great source of natural energy, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. They are digested slowly and help provide steady energy. They also contain antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and promote energy. I personally love black beans - they’re good sources of folic acid, iron, manganese and magnesium.
Lentils are an awesome inexpensive plant-based source of protein; they’re a great source of nutrients, carbs, and fiber, and help boost energy levels. The fiber in lentils promotes sustained energy and you will feel full for longer after you eat them. They provide folate, manganese, zinc and iron - nutrients that assist in the effective production of energy in cells and breakdown of nutrients for the release of energy.
Greek yogurt is high in protein, carbs, B vitamins, and calcium, and is quite satiating with very little fat and few calories. It provides probiotics that can improve your digestive health, protect against inflammation, and help keep you trim. Greek yogurt is also a fantastic source of ready-to-use energy.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and nut butters are high in healthy fats and are awesome snacks in moderation. They provide balanced amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Almonds, walnuts and cashews have an abundance of proteins, carbs, fiber, and healthy fats that provide you with a slow release of energy. They are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and antioxidants that help with inflammation and antioxidant protection. Nuts also contain manganese, iron, B vitamins and vitamin E. These can help increase energy production and decrease tiredness. Nuts are high in calories, so use as small snacks.
Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.They are incredibly high in fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats, and they expand in your stomach to help you feel full. They can help slow digestion, reduce appetite, keep us full, and provide incredible nutrition to your diet. The omega-3s in seeds support immune function and brain functioning, and are anti-inflammatory. They help prevent fatigue while providing a slow, sustained source of energy.
Eating whole, healthy food is the best route for sustainable weight loss, and healthy foods can also be absolutely delicious and filling. Foods like fish, lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes can make for delicious meals and snacks. Again, the key is to focus on eating carbs, protein, and fats, just the healthy varieties of all. If you eat these foods and exercise moderately regularly, you’ll be on a path to a healthier and happier life.
Sample Weight-Loss Meal Plans
Many of the high-energy foods on this list are also great for weight loss and healthy eating. Luckily for me and you, the majority of them are affordable and great for making quick and easy meals at home. I always recommend eating eat least on Big Greens Salad a day, for any meal (you can top with a fried egg, beans, chicken/beef, avocado, nuts, fruit, whatever you feel like!).
Big Greens Salad topped with a fried egg, some sliced avocado, a sprinkling of nut and/or seeds, and a homemade vinaigrette of EVOO, cilantro, and salsa verde.
Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries and a handful of seeds.
Scrambled eggs with spinach and other veggies, topped with avocado and salsa.
Hard-boiled egg, fruit, and a handful of nuts for breakfast on the run.
Big Greens Salad topped with beans or lentils, avocado or hard-boiled egg, and a homemade dijon vinaigrette made with EVOO, white wine vinegar, dijon, and garlic.
Big homemade soup (use bone broth or Better Than Bullion in a pinch) with white beans and kale, chicken with lentils and veggies (fresh or frozen), whatever you like.
Lettuce wraps filled with diced chicken and veggies or tuna/salmon salad (made with a packet/can of salmon or tuna, diced veggies, and greek yogurt instead of mayo).
Apples and bananas with nut butter on sprouted grain bread.
Big Greens Salad topped with salmon, grass-fed beef, or free-range chicken, and whatever fruit/veggies/legumes/nuts/seeds you decide to add in, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette made of EVOO, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and S&P.
Grass-fed beef or free-range chicken with a side of roasted brussel sprouts, broccoli, or other vegetable - add quinoa or lentils for a heartier meal.
Salmon on a bed of spinach or kale sauteed with garlic and herbs, topped with a dijon yogurt sauce (made of equal parts greek yogurt and dijon mustard + garlic).
Stir-fry broccoli & other veggies with scrambled egg and chicken/shrimp/tofu. Pair with cauliflower rice or brown rice and soy sauce for a takeout knockoff (just way healthier).
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Do you have any other suggestions for great foods for energy and weight loss? Have you had any luck with those above? Let me know!