These 30 Best Plant-Based Weight Loss Foods will help you slim down in no time and can also cut your risk for various diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer!
There’s one thing all the trendiest diets like plant-based, keto, Whole 30, Paleo, and more have in common, and it’s really no secret.
The easiest path to health, wellness, and weight loss is eating WHOLE FOODS!
When you cut out processed foods, you’re eliminating dangerous chemicals, preservatives, and additives that can wreak havoc on your body.
Many experts believe that weight loss comes down to about 80 percent diet and 20 percent exercise, so if you want to lose weight, you want to make sure you’re eating the cleanest diet you possibly can.
These Top 30 Plant-Based Weight Loss Foods will help you slim down in no time and can also cut your risk for various diseases like heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer!
For healthy weight loss meal inspiration, check out the following:
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Since many whole foods are lower in calories than unhealthy processed foods, dieters can eat more of some of these foods.
However, that still doesn’t mean you can go crazy, which is why I’ve included portion sizes and nutrition information for the weight loss foods on this list.
Be especially careful to limit your intake of higher calorie foods like meat, nuts, seeds, oils, and animal products (if you’re not already following a vegan diet).
Nutrition information for the foods listed below was obtained from the USDA FoodData Central website.
Almonds offer the perfect balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats to keep you full on just a handful of nuts.
Just be careful. Nuts are calorie dense, so make sure you limit yourself to one serving.
The USDA recommended serving size of almonds is one ounce, which equals about 23 nuts, which provides 164 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, and 3.5 grams of fiber.
Also, watch how your almonds are prepared.
Consume your almonds raw to ensure you get the most nutrients without added oils or salt.
Almonds are a wonderfully portable snack food to carry with you when you’re out and about. I keep a bag of almonds in my desk, to ensure I never get too hungry at work.
Apples are filled with fiber and water which will make you feel fuller longer. Just don’t remove that peel, since it contains most of the fiber and nutrients.
One small apple contains just 77 calories, 20 grams of fiber, about 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein and fat, which also makes it a perfect pre-workout snack to give you the energy you need without weighing you down.
Avocados are great for weight loss because they’re full of healthy fats that will keep you full longer.
However, because they’re so full of fat, they’re also very calorie dense.
The USDA recommended serving size is actually only about 30 grams, or 1/4 of a medium avocado, which is far less than what people normally eat.
One-fourth of an avocado contains 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, 3 grams of cars, 2 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of protein.
Avocados are best served as a complement to the main meal, such as in salads, smoothies, or on a sandwich.
You may know that bananas are an excellent source of potassium (422 mg in a medium banana), which can help with muscle cramps, but they are also great for weight loss.
Bananas contain resistant starch, which is a type of starch that is digested slowly by your body helping you feel fuller longer.
Resistant starches also encourage your liver to switch to fat burning mode.
Unripe bananas have more of this resistant starch, so don’t let your bananas ripen too much before eating them if you want to take advantage of this dietary weight loss benefit.
Bananas are the perfect portable health food to be consumed on their own, with a little nut butter or cinnamon, or to add sweetness and a rich consistency to your favorite healthy smoothie recipes.
However, bananas are one of those healthy foods you’ll want to limit somewhat, since one medium sized banana has 105 calories and about 27 grams of carbohydrates.
Black beans are a member of the pulse family, a food group that’s been shown to help burn calories, reduce belly fat, and curb appetite.
One cup of black beans packs 15 grams of protein and just 227 calories without the saturated fat you often find in other high-protein sources, such as red meat.
Black beans are also surprisingly versatile.
They’re a delicious and filling addition to both savory and sweet dishes like black bean soup, black bean brownies, or mixed into your favorite healthy pudding and smoothie recipes.
One cup of antioxidant-rich blueberries contains just 84 calories and about 4 grams of fiber, which helps your body feel full for longer.
They’re also a good source of manganese, which can speed up metabolism and make you feel energized.
Enjoy blueberries alone or in your favorite salad or smoothie, and save money by buying frozen or growing your own.
Brown rice is a whole grain rice that’s just like white rice, except the hull, bran layer, and cereal germ have been left intact.
This makes brown rice much better for weight loss than white rice because it’s packed with filling fiber and, just like bananas, contains fat-burning resistant starch.
Brown rice is also a low-energy-density food, which means it will fill you up, yet is still low in calories.
One cup of brown rice contains just 248 calories and just over 3 grams of fiber.
Carrots are a great diet food.
Raw carrots (especially baby carrots) are super portable for a quick and easy snack anytime.
They’re full of water and fiber to keep you full, and they’re also low in calories – a cup of raw carrots has only 50 calories.
