How do I Choose the Best Weight Loss Foods?

wiseGEEK Writer

Weight loss foods have low calories and high nutritional content. There are many foods specifically manufactured and marketed for weight loss, and others that are less well known and don’t necessarily have as much advertisement behind them. This second group contains basic foods that require preparation and are likely to be better choices if people want to live more healthfully. The former group requires careful selection, since not all weight loss foods are really that nutritionally sound.

A routine exercise program will likely aid any weight loss endeavor.
A routine exercise program will likely aid any weight loss endeavor.

There are many different types of weight loss foods that are marketed most to dieters and should be carefully examined to determine their nutritional value. Some of them have high sodium or sugar content, such as frozen meals or weight loss cereals, bars and shakes. Though these might be acceptable for the occasional meal, they shouldn’t be part of a diet at all times. Things to look for on labels include sodium content, sweeteners like sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, and overall fat content. Calories aren’t the only consideration.

Quinoa can help with weight loss.
Quinoa can help with weight loss.

Instead of turning to weight loss foods that are prepared, many nutritional experts instead suggest taking a little extra time to prepare foods so that ingredients are more strictly controlled. Fiber can be easily added to a diet by consuming whole grains like oatmeal, barley, wheat berries, quinoa, and others, and these are useful because they contain few calories but provide a feeling of fullness. Similarly, those in favor of having sweet things have numerous fruits to choose from, and anything from cranberries, raisins, apples, oranges, peaches, or berries provide excellent vitamins, some sweetness, and far fewer calories than many sugared treats.

Barley can help with weight loss.
Barley can help with weight loss.

Weight loss foods don’t necessarily have to be no fat, and it’s important to have a small amount of fat in the diet. This can come from cooking with or using as part of dressings, monounsaturated oils like canola. The trick is amount. Using high amounts of oil can seriously increase calorie content, but a small amount is thought nutritionally sound.

Certain foods may help individuals achieve weight loss.
Certain foods may help individuals achieve weight loss.

Other fantastic weight loss foods include some lean meats, like chicken or turkey. Legumes are useful weight loss foods because they deliver high amounts of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Low fat dairy is another good option, with high protein amounts. Clearly, most green vegetables are also excellent choices; some, like lettuce, have so few calories that they can be eaten in high amounts without risk of gaining any weight.

Peaches contain vitamin C and beta carotene, and are relatively low in sugar.
Peaches contain vitamin C and beta carotene, and are relatively low in sugar.

The main consideration in selecting weight loss foods is to find good-tasting, healthful ingredients that will be easy to eat and still keep calorie consumption below that which is needed to maintain weight. With the number of available basic foods and the occasional prepared meal, people do have a lot of choice when they head to grocery stores. Investing in a few books on low calorie cookery can also be helpful in utilizing all the potential choices.

Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.
Widely viewed as one of the healthiest types of cooking oil, canola oil is high in monounsaturated fats.

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