With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 40 foods that have been proven to jumpstart weight loss and will help you get to your ideal physique. To jumpstart your weight loss, we’ve selected some nutritious eats, like salsa, that are lower-calorie substitutes for less healthy choices (we’re looking at you, ketchup). And others, such as watermelon, contain certain compounds that have been scientifically proven to reduce the size of your waist and help reduce body fat. Scroll down below for a list of a few dozen weight-loss wonders, and get even more health-conscious inspiration from this list of the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen!
Watercress is jammed full of nutrients, including vitamin B1, B2, B6, C and E, as well as minerals manganese, carotene and potassium. This makes watercress a powerful cleansing agent, improving the digestion and nourishing the skin, while its diuretic properties help to flush out toxins and excess fluids. Watercress is also a fabulous source of iodine, which helps to boost your metabolism, so it makes sense to include it in your diet if you’re striving to achieve a flat stomach.
A gigantic Farmer’s Market-style salad with a variety of fresh seasonal produce and fresh herbs, such as fresh baby arugula and radicchio, and red wine vinegar sassed up with a little horseradish. Enjoy visiting your local Farmer’s Market every week and asking the vendors, “What’s new and tasty this week? What would make great ingredients for my salad?”
Coconut oil is having a moment right now: it can be used as a butter or olive oil substitute in everything from baked goods to salad dressing, and can even be used as an alternative to milk in lattes (yes, really). Sass is a fan of the heart-healthy oil whipped into smoothies, and you can also use it to sauté veggies, sear fish, or as an olive oil replacement in soups and stews. (It's also a must-add to your beauty routine, and makes a wonderful natural moisturizer for skin and hair.)
Big salad of baby greens with Pritikin-Style Thousand Island Dressing, which has less than one-quarter the calories and sodium of regular Thousand Island Dressing. What a gift for your heart and waistline! To make dressing, combine thoroughly the following: ¾ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, ½ cup fat-free sour cream, ¾ cup unsweetened, low-sodium ketchup (good brand is Westbrae), ½ teaspoon oregano, and ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.

In contrast to contemporary matcha culture (it’s as easy as grabbing a green tea latte from a nearby Starbucks), traditionally, Japanese tea ceremonies (called chanoyu) centered around the preparation and offering of matcha. Where everything counts. From the beautiful hand-painted matcha bowls made by local artisans to the art of serving and receiving the tea.

Studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University as well as those of Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts at UCLA, who are following people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center, are particularly enlightening. They have documented that one of the best ways of reducing calorie intake without triggering increased hunger is to reduce the calorie density of the foods consumed. Put simply, a bowl of pasta with veggies and marinara can fill us up just as well as a bowl of pasta with cheesy Alfredo, but for less than half the calorie cost.
Although they're best known for containing potassium, bananas are also a great source of resistant starch, a type of starch that's important for weight loss. Your body digests resistant starch slowly—helping you feel full for longer—while simultaneously encouraging your liver to switch to fat-burning mode. And no need to wait for them to become completely ripe; bananas actually contain more of this calorie-torching ingredient when they're still a little green.

When it comes to eating for weight-loss, fiber is where it's at. The Cleveland Clinic says women should aim for the recommended 25 to 30 grams per day — and one way to do so is loading your plate with broccoli, which contains 16 grams per bunch. Or, simply sneak them into the dishes you already love, like in this Fusilli with Broccoli Pesto recipe.
“If you’re feeling deprived by your diet, build in a cheat meal at least once a week in which you can indulge guilt-free. Doing this will help you avoid viewing certain foods as ‘off limits,’ which will help you crave them less.” — David Zinczenko, author of  Zero Belly Cookbook: 150+ Delicious Recipes to Flatten Your Belly, Turn Off Your Fat Genes, and Help Keep You Lean for Life!
Many diet plans cut out entire food groups, which can create nutrient deficiencies as well as health problems. For instance, if the diet is very low in carbohydrates and you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, it’s probably not a good fit. And if it’s too restrictive and you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, then it’s not a good idea, either. Keep in mind that pregnancy is not a time for weight loss. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

“I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
Based on studies such as these, the optimal supplement would provide high doses of catechins with a smaller dose of caffeine (ie. not decaffeinated). This would have all the benefits of hunger suppression, increased energy expenditure, and fat oxidation. The dose would require 10 cups of green tea per day, but by using a cold brew technique, we can get this down to 3 cups per day in a easy to use formulation.
Find a tea you enjoy. Although all non-herbal tea comes from the same plant, their characteristics change according to the amount of time the leaves are exposed to air. The lightest is white tea, often made from unopened plant buds. Green tea is produced from the green leaves, while oolong and black teas are made from leaves that have been exposed to air. While many studies focus on green tea, you can gain benefits from any variety. Find a variety you enjoy drinking, and keep in mind that there is a lot of flavor variation within each category.