Carrots are also high in Vitamin A, which may further help with weight loss.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports in 2015, obese people tend to have low levels of Vitamin A, so increasing this nutrient by consuming healthy foods like carrots may help your cells and tissues function properly, resulting in weight loss.
Chia seeds may be tiny, but they’re a nutrient powerhouse!
Add these little seeds to your smoothies, salads, oatmeal, or yogurt to get an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and filling fiber (about 4 grams per tablespoon).
Because they expand and become gel-like when wet, chia seeds are also a great way to make healthy no-cook pudding.
For many years, nutritionists have told us to avoid fats to lose weight and maintain health, but new research is debunking the low-fat diet myth.
Now, we know that certain fats, like avocados and nuts, are super healthy for us in moderation. Add coconut oil to that list.
Coconut oil contains the healthy form of saturated fat, which fills you up and helps you consume fewer calories overall.
This healthy oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides, or MCT’s, which boosts fat burning and increases mental clarity.
Just watch how much you consume – just 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil has 130 calories.
However, the Ketogenic and Bulletproof Diets encourage dieters to eat more fats like coconut oil believing that a diet high in fats aids weight loss, so I guess it comes down to what you believe.
Coconut oil is so popular now you can find it at most grocery stores, or you can buy it on Amazon.
The caffeine in coffee may speed up your metabolism and help your body burn slightly more calories – about 26 per cup.
A study in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16% higher than those who drank only decaf.
Just don’t add too much cream and sugar, which could negate any health benefits.
Adding coconut milk to your coffee will also make it surprisingly creamy.
If you don’t enjoy that daily cup of joe, you can also add coffee grounds to your smoothie or oatmeal or rub it on your steak before cooking.
Dark chocolate is great for weight loss because it’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may speed up your metabolism and might help curb cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.
Enjoy dark chocolate in bar, powder, or cacao form in smoothies, hot chocolate, and more.
Watch portion sizes, though, especially with regular chocolate (as opposed to lower-calorie powder or cacao).
One serving is 40 grams, or 4 squares, of Lindt Dark Chocolate, which contains 250 calories and 19 grams of fat, so consider only consuming 1/2 serving or less per day to lose weight.
Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, collards, romaine, and more are high in fiber and water content yet super low in calories, which means you can eat a lot of filling greens without affecting your daily calorie totals.
For example, one cup of raw spinach contains just 7 calories, almost 1 gram of protein and fiber, and 1 gram of carbs.
Research suggests that thylakoids, the internal membrane system in green plants like spinach, may help release satiety hormones, reducing hunger and cravings for over two hours after eating.
The ancient Greek Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, penned that “all diseases begins in the gut,” and centuries later, scientists and health professionals are finding out he was right.
A healthy immune system is reliant on healthy gut bacteria, but the high prevalence of unhealthy processed foods in standard diets has caused our stomachs to lose this beneficial bacteria, which is why probiotic foods and supplements have become so popular in recent years.
Fermented, probiotic-rich foods are the best way to add healthy bacteria to your digestive tract, which helps you lose weight, gain energy, and generally just feel amazing.
Recent studies have linked unfriendly gut bacteria with obesity, and some physicians are starting to use probiotic therapy to treat obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions.
Gut-healthy plant-based fermented foods include kombucha, kefir, non-dairy yogurt, fermented non-GMO soy such as tamari, tempeh, and miso, kimchi, sprouts, and raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut and pickles.
You can buy kombucha, kefir, plant-based yogurt, fermented soy products, and kimchi in most grocery stores. While you can find sprouts in stores, I recommend growing your own to avoid bacterial contamination.
Raw sauerkraut and pickles can be found at some health food stores, or you can make your own. Learn how:
Garbanzo beans, also known as chickpeas, are a great source of filling fiber, protein, and healthy fats and contain more than 2 grams of slimming resistant starch per half-cup serving.
Just like black beans, garbanzo beans taste delicious in both sweet and savory dishes.
Learn how to prepare chickpeas here: 25 Healthy Chickpea Recipes You’ll Love – Even Desserts!
You’ve probably heard of The Grapefruit Diet, and grapefruit has long been a staple of weight loss diets. However, grapefruits don’t have any miracle fat burning power.
They’re just full of water and fiber to keep you full and satisfied longer.
Grapefruits are also an excellent source of calcium and Vitamin C and are low in calories – half a grapefruit contains 52 calories, 13 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of fat and protein.
Most people enjoy their grapefruit with plenty of sugar, which is a big no-no when you’re trying to lose weight.
Green tea is filled with antioxidants that can help fight inflammation, burn fat, increase energy, and raise metabolism.
One study found that drinking 5 cups a day could help you lose twice as much weight.
