Top 10 Weight Loss Foods - Packed With Flavor, Nutrient Dense
Top 10 Weight Loss Foods - Packed With Flavor, Nutrient Dense
Cutting season is upon us ladies and gentleman. And no, I'm not talking about the meet up for emo kids. I'm talking about fat loss and lean muscle preservation.

Many of us in the northern hemisphere have spent the fall and winter cultivating mass, preferable lean mass like muscle and glycogen. Unfortunately, most un-enhanced lifters must accept an embrace a decent (but not excessive) amount of fat gain to main said muscle.

Now it's time to strip off the fat and show off that hard work you've been putting in for the last four to six months. Transitioning from eating at a caloric surplus to a caloric deficit can be tough. Real tough. However, it doesn't mean you need to starve yourself and eat bland food every meal for the foreseeable future.

Related: 49 Fat Blasting Tips

The goal of this article to provide you with my top ten list of the most flavorful and nutrient dense foods included in my fat loss diet. These foods have a low caloric density which means they're typically high in water content, fiber and protein with reasonable amounts of carbohydrate and fat.

After reading this list, the gears should be turning in your head for how to incorporate these foods and strip off fat without losing your sanity.

Weight Loss Foods

#1 - Psyllium Husk



Psyllium husk is your secret weapon during a fat loss phase. It's derived from the husks of the plant Plantago psyllium and is almost pure fiber. One level tablespoon (9 grams) contains just 30 calories, zero grams of protein and fat, 8 grams of carbohydrates, and whopping 7 grams of fiber. [1]

Psyllium husk is nearly 78% fiber by weight. Of that fiber, 6 grams are soluble and 1 gram is insoluble. [1] Soluble fiber sucks in water and turns in to a gel during digestion whereas insoluble fiber adds bulk to your bowel movements. [2]

Psyllium husk will fight hunger pangs, increase your regularity, improve nutrient absorption, and encourage weight loss as it helps food to pass more easily thorough your stomach and intestines. Psyllium husk is almost all fiber but does contain small amounts of calcium and iron.

#2 - Blueberries

Blueberries receive a lot of attention in the fitness industry and for good reason – they're one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. These small blue spheres are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a good dose of fiber. One cup (148 grams) of these little guys contains 84 calories, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat, 21.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 3.6 grams of fiber. [3]

While fruit tends to be high in sugar compared to starchy carbohydrates, these are natural and unprocessed sugars. The fiber found in blueberries' will blunt much of the insulin increase arising from their consumption.

Blueberries are also a good source of the mineral manganese and the vitamins K and C. [4] I love blueberries as a standalone snack but you can also toss them in to your yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal, and cereal. For high protein snack try Marc Lobliner's famous protein sludge.

How to make protein sludge.

#3 - Cauliflower

Broccoli gets a lot of love and attention which unfortunately means cauliflower gets almost none. Don't discount cauliflower as it's low in calories, high in fiber, and offers strong cancer-fighting properties.

One cup of raw cauliflower chopped in to ½ inch pieces (107 grams) contains 27 calories, 2.1 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, 5.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.1 grams of fiber. [5] For those who prefer the steamed or boiled route, one cup of one inch pieces (62 grams) contains 14 calories, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.4 grams of fiber. [6]

I personally prefer steamed or boiled and drained cauliflower as it's more versatile and gentler on my digestion. Cauliflower is a very good source of the antioxidant vitamin C as well as blood and bone-supporting vitamin K. [7] If you're getting tired of cauliflower dipped in dressing or seasoned with spices, mix it up by mashing it, using it as a pizza crust, or even using it as a bread substitute by making it in to patties.

#4 - Black Beans

Combining beans and rice is one of the least expensive ways to obtain a complete source of protein. Many of us have no problem scarfing down cups of steamed or fried rice, but black beans offer far more nutrition and are more difficult to overeat.

