Not all foods are created equal, including vegan foods.
Some foods are low in calories, others go through different metabolic pathways in your body, providing you with different effects in terms of appetite, hormones, and the number of calories you burn.
Vegan diets are known for their fabulous health benefits, namely in protecting you against certain types of cancer, lowering your risk of heart disease, and they can also help you lose weight. But it’s not enough to go vegan and expect to magically lose weight.
Even vegan diets can be unhealthy if you opt for all the wrong foods, namely processed foods like vegan cheese, vegan sausages, chips, cookies, and more.
If you want to lose weight or burn fat, you should know which foods are actually fine for you to eat, so I’m going to provide you with 10 foods (or types of food) you can eat to start losing weight and fat.
Foods That Will Help You Burn Fat
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are foods such as kale, spinach, collards, and swiss chards.
They have characteristics that make them perfect foods for weight loss, namely the fact they’re very low in calories (and carbohydrates) but also high in fiber.
One great strategy to lose weight is by eating plenty of leafy greens. Your stomach will assume that it’s eating a lot of food, but since leafy greens are low in calories, you will end up eating fewer calories overall. Many studies show that meals and diets with low energy density make people eat fewer calories. (see study)
Leafy greens are also exceptionally rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are foods such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Like leafy greens, they are low in calories and high in fiber, which means they are incredibly filling and ideal for lowering the overall amount of calories you consume.
But unlike leafy greens, they contain decent amounts of protein. The protein content is not as high as in legumes or other proteins like tofu and seitan, but it’s still high compared to most vegetables.
A combination of protein, fiber, and low-calorie density makes cruciferous vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals to lose weight. They’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
3. Beans and Legumes
Some beans and legumes can also be beneficial for weight loss, namely ones such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
These foods are quite rich in protein and fiber, two nutrients that are known to provide satiety, which is obviously great if you want to lose weight. They also have what’s called resistant starch.
Resistant starches are starch molecules that resist digestion and function like fiber.
Don’t forget to prepare both beans and legumes properly, otherwise, it may be difficult for you (or someone other than you) to tolerate them, namely in terms of absorption and digestion.
We have mentioned earlier that meals low in calories tend to make people eat fewer calories.
Most foods that are low in calories have a high-water content and are also rich in vitamins and minerals, which are generally fruits and vegetables.
One way to cook vegetables is by boiling them in water until they’re soft, and then you can pureé them using an immersion blender to obtain a creamy soup.
Naturally, you need to be careful not to add calorie-dense ingredients to the soup.
5. Whole Grains
Some whole grains can be incredibly beneficial for weight loss.
The most notable examples being oats, brown rice, and quinoa, which are loaded with fiber and decent amounts of protein – two nutrients that provide satiety.
Brown rice (and other forms of rice) are known to contain a significant amount of resistant starch, particularly if cooked and cooled down afterward. These properties increase satiety, as well.
If you eat grains, opt for whole grains. Whole grains are significantly more beneficial due to their nutritional content, which becomes void when they are refined.
Nuts are high in healthy fats, but they’re not responsible for people gaining unnecessary weight.
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These will typically offer you a neat balance of protein, fiber, and fats, which makes them one of the healthiest snacks you can have. In other words, eat nuts, not granola bars.
Studies are showing that eating nuts can improve metabolic health and even promote weight loss. Population studies have also discovered that nut-eating populations tend to be healthier and leaner than those who do not.
One important thing to add, though, is that you shouldn’t abuse them, since they’re fairly high in calories. If you’re someone that tends to eat massive amounts of nuts, then it may be best to avoid them.
Avocados are different from most fruits. While most fruits are high in carbohydrates (and sugar), avocados are high in fat, particularly monounsaturated oleic acid, a type of fat pretty abundant in olive oil.
Even though they have plenty of fat, they also have a lot of water and fiber, which means they’re not as calorie-dense as one would think – making them a good addition to weight loss diets.
Apart from fat and fiber, they also contain other important nutrients like folate, magnesium potassium, and a decent amount of other vitamins.
Naturally, they’re not to be eaten recklessly.
8. Chili Pepper
Eating chili peppers may actually be useful in a weight loss diet.
They contain a property called capsaicin, which is shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in some studies. In fact, capsaicin is widely used in a lot of supplements that claim to be able to burn fat.