Want even greater benefits? A study conducted at Purdue University found that adding citrus juice to your green tea causes the tea to stay in your system longer, giving the antioxidants even more time to work their magic.
Matcha Green Tea Powder is even better. Matcha is a type of green tea where drinkers consume the whole green tea leaf instead of just the brewed water, thereby reaping even more antioxidant and weight loss benefits.
You may have heard that hot foods, including hot peppers like chilies, habaneros, jalapenos, and more, are great for weight loss because they increase metabolism, and this is absolutely true!
Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which increases your body’s ability to burn fat (as much as 90 extra calories following a meal).
If you like hot foods, getting more in your diet should be an easy task.
They’re cheap and readily available in grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
Just add them to your favorite dishes including scrambled eggs and omelets, stir-fries, potatoes, hummus, and more.
As we’ve already covered, protein can help you feel fuller longer, making it great for weight loss.
A 2012 study found that eating too little protein could cause your body to store too much body fat.
Eating adequate amounts of protein from lean plant-based sources like edamame (soy beans), tofu, tempeh, greens, beans, nuts, seeds, and more facilitates muscle growth, and more muscle in your body means a faster metabolism.
It is widely believed that lemons and lemon water can speed up metabolism, but there really isn’t enough solid research to back up this claim.
Weight loss from lemon water may actually have more to do with the water than the lemons (keep scrolling to learn more about water and weight loss).
Lemons are still included on this list because lemon juice provides bright, fresh flavor to drinks, salads, fish, and other foods, and replacing higher calorie flavorings with low calorie lemon juice (the juice of one lemon has just 11 calories) can really boost your weight loss.
Plus, lemon pulp and skin contains fiber – one tiny lemon has 3 grams of fiber with the peel and 1.6 grams without – so when you consume this fruit whole, you get the weight loss benefits of filling fiber.
Lemon’s tart taste makes it difficult to consume whole, but you can add lemon zest to various recipes or blend a whole peeled lemon in a high speed blender to make fiber rich lemon water.
PRO TIP: Be careful when consuming citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits because these high-acid foods can erode tooth enamel.
To prevent this, never eat undiluted lemon, never suck on lemon wedges (lemons are the most acidic), and drink citrus juices (e.g. lemon water and orange and grapefruit juices) through a straw.
Also, wait an hour to brush your teeth after eating citrus and other acidic foods like vinegar.
Nutritional yeast, also known as savory yeast or “nooch,” is an inactive yeast made from sugar cane and beet molasses and is often consumed in plant based diets for its high levels of Vitamins B6 and B12, nutrients often lacking in meat-free diets.
So why is it on this list of weight loss foods?
Nutritional yeast has a fantastic rich, nutty, and cheesy flavor, yet is super low in calories making it the perfect substitute for higher fat and calorie foods like butter and cheese.
It also contains protein to build strong muscles and rev your metabolism.
Sprinkle nooch on popcorn, potatoes, vegetables, salads – really just about any savory food. You can also make delicious vegan macaroni and cheese.
You can buy nutritional yeast in most health food stores, some grocery markets, and online here.
Oatmeal has long been touted as a health and weight loss food.
You’ve probably seen the Quaker Oat commercials advertising oatmeal’s heart health benefits, but it’s also great for weight loss due to its protein, fiber, and metabolism-boosting resistant starch content.
It’s also low in calories – one cup of cooked oats has 159 calories, almost 6 grams of protein, 27 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of fat.
One issue that can arise with oatmeal is what you eat with your morning bowl.
We often consume oatmeal with loads of high calorie foods like white and other refined sugars, nuts, and dairy milk or yogurt.
Some of these ingredients, such as natural sugars like maple syrup, nuts, seeds, yogurt, and fruits, are indeed super healthy and great for weight loss, but when you add everything up, you may be eating too many calories.
Feel free to stir in some healthy additions, but be sure to watch portion sizes.
Enjoy a healthy oatmeal breakfast that tastes like dessert with 14 Incredible Overnight Oats Perfect for Busy Mornings.
Like lemons, oranges are low in calories and contain plenty of fiber, helping you to feel full throughout the day and consume less overall.
One navel orange contains 13 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein, 17 grams of carbohydrates, and just 69 calories.
Plus, it’s far more palatable than tart lemons, making it much easier to consume the whole fruit to get that fiber.
Enjoy oranges on their own, in salads, yogurt, smoothies, and more.
Just watch your consumption of orange and other fruit juices, which are higher in calories without the healthy, filling fiber.
Nut butters, including peanut butter (technically a legume), cashew butter, and almond butter, are a great source of protein and healthy fats that can curb hunger and keep you feeling full long after you’re finished eating.
