The 20 essential foods for weight loss

When wanting to lose weight, there are a few “key foods” that offer enormous benefits. Here are Dr. Joey Shulman's top 20 foods to lose weight and feel your best!

If you have followed any of my meal plans or read any of my books or articles, you know my weight loss approach does not involve deprivation. My approach is based on hormonal balance that incorporates a lot of clean eating and delicious, natural food! Once you are on the program, you will soon discover that you will feel satiated, and cravings – whether for salt or sugar – will be satisfied naturally.

When wanting to lose weight, there are a few “key foods” that offer enormous benefits. My top 20 foods to lose weight and feel your best include:

  1. Salmon – An oily fish rich in protein and omega 3 fats – both beneficial for weight loss.
  2. Lemons – Lemons act as a natural astringent in the body and help to promote healthy digestion. Squeeze one thick lemon wedge into warm or hot water 1-2x per day.
  3. Green leafy vegetables – In general, the more green foods you eat, the better. Broccoli, spinach, kale and collard greens are all low in calories and rich in nutrients that will help to boost energy. Green leafy vegetables are also alkaline and offer anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. Blueberries – A naturally sweet low glycemic index fruit that will not fluctuate blood sugar and is also rich in anti-oxidants. Fresh or frozen will do!
  5. ApplesRich in fiber and low in calories, apples are the perfect “grab and go” weight loss snack.
  6. Grapefruit – One serving of grapefruit has only 53 calories and 2 grams of fiber. Research has shown that eating grapefruit before meals can actually help weight loss seekers lose more weight.
  7. Greek yogurt – Offering more than 2x the protein as regular yogurt, opt for half a cup of Greek yogurt topped with ½ cup of fruit and 1 tablespoon of hemp hearts for a perfectly balanced breakfast option.
  8. Sprouted grain bread – Sprouted grains are lower on the glycemic index, easier to digest and rich in fiber. This makes them an ideal choice for a “weight loss grain”.  Keep sprouted grain bread in your fridge or freezer to ensure it lasts longer.
  9. Organic eggs – Eggs are one of the most perfect weight loss foods available. With 6 grams of protein per egg, you can’t go wrong.
  10. Tuna – Tuna’s high protein content makes it an excellent addition to the diet. Protein is a key macronutrient necessary for weight loss and should comprise approximately 30% of your total caloric intake. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who boosted their protein intake from 15 to 30 percent of their daily calorie intake felt more satisfied and full and dropped weight and body fat. When eating canned tuna, select tuna packed in water and light vs. white tuna as it has less mercury.
  11. Vegetable soup – All vegetables are free with the exception of white potatoes and corn. I highly recommend keeping a delicious vegetable soup on hand to snack on at any time. For my free weight loss soup recipe, click here.
  12. Avocados – In addition to squashing hunger and offering a multitude of “good for you” nutrients – avocados are also chock full of monounsaturated fat and have been shown to reduce fat deposition around the belly area.
  13. Walnuts – Walnuts offer more omega 3 than any other nut. Omega 3 nuts have been shown to balance blood sugar and are also beneficial for boosting metabolism.
  14. Almonds – Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats which will help stabilize blood sugar, help keep you full for longer and also offer a good source of fiber. Keep 10-15 almonds on you in case a “snack attack” does hit.
  15. Coconut oil – Coconut oil contains a unique blend of fatty acids that have been shown to have a positive effect on metabolism and to reduces appetite. Some researchers recommend enjoying ½ tsp of coconut oil 20 minutes prior to each meal to maintain blood sugar and reduce hunger.
  16. Hemp hearts – Hemp hearts are the shelled interior of the hemp seed and are roughly the size of the sesame seed. Just 3 tbsp of hemp hearts offers 10 grams of vegetarian protein!
  17. Ground flaxseeds – Ground flaxseeds are a great addition to the diet as they are chock full of omega 3 fat and fiber, which will fill you up and stabilize blood sugars. With only 37 calories in 1 tablespoon, flaxseeds are an easy addition to add to yogurt, salads or in baking. Refer to my microwave muffin recipe here to enjoy a flax filled grain free, dairy free breakfast muffin.
  18. Olives and/or olive oil Olives and olive oils are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats that have been shown to be extremely heart healthy, help to fill you up and are ideal for weight loss. When purchasing anvolive oil, invest in one in a dark bottle and one that is labeled extra virgin olive oil (from the first pressing of the grape).
  19. Cinnamon – This warming spice has been shown to help balance blood sugars and to assist with glucose metabolism. Both of these mechanisms are beneficial for weight loss and burning belly fat. Add cinnamon to your morning coffee and/or to your baking or microwave muffin recipe.
  20. Green tea – Green tea contains a chemical component called EGCG which helps to boost metabolism and burn belly fat. Research shows 2-3 cups of green tea per day to be effective for weight loss.