One cup of cooked and boiled (172 grams) black beans provides 227 calories, 15.2 grams of protein, 0.9 grams of fat, 40.8 grams of carbohydrates, and a whopping 15 grams of fiber. [8] Depending on your caloric intake this may be 50 to 60% of your target fiber intake. For convenience, cost, and cooking time I prefer canned black beans which have 218 calories, 14.5 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of fat, 39.7 grams of carbohydrates, and 16.6 grams of fiber per one cup (240 grams) serving. [9]

Canned black beans are immersed in a salt brine to preserve their texture, taste, and freshness. If you need the extra sodium then go ahead and consume the liquid otherwise drain, wash, and strain the black beans. This antioxidant-rich bean is a great source of folate as well as a good source of the minerals iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. [10]

I love to incorporate beans in to my chili, stews, salads, and as part of my main meal.

#5 - Chia Seeds

Chia seeds come from the flowering plant Salvia hispanica are currently one of the hottest foods in the fitness industry today. They're packed with minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids.

Manufacturers first harvest and then dry these seeds to increase shelf life and transportability. One ounce (28 grams) of dried chia seeds offers 138 calories, 4.7 grams of protein, 8.7 grams of fat, 11.9 grams of carbohydrates, and 9.8 grams of fiber. [11] Chia seeds are a whopping 35% fiber by weight; far more than most other nuts and seeds. Chia seeds contain an astounding 4.9 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids and an Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio of 3 to 1. [12]

Experts now know that the Standard American Diet is exceptionally high in Omega 6 but dangerously low in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s critical for normal brain function, growth, and development. Chia seeds are also good sources of calcium, phosphorus, and manganese. [12]

While 138 calories per one ounce is calorically dense, these seeds grow exponentially in size when immersed in liquid. I like to mix them in my smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt, oatmeal, and even water. Chia seeds add a unique texture, an abundance of healthy fats, and a solid dose of hunger-fighting fiber.

Almond Milk

#6 - Almond Milk

If you're looking for a great-tasting and nutrient-packed beverage with up to one third the calories of cow's milk, then almond milk is for you.

Almond milk is produced by soaking and softening almonds in water for 10 to 12 hours. Both the liquid and almonds are then blended together until it the almonds are broken down in to tiny pieces and liquid is cream in color. The mixture is then poured through a fine strainer so that all the remaining almond pieces, also known as almond meal, are not in the beverage.

One cup of unsweetened almond milk contains 39 calories, 1.6 grams of protein, 2.9 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of carbohydrates, and zero grams of fiber. [13] Almond milk is naturally rich in vitamin E and can be fortified up to 50% of your recommended daily calcium. I use almond milk in my shakes, smoothies, cereals, oatmeal, and even in baked goods.

#7 - Lean Ground Turkey

Move over ground beef, there's a new star in town. Lean ground turkey, preferably 93% lean and 7% fat, is low in fat and calories but rich in hunger-squashing protein. Four ounces (113 grams) of raw turkey provides 170 calories, 21.2 grams of protein, 9.5 grams of fat, and zero grams of carbohydrates. [14]

If you prefer to weigh your food after cooking then please note that four ounces of broiled ground turkey has 235 calories, 29.3 grams of protein, 13 grams of fat, and zero grams of carbohydrates. [15]

Ground turkey is a good source of niacin, vitamin B6, and the thyroid-supporting mineral selenium. [16] You can use ground turkey as a replacement for nearly every recipe calling for ground beef.

Use ground turkey to make tacos, burgers, salads, chili, stews, and meatloaves. Ground turkey has a much milder flavor compared to beef so consider adding spices like onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne.

#8 - Cabbage

Our grandparents and great-grandparents would be ashamed of how little we consume cabbage today. Cabbage is inexpensive, has potent anti-cancer properties, and is not calorically dense. One cup (70 grams) of raw shredded cabbage contains 18 calories, 0.9 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 4.1 grams of carbohydrates and 1.8 grams of fiber. [17]

I most commonly use raw cabbage for stir fry, coleslaw, and taco toppings. Raw cabbage is also the primary ingredient of kimchi, a spicy fermented food rich is gut-friendly probiotics. One cup (150 grams) of boiled cabbage and drained cabbage provides 34 calories, 1.9 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat, 8.3 grams of carbohydrates, and 2.9 grams of fiber. [18]

I enjoy cooked cabbage in stews, chili, and with pork chops. Cabbage is a great source of both vitamin C and K. [19] Cabbage can be hard on some people's digestive tracts so start with a reasonable amount and increase the quantity as desired.