Some studies suggest that eating 1 gram of red chili pepper reduced appetite and increased fat burning in people who didn’t regularly eat peppers. However, it’s important to note that it didn’t have an effect on people who are accustomed to eating spicy food, which means a certain level of tolerance can be built up.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Despite their melt-in-mouth, sugary, delicious taste, sweet potatoes are a healthy way to eat carbohydrates, without having to worry about gaining weight.
They are a moderate source of calories and are packed with fibers and other nutrients that will help you stay healthy, while at the same time potentiating your weight loss.
However, keep in mind that it also comes down to how you cook sweet potatoes. For example, something I do once in a while is sweet potato fries, which involves using plenty of oil, which is unhealthy and fattening.
Sweet potato fries can be very addicting, hence why you should be careful about the way you cook your sweet potatoes, otherwise, it may lead you to gain weight.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Several human-based studies suggest apple cider vinegar can be useful for weight loss.
For example, two studies suggest that taking apple cider vinegar at the same time as a high-carb meal can increase your feeling of fullness, and make people eat 200–275 fewer calories for the rest of the day. (see studies 1 and 2)
Additionally, one week study in obese individuals also found that 15 or 30 ml of vinegar per day caused weight loss of 2.6–3.7 pounds or 1.2–1.7 kilograms. (see study)
But then again, it’s important to emphasize the fact there is not one miracle ingredient that will help you lose weight instantly, but what we can conclude is that a lot of these foods are effective when used in a strict and well-structured weight loss diet.
These Foods Alone Won’t Help You Lose Weight
Eating the foods we’ve mentioned is certainly a good way to help you lose weight, especially if you replace them with high-calorie,+ foods with ungodly amounts of sugar.
However, If you still eat too much, it’s still going to be very difficult for you to lose weight.
To lose weight, you have to be on a calorie deficit. You have to consistently provide your body with fewer calories than it needs to support calorie expenditure. You create this deficit by first knowing what your maintenance calories are, which is the precise number of calories your body requires to support energy expenditure.
Calculators like the Body Weight Planner from the National Institute of Health estimate your maintenance calories based on your weight, sex, age, height, and physical activity level. While I doubt it’s the most precise tool, it’s one you can use to obtain a ballpark.
Once you know how many calories you have to eat to maintain your current weight, you’ll want to reduce that number by a few hundred calories to achieve your weight loss goals.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day is sufficient for weight loss and it is unlikely to affect your hunger or energy levels.
Naturally, as you lose weight, your maintenance calories will reduce over time, so you will need to adjust your calorie intake based on that development.
Vegan Recipes for Weight Loss
To effectively lose weight, you must eat foods that are broadly considered healthy (low in calories and sugars but highly nutritious) and you want to make sure you’re on a calorie deficit each day.
Below we are going to share with you 4 vegan recipes that will help contribute to your weight loss goals.
1 – Spaghetti with Vegetables (270 calories)
1 – Cook the spaghetti per package instructions (by boiling it in a pan)
2 – Heat olive oil in a frying pan
3 – Add garlic, onion, zucchini aubergine, and peppers
4 – Add 3 tbsps of water, cover, and cook the veggies in low heat until they become tender
5 – Add the chopped tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper, and dried oregano.
6 – Add the cooked pasta. Finito.
2 – Vegetables and Lentils (270 calories)
1 – Add olive oil to a pot on medium-high heat
2 – Add garlic and onion and sauteé for three minutes until they become soft
3 – Add the remaining ingredients and turn the heat up quickly to bring them to a rapid boil
4 – Once it starts boiling, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, until lentils are aptly cooked
5 – Top the dish with fresh parsley
3 – Chickpea and Tomato Quinoa (290 calories)
1 – Boil quinoa in lightly salted water at high heat using a pot
2 – Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the water has been absorbed
3 – In the meantime, heat oil in a large frying pan
4 – Add chopped onion, garlic, yellow pepper, and fry on low heat until soft
5 – Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices
6 – Cover the pan with a lid and gently simmer until the tomato has turned into sauce
7 – Add spinach and cover again until the spinach gets shriveled
8 – Stir in cooked chickpeas, olives and let them heat up
9 – Serve with cooked quinoa topped with chopped parsley.
4 – Vegan Fried Rice (240 calories)
1 – Cook the rice in water until it’s done
2 – Add oil to a skillet over medium heat
3 – Add the bell pepper and carrot and cover the skillet until the carrot is tender
4 – Season them with salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano
5 – Add the cooked rice and mix everything
6 – Add the tomato sauce, sliced tomatoes, and green onions
7 – Serve the dish topped with fresh cilantro
Important note: You’re able to follow the steps for each recipe in the video above.