There are some common eating habits that most people can find helpful as a healthy place to start. Here are most helpful weight loss tips our dietitians swear by.
There is so much information out there on how to lose weight. The only problem is that sometimes this information is harmful, especially when it’s talk of the new fad diet or restrictive eating plan.
At the end of the day, weight loss is different for everyone, and the plan should depend on what is healthy for each individual person. However, there are some common eating habits that most people can find helpful as a healthy place to start.
Read on to learn some of the most helpful weight loss tips our dietitians swear by.
1. Have protein at every meal
Across the board, experts agree that eating enough protein is a crucial nutrient for weight loss, not only because it keeps you feeling satiated but because your body burns more calories metabolizing this macronutrient than it does for carbs or fat.
“One of the best things to help people manage their appetite is to spread their protein out fairly evenly over three meals,” says Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, author of the free guide Change Your Habits & Ditch Restrictive Eating. “I recommend about 25 grams of protein at each meal because protein helps with satiety. And, equally important, it’s needed to stimulate muscle synthesis.”
During weight loss, it’s very easy to lose muscle along with fat, adds Weisenberger. Eating adequate protein can help to prevent this from happening—and that’s important since muscle burns more calories than fat tissue.
2. Eat more high-quality protein
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to consume the right amount of high-quality protein each day,” says Silvia Carli, MS, RD, the lead nutritionist with 1AND1 LIFE.
If you’re looking to lose weight, Carli recommends consuming 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, the daily protein intake for a 155-pound person should be between 85 and 140 grams of protein per day.
“Many people make the mistake of moving into healthy eating by only paying attention to lowering carbs, but it is essential to include enough protein to help keep the metabolism going,” says Carli.
But not all protein sources are created equal—a fatty cut of beef, for instance, is a less healthy protein choice for weight loss than a serving of shrimp, which is packed with protein and essential minerals but very low in fat.
“High-quality proteins are lean meats like chicken, turkey, lean beef cuts, eggs, low-fat dairy, and plant sources like tofu, tempeh, edamame,” says Carli.
3. Eat at least three cups of vegetables a day
Upping your veggie intake is one habit that’s bound to support weight loss—by filling up on these nutrient-dense, high-fiber foods that also tend to be super low in calories and fat, you’re less likely to overdo it on less healthy options. Specifically, Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT, advises eating at least three cups of vegetables daily—one cup at each meal.
According to Sayers, diversity is key here. So, challenge yourself to “eat the rainbow” and incorporate a few different kinds of vegetables on your plate, and regularly switch it up when shopping for produce at the grocery store.
“This is because different colored vegetables contain different micronutrients,” says Sayers. “For example, dark green leafy vegetables provide calcium, iron, and Vitamin K, whereas carrots and sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A.”
As for portion sizes, Sayers says you should aim for a pile of veggies at least the size of your fist at each meal.
4. Eat enough fiber
“Fiber helps with gut health and digestion overall, and can help your GI tract regulate many important hormones that play a part in sending signals to the brain,” says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN, author at Fit Healthy Momma.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, increased fiber intake was associated with weight loss in participants who were considered overweight.
“Specifically, viscous fibers have been shown to increase feelings of fullness and promote weight loss in many clinical studies. Viscous fibers form a gel-like substance in the gut, which can reduce feelings of hunger. Rich sources of viscous fiber include things like asparagus, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, oranges, legumes, barley, and oat bran,” says Clair.
5. Eat frozen fruit for dessert
Losing weight doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite desserts, especially because super-restrictive dieting can have some negative consequences. However, it is helpful to monitor how much added sugar we are consuming and take a look at opportunities for healthier alternatives every now and then.
“Eating something like frozen berries, for example, for dessert instead of sugary sorbet or ice creams can save a lot of calories from sugar while also giving you a lot of fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD and author of Recipe for Survival.
One of the easiest and most important habits to incorporate into your routine is making sure you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis.
“Enough fluid in the body is essential for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Not only is water calorie-free, but it can help your body regulate hunger and fullness cues,” says Clair. “Oftentimes when the body is thirsty, it manifests as hunger, so staying hydrated can help you to say no to unhealthy snacking habits.”