#9 - Tuna Fish

Tuna fish has built an infamous name for itself in the bodybuilding and general fitness communities. The canned variety has a long shelf life, is high in protein, contains a moderate to high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, and is reasonably priced. There are two varieties most commonly consumed – light tuna and white tuna.

One can (165 grams) of light tuna canned in water and drained has 142 calories, 32.1 grams of protein, 1.6 grams of fat, and zero grams of carbohydrates. [20] Light tuna is a great source of niacin, vitamin B12 and selenium. In one can it provides 464 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids and just 14.8 milligrams of Omega-6 fatty acids. [21]

White tuna has almost double the calories but nearly four times the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. One can (172 grams) offers 220 calories, 40.6 grams of protein, 5.1 grams of fat, and zero grams of carbohydrates. [22] It has comparable quantities of selenium but slightly less vitamin B12 and niacin. Per can it has a whopping 1,636 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acids and just 94.6 milligrams of Omega-6 fatty acids. [23]

Incorporate tuna in to your sandwiches, wraps, tacos, and salads. If you have some extra calories and need more healthy fats in your diet then pick white tuna, otherwise stick with lower calorie light tuna.

#10 - Sweet Potato

You should not eliminate carbohydrates just because you're prioritizing fat loss. Carbohydrates are critical for fueling your body during a workout and recovering from an intense workout. During a fat loss phase focus on consuming minimally processed carbohydrates only around your workout.

Sweet potatoes are a great option as they provide high quality carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. One raw five-inch (130 grams) sweet potato contains 112 calories, 2 grams of protein, less than 0.1 grams of fat, 26.2 grams of carbohydrates, and 3.9 grams of fiber. [24] If you measure in its baked form, one five-inch (114 grams) sweet potato offers 103 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 0.2 grams of fat, 23.6 grams of carbohydrates, and 3.8 grams of fiber. [25]

They're an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin A as well as a good source of vitamin C, B6, and manganese. [26] I like to bake, mash, steam, boil, pan fry, or blanch my sweet potatoes. I then add a bit of butter and cinnamon to create a delicious dish that's high in nutrition but low in calories.

Bonus – Greens Powder



While eating at a caloric deficit during a fat loss phase you may not have the caloric space to consume as many fruits and veggies as you'd like. A high-quality greens powder is a low calorie and cost effective way to bump up your fruit, veggie, vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant intake.

My favorites include MTS Machine Greens + Multi, SAN Green Supreme Fusion, and ImSoAlpha Superfood Alpha Blend.

What foods do you like to eat in your fat loss diet? Let me know in the comments below!
References
1) "Psyllium Husk Powder, Certified Organic." NOW Foods, 2017, Accessed Jan. 2017. 2) Lehrer, Jennifer K. "Soluble Vs. Insoluble Fiber." MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 11 Aug. 2014, Accessed Jan. 2017. 3) "Basic Report: 09050, Blueberries, raw." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 4) "Blueberries, Raw." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 5) "Basic Report: 11135, Cauliflower, raw." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 6) "Basic Report: 11136, Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 7) "Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 8) "Basic Report: 16015, Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 9) "Basic Report: 16018, Beans, black turtle, mature seeds, canned." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 10) "Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 11) "Basic Report: 12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 12) "Seeds, chia seeds, dried." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 13) "Basic Report: 14091, Beverages, almond milk, unsweetened, shelf stable." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 14) "Basic Report: 05665, Ground turkey, 93% lean, 7% fat, raw." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 15) "Basic Report: 05667, Ground turkey, 93% lean, 7% fat, patties, broiled." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 16) "Poultry food products, ground turkey, cooked." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 17) "Basic Report: 11109, Cabbage, raw." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 18) "Basic Report: 11110, Cabbage, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 19) "Cabbage, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 20) "Basic Report: 15121, Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 21) "Fish, tuna, light, canned in water, drained solids." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 22) "Basic Report: 15126, Fish, tuna, white, canned in water, drained solids." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 23) "Fish, tuna, white, canned in water, drained solids." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017. 24) "Basic Report: 11507, Sweet potato, raw, unprepared." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 25) "Basic Report: 11508, Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, flesh, without salt." National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. Web. Jan. 2017. 26) "Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, without salt." SELF Nutrition Data, Condé Nast, 2017, Accessed 13 Jan. 2017.