When it comes to eating for weight loss, it’s important to choose nutrient-dense foods that fill you up at minimal caloric cost. No one wants to eat a slice of pizza, down a soda, and have to call it for the day. Instead of spending all of your daily calories in one place, choose smart, protein-rich and nutrient-dense foods that let you eat for volume guilt free. Build muscle and kiss fat goodbye by incorporating these five foods into your diet.
1. Eggs: Yep, we’re talking whole eggs. If you’re looking to lose weight, it might do you well to ditch the carton of whites and reach for the real thing instead. Why? Whole eggs are high in protein and healthy fats—increasing satiety levels while coming in at the minimal calorie cost of about 90 calories per egg. If you’re worried about increasing cholesterol levels, don’t be. Studies have actually shown that egg yolks don’t raise “bad” cholesterol, but instead are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and tons of other powerful nutrients—such as antioxidants that can protect the eyes and choline to help with functions including memory and muscle control [1,2].
2. Broccoli: Going green is a good thing when it comes to keeping hunger at bay. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetables class, a group that’s high fiber content makes them feel incredibly filling. Compared to most vegetables, broccoli also has higher protein content at just over 4 grams per serving. Not up for a plate of green mini trees? Try other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
>> Read more: 14 Low-Carb Cauliflower Hacks That Will Change Your Life
3. Tuna:There’s nothing fishy about the nutritional benefits of tuna. It’s loaded with essential, health-boosting benefits. In addition to being rich in omega-3s, one 3-ounce can of tuna in water serves up 36 percent of the daily value of vitamin B-12. The high protein content in tuna makes it great for weight loss because protein’s high thermic effect means your body burns more calories breaking it down than it does for carbs or fats. Just make sure you aren’t picking up a pint of deli-counter tuna salad that’s packed with mayo. And, if you’re opting for cuts, go for a tuna steak. On the run? Grab an easy-to-open pack of tuna in water.
>> Try our Skinny Tuna Salad!
4. Cottage cheese: While once reserved for the “Dieter’s Special” section of diner menus, cottage cheese has come a long way in substantiating itself as a high-protein treat to curb your cravings and keep you fuller longer. The non-fat variety has about 100 calories and 15 grams of protein per cup, while the low-fat version comes in a bit higher in both calories and protein, at about 160 calories and 28 grams of protein per serving. When you’re cutting calories to lose weight, increasing your protein intake becomes extremely important not just for keeping hunger at bay but also for preserving muscle while dropping fat.
5. Salsa: Condiments can be the downfall of any meal. Topping that salad with creamy ranch or dousing that post-workout baked potato in sour cream can undo the benefits of the meal and slide you a few steps back on the weight loss scale. Sure, it’s OK to indulge once in a while, but when your goal is to lose weight, it’s important to keep condiments and serving size in mind. Instead of reaching for that reliable ranch, which has 15 grams of fat per two tablespoons, opt for salsa. With chopped tomatoes, chilies, onions, and cilantro, it salsa contains less than 20 calories per quarter cup, adding all the zest to a meal without the unnecessary fat.
>> Try our Garden Fresh 5-Minute Salsa!
- Missimer, A., DiMarco, D., Vergara-Jimenez, M., Murillo, G., Creighton, B., Andersen, C., & Fernandez, M. L. (2015). Intake of 2 eggs or oatmeal for breakfast does not increase biomarkers for heart disease while eggs improve liver enzymes and raise HDL cholesterol in young healthy individuals. The FASEB Journal, 29(1 Supplement), 274-2.
- Natoli, S., Markovic, T., Lim, D., Noakes, M., & Kostner, K. (2007). Unscrambling the research: Eggs, serum cholesterol and coronary heart disease. Nutrition & dietetics, 64(2), 105-111.