Eat These Foods to Lose Weight

We recently received a question from a reader asking “What type of foods should be eaten as part of a healthy diet and to help reduce weight?” To answer this question, we reached out to Brenda Roche Wolford, M.S., R.D. – Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor at the University of California.

“The good news is the key to a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight is not as complicated as some make it out to be. In fact, it’s as simple as eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains,” she said. “Throw in some legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and you’re well on your way to a heart-healthy diet. These types of foods are great sources of vitamins, minerals and naturally occurring compounds – called phytochemicals – that have disease-fighting capabilities.”

How do these foods promote weight loss?

Wolford: “Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes are high in fiber. Fiber is important in maintaining a healthy weight because it adds bulk to your diet without adding additional calories. These high-fiber foods help you stay fuller longer. They also have the added benefit of helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancers.”

Do they have any other benefits?

Wolford: “Fruits and vegetables also have a high water content, which helps play a role in weight control. The high water content increases the volume of what you are eating, without adding extra calories. Similar to fiber, this helps you feel fuller longer. The high water content of fruits and vegetables makes them great low-calorie options to incorporate into meals and snacks.”

Any other advice for healthy eating?

Wolford: “Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher calorie foods, such as high-fat meats, cheeses, and refined grains, will help you achieve a healthier weight. A great rule of thumb is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, as recommended by the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and depicted in the new MyPlate icon.”

For more information on healthy eating, check out these posts:

Originally published Aug. 7, 2012

Morning Muesli” by Bobbi Bowers is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.