“Oolong, or ‘black dragon,’ is a kind of Chinese tea that’s packed with catechins, nutrients that help promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost a pound a week, without doing anything else to change their diet or exercise habits.” — Kelly Choi, author of  The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse
This double-blind clinical trial study was conducted on 42 obese and overweight individuals (25 < BMI < 35). Participants were selected from those, who referred to a nutrition clinic (Ahvaz, Iran). Participants were screened based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria were lack of physical activity, no smoking, no alcohol drinking, no usage of herbal supplements and vitamins, and lack of weight changes in the last 6 months. Exclusion criteria included pregnancy, breastfeeding, use of drugs that effect metabolism, lipid and glycemic profile, eating disorder, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems, thyroid, digestive, respiratory diseases, and cancer. Participants consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine daily (described as caffeine users) were excluded from the study (20). The level of physical activity was assessed weekly by phone. The subjects, who had moderate or various physical activities, were excluded from the study.
The results of the current study showed that both protocols of rapid WL and slow WL caused a reduction in waist circumference, hip circumference, total body water, body fat mass, FFM, LBM, and RMR. Greater reduction of waist circumference, hip circumference, and FFM was seen with slow WL and greater reduction of total body water, LBM, and RMR was seen with rapid WL. It seems that the effect of slow WL in maintaining body water and LBM (as a metabolic tissue) was more significant than rapid WL.
Coconut oil may be high in saturated fat, but that doesn’t mean you should write it off completely, especially when it comes to weight loss. In fact, a study of 30 men published in Pharmacology found that just two tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. What’s more? At roughly 117 calories per tablespoon, coconut oil (which has a versatile high smoke point) is an ideal cooking companion so long as you don’t use it every day and rotate in other cooking oils such as heart-healthy EVOO.
Catechins are also credited for green tea’s cancer-fighting potential. These antioxidants have the ability to block the action of molecules called free radicals, which can cause changes in healthy cells that sometimes lead to cancer. But there’s no solid proof yet that the catechins in green tea help to prevent cancer in humans, despite some promising studies in test tubes and animals.
Make sure that the diet has been studied extensively for safety — and discuss any changes with your physician or registered dietitian before beginning a new diet. (If you don’t have a dietitian, find one in your area at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.) And do a self-check to ensure the diet fits with your own values and preferences.
Unlike traditional green tea, matcha preparation involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested. This triggers the growth of leaves with better flavor and texture, which are hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavor. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.
There's a pretty dizzying amount of research backing up this regime as a solid option to enhance your health, lower cholesterol, and encourage healthy, lasting weight loss. DASH (the acronym stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) has you loading up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (surprise!) and removing foods high in saturated fat from your diet. Research also shows that this diet may even ward off the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Going gluten-free may be a popular trend, but unless you're actually gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease, plenty of reasons exist to continue eating whole grains. They're a tasty way to fill up on both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help you feel full for longer and keep bowel movements regular (oats, barley, and bulgur are especially high sources). Whole grains can also help prevent weight gain: in one study, women who ate whole grains like wheat germ and dark bread had a 49% lower risk of "major" weight gain over time.
“Your body begins to work differently. This study proves that small amounts of nourishment throughout the day are better than the same amount of food concentrated in three big sittings. If we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn’t have to store calories. Conversely, when we skip meals we send just the opposite signal for the body to store calories, creating a negative effect on the metabolism.” — Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder and Medical Director at Take Shape For Life
Studies led by Dr. Barbara Rolls at Pennsylvania State University as well as those of Drs. James Barnard and Christian Roberts at UCLA, who are following people attending the Pritikin Longevity Center, are particularly enlightening. They have documented that one of the best ways of reducing calorie intake without triggering increased hunger is to reduce the calorie density of the foods consumed. Put simply, a bowl of pasta with veggies and marinara can fill us up just as well as a bowl of pasta with cheesy Alfredo, but for less than half the calorie cost.
Although white potatoes offer some potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes reign supreme in the nutrition department, meaning you should consider adding sweet potatoes to your diet. A large sweet potato contains around 4 grams of satiety-boosting protein, 25 percent of the day’s belly-filling fiber, and 11 times the recommended daily intake of vitamin A. What’s more? It’s less than 200 calories.
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