Instead of following a fad diet or a over-exercising in an attempt to lose weight, there’s a much healthier solution: Incorporate foods into your diet that facilitate a high metabolism, consistent energy, and prolonged satiation.
And you don’t need to fill up on things like eggs, chicken, yogurt and other traditional “health” foods either. If you’re a vegan, or just enjoy eating plant based the majority of your meals, you can still get the benefits of fat-burning foods. Read below for our list of 11 of the best vegan foods for weight loss — and get hungry!
Naturally gluten-free and a complete protein (including of all of the essential amino acids), quinoa is also full of fiber, B vitamins and iron. One of the main keys to weight loss is a diet that is high in protein and fiber, but low in fat, and quinoa is just that. One-fourth cup of dry quinoa has only 2.5 grams of fat — and most of that is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. You can mix this ancient whole grain with vegetables for a savory dish, or with fruit and natural sweeteners for a hot cereal. It can even be added to baked goods to up the protein and fiber content of cookies and muffins.
Beans may get a bad rap, but black beans are incredibly nutrient dense, are high in fiber, protein, calcium and folic acid. Eat them with rice and vegetables, sprinkle them on salads, turn them into burgers, or even go the dessert route by making black bean brownies. Not only does the slow digestion rate of black beans help you stay fuller longer, their ample fiber is great for digestion, and you’ll be helping to reduce your risk of high cholesterol.
Even though garlic doesn’t have any scientifically studied weight loss properties, by adding it in your meals, you can amp up flavor profiles without using a lot of salt or tons of oil. Garlic also contains antioxidants that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and is a commonly prescribed “natural antibiotic” that has been proven to cut the duration of colds and flus short.
One ounce of almonds (which is basically a small handful) has six grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, 9 grams of monounsaturated (healthy) fat, and a healthy serving of vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. That’s a lot of nutrients in a few little nuts! There’s also ample evidence that almonds may help you lose weight in the long run when you turn to them during a craving for a crunchy snack.
There are two big reasons why dates are so beneficial to weight loss: Digestion and slow sugar absorption. Because of their high amounts of soluble fiber, dates are often prescribed as a natural constipation aid, which means that they’re great for regulating digestion. Another reason they’re a weight loss aid is because they can be used as a natural sweetener. Natural sugars are digested differently than refined or white sugars, and cause less insulin spikes. Consider making some date paste and adding it to cakes, cookies and other baked goods instead of white sugar!
Like quinoa, chia seeds are incredibly beneficial to weight loss. Low in calories but high in nutrients, one ounce of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, and nine grams of fat (with five of those grams of fat being Omega-3s). Add them to smoothies, make chia pudding, sprinkle some on yogurt, or even add them to juice and make your own version of bubble tea — these little seeds will keep you full for hours while providing a whole dose of nutrients.
Berries (Frozen or Fresh)
Small fruit like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, goji berries and mulberries are usually low in calories but high in nutrients. In addition to being full of antioxidants and vitamin C, berries have been studied as doing everything from helping with memory (blackberries and blueberries), and even weight loss directly (raspberries). Fight your cravings for sweets with a handful of nutrient-dense berries, and watch your energy skyrocket!
Even those these fruits are technically high in sugar, they’re a weight loss home run because they can substitute for ice cream in a flash. In addition to having a lot of fiber, they also act as natural beta-blockers, calming the nervous system and helping with the natural rhythms of sleep. Insomnia and stress are two big factors that inhibit weight loss, so adding the occasional banana to your diet could definitely prove “fruitful.”
Getting enough protein, iron, and B vitamins is a big deal when you’re a vegan (or just eating mostly plant based), but luckily, there’s a vegetable that helps you get more of all three: Collard greens. One cup of this nutrient-dense green provides five grams of protein, eight grams of fiber, and a healthy dose of B vitamins and iron. Feeling full and energetic is the best way to avoid giving into cravings, which is why a generous helping of collard greens should be included in your weekly meal plan.
One of the main reasons coconut oil is so great for weight loss is because it contains Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), fatty acids that go directly to the liver after the digestive track and are turned into energy quicker than other sources of fat. Basically, MCTs help you stay more energetic for longer periods of time, helping you burn more calories and thus, possibly losing more weight! Coconut oil has antibacterial properties, making it a great help against viruses.
An ancient crop, two tablespoons of flaxseed have a very balanced protein to fiber to carb ratio, as well as magnesium, potassium, and healthy Omega-3s. They’ve been shown to possibly help fight back against high cholesterol and cancer, and may also help regulate blood sugar. Flax can be sprinkled on top of popcorn or yogurt, added to smoothies, and even mixed into baked goods and cereals, and is virtually tasteless. If you’re looking for low calorie ways to feel full while maintaining good bone density and lean muscle, flaxseed can help.
Loving the plant based life? Want to make it even more fun? Join GreenBlender today!