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Best Weight Loss Foods for Women

Updated on July 27, 2013
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Eating right is a crucial part of any woman's weight loss program. However the latest fads try to spin it, losing weight is ultimately about calories in versus calories spent. The specific foods you choose for your calorie intake can also make a big difference in the success of your weight loss plan.

The best foods for weight loss are high in protein, nutrient rich, and filling enough to harness the untamed appetite. Finding foods that fit this criteria and taste good too will make you more likely to stick with your healthy eating plan. If giving up the junk food makes you lose your motivation, focus on what foods you can have instead of what foods you can't to make the switch to healthy eating feel less restricting.

These are some of the best weight loss foods for women:

Skinless Chicken Breast

Skinless chicken breast has been a standard in weight loss plans for decades, with good reason. This lean meat contains just 5 grams of fat per 3-4 oz. serving. Chicken is a high quality protein that takes time to digest, making you feel full longer while providing your body with the building blocks it needs for muscle growth.

Keep this lean protein clean by flavoring with lemon, herbs, and spices. Dousing your chicken in butter and high-calorie sauces or deep frying will cancel out its naturally low-fat, low-cal, no-carb qualities.

Low calorie fresh fish like tilapia and cod are a healthy protein option for women who want to lose weight.
Low calorie fresh fish like tilapia and cod are a healthy protein option for women who want to lose weight. | Source

Fresh Fish

With fewer calories, lower cholesterol, and less fat than red meat, fresh fish makes a strong healthy protein contender. Tilapia is a favorite of many, and one of the lowest calorie fish options, with only 108 calories per 4 oz. serving. Fresh fish is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which research has shown may help improve heart health, reduce triglycerides, lessen stiffness and joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis, lower depression, and more.

Season this heart healthy protein with citrus, herbs, and spices to keep it low calorie. Broil, grill, or saute for a delicious and nutritious main dish.

Quinoa has recently become popular as a weight loss super food.
Quinoa has recently become popular as a weight loss super food. | Source

Quinoa

This seed has only fairly recently become known as a weight loss super food in the US, and with its many nutritional qualities there is no doubt it is here to stay. Quinoa (pronounced "KEEN-wah") is a complete protein and is high in iron and vitamin B12, both essential for energy production and weight loss. High in fiber and low on the glycemic index, quinoa can help to cut sugar cravings that occur with blood glucose crashes.

Quinoa contains approximately 254 calories per cooked half cup. Try combining with salad, vegetables, or beans for a filling, nutritious meal. Use quinoa as a substitute for pasta or rice to increase your protein intake and reduce blood sugar spikes. This incredible grain is also enjoyed by many in place of breakfast cereal.

Legumes

When combined with grains, beans make up a complete (and filling) protein. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, beans, and split peas are high in fiber and low in fat. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals that most of us don't get enough of, including folic acid, copper, iron, and magnesium. This low calorie food can help you reduce your daily caloric intake while still providing the nutrients you need.

If you feel lost when it comes to how to incorporate legumes into your diet, try adding them into some of your existing meal favorites. Sprinkle chick peas over salad, add beans to your soup, or mix lentils with rice as a side dish.

Greek Yogurt

With less sugar and twice the protein content of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is a powerful weight loss food. It is rich in calcium, which promotes the breakdown of body fat and stirs the metabolism, and helps to support immune system function.

Plain Greek yogurt can be used as a sour cream substitute or turned into a healthy salad dressing. It also comes in delicious flavors that can be eaten right out of the container. Try topping with fruit or cinnamon for an extra sweet treat (go light on high calorie, high fat granola). Greek yogurt is also yummy frozen.

Eggs make a great low calorie snack food.
Eggs make a great low calorie snack food. | Source

Eggs

In a 2008 study, the International Journal of Obesity found that participants who included eggs in their healthy eating plan were able to reduce their body mass index significantly more than those who did not. A complete source of protein and low in calories, eggs are a healthy way to fill up without unwanted amounts of fat.

To reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol eggs do have, eat only the whites. Boiled eggs make the perfect high protein snack to curb your hunger and keep you on the weight loss track.

Grapefruit may have qualities that promote weight loss.
Grapefruit may have qualities that promote weight loss. | Source

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and veggies are low in calories and high in nutrition - an essential part of any weight loss diet. Apples and pears are high in fiber and lower in sugar than many other fruit options. Spinach contains only 7 calories per cup and is jam packed with vitamins and minerals. There are only 40 calories in 50 blueberries, and the antioxidants in this superfood have numerous health benefits.

Also of particular note is the grapefruit, which may contain compounds that improve insulin resistance, according to a study done in 2006 by the Department of Nutrition and Metabolic Research at Scripps Clinic. Improved insulin resistance makes the body less likely to store calories as fat after eating.

Yams

High in natural fiber, yams (a.k.a. sweet potatoes) slow down the body's processing of sugar which makes you feel full longer. With only 157 calories per cup, yams provide a generous amount of vitamins and minerals without pushing you over your goal daily caloric limit. Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C are all found in this root vegetable.

Skip the butter and leave on the skins for the most nutritious version of this food. Baked or boiled yams are delicious simply sprinkled with a pinch of salt, cinnamon, or other spices.

Let a piece of dark chocolate satisfy your sweet craving instead of indulging in calorie loaded desserts.
Let a piece of dark chocolate satisfy your sweet craving instead of indulging in calorie loaded desserts. | Source

Dark Chocolate

Every weight loss eating plan should include periodic treats to keep you from binging. Chocolate is not a low calorie food, nor is it low in fat or sugar. But for women who crave it, planning a limited amount into your daily caloric allotment may help to keep you from ditching the diet altogether and reverting back to overconsumption of sweets.

Dark chocolate is lower in calories than milk chocolate, and it contains antioxidants that may help prevent heart disease and diabetes. Sugar free dark chocolate is surprisingly tasty (though still high in fat), and worth a try as a slightly lower calorie indulgence.


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    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Faith, I love all the foods on your list, and I have such a sweet tooth that I've been trying to splurge on greek yogurt and dark chocolate as my after-dinner treat. Very well-written...

    • Lizam1 profile image

      Lizam1 4 years ago from Victoria BC

      Great hub. One thing about grapefruit is if you have thyroid and are on meds you should avoid it. Part of my weight gain is due to thyroid.

    • Faith A Mullen profile image
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      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Thanks, Careermommy! Greek yogurt is one of my favorites. I also love low-fat cottage cheese.

    • Faith A Mullen profile image
      Author

      Faith A Mullen 4 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Lizam1! That is great information for anyone who has thyroid problems and is on medication. Thanks for sharing.

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