Having small snacks during the day that include a lean protein, such as nut butter, with complex carbs, like an apple or banana, can also help your metabolism run smoothly.
Enjoy nut butters a spoon, toast, fruit, celery, or add regular nut butter or powdered peanut butter (great protein source with fewer calories) to smoothies.
Just be sure to buy nut butters without any added oil or sugar like my favorite, Artisana Organics brand.
Since nuts and nut butters are so high in calories, you’ll want to watch portion sizes – Artisana Organics Raw Cashew Butter has 180 calories and 14 grams of fat in just 2 tablespoons.
These starchy tubers have a pretty bad reputation when it comes to dieting and weight loss, but it turns out this is undeserved.
Potatoes have lots of resistant starch, which we’ve learned is a great metabolism booster. Plus, potatoes do a great job of keeping you full – they’re actually ranked #1 on the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s satiety index!
Don’t believe that potatoes are so great for weight loss?
High Carb Hannah lost over 70 pounds on a high carbohydrate diet rich in starches including potatoes, rice, and oatmeal.
Potatoes become a weight loss offender when you either eat too many – one medium potato has 161 calories and almost 37 grams of carbohydrates – or you add other high calorie ingredients like the butter and cream in traditional mashed potatoes or butter and sour cream on baked potatoes.
Enjoy potatoes the healthy way by boiling, baking, air frying, or frying in some coconut oil (add some hot peppers for an added metabolism boost).
I like to eat potatoes with the skin for optimal nutrition and sprinkled with nutritional yeast (see above).
Some studies suggest that people who drink wine have smaller waists and less abdominal fat than those who drink mainly liquor, and enjoying one glass of red wine can increase your body’s calorie burn for up to 90 minutes afterwards.
Just be sure to drink no more than one 5-ounce glass a day because the calories in wine can add up, and alcohol will make you more apt to make poor food choices and consume more than you should.
Also, watch out – many restaurants serve 6-ounce glasses.
Like potatoes, sweet potatoes are a great source of slimming resistant starch, which increases satiety, but they also provide some additional benefits.
Just one medium baked sweet potato contains only 103 calories, 4 grams of filling fiber, 438% of your daily vitamin A (versus 1% in a white potato), and 37% of your daily vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes taste great, baked, fried in healthy coconut oil, or made into oven fries (served with natural maple syrup – yum!).
Be sure to eat the skin, too – just like potatoes, sweet potato skin is loaded with nutrients.
Vinegar is low in calories and may help prevent weight gain. A study found that the acetic acid in vinegar could increase feelings of satiety and prevent the accumulation of body fat.
Raw, unpasteurized vinegar like Dr. Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar is a fermented food, which may help with weight loss (see above).
Vinegar is also a tasty substitute for higher calorie flavorings and is most commonly used in salad dressings, but you can also add a few splashes to cooked vegetables and oven fries, as well.
Balsamic vinegar tastes great in tomato-based pasta sauce and on baked vegetables. Just sprinkle lightly before cooking to reduce the vinegar for a sweet, rich flavor.
Water is an amazing weight loss food.
Drinking adequate amounts of water helps keep your metabolism humming, staves off hunger, and can even help you eat less – drinking a tall glass of water before you eat can help you consume less of your meal.
Plus, the symptoms of dehydration are similar to hunger signs, so often when we think we’re hungry, we’re really just thirsty!
So how much water should you drink?
We’ve all heard we should be consuming at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Eight glasses per day is a good start, but this recommendation isn’t based on solid research.
The amount you should drink is actually highly individual and based on your sex, age, size, weight, and activity level. Check out this article to find out how much water is right for you.
Can you ever drink too much water? Actually, yes!
Drinking too much water is called water intoxication, and it can be dangerous or even fatal.
Luckily, it’s a rare occurrence and most often affects extreme athletes like marathon runners, but it’s still a good idea to know the signs and symptoms just to be safe.
Learn painless ways to fit more water in your day with 20 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Every Day.
Pumpkin is weight loss friendly because you can consume more of it than other carb sources, such as rice and potatoes, but still take in fewer calories. It is also a good source of fiber, which can help curb your appetite.
Also called pepitas, pumpkin seeds provide loads of immune-boosting zinc and plenty of filling fiber and protein per snack-sized serving, making them a nutritious and satisfying addition to salads, oatmeal, or enjoyed on their own!
For more amazing ways to add pumpkin to your diet, check out the following:
When you cut out processed foods and eat healthy whole foods like these 30 Healthy and Delicious Weight Loss Foods, you won’t believe how easily the weight will come off and how great you’ll feel!
What do you think of these Top 30 Weight Loss Foods? Did I miss any of your favorites? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!