Summer is certainly looking very different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the slow reopening of our towns and cities. But that hasn’t stopped countless Americans from reaffirming their desire to slim down for the season. Some may be struggling with the so-called “Quarantine 15,” while others are simply looking to make good on their six-month-old (feels like six years ago) New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. Regardless of your reason, going plant-based with an emphasis on whole, nutrient-dense foods can be a great way to obtain sustainable, healthy weight loss. But what’s a guy or gal to eat to stay plant-based and lose weight? Below nutritionists give us the scoop on what vegan foods to reach for if you want to see the scale slide south.
1. Chickpeas for Protein
“Chickpeas are full of protein and fiber, nutrients that help to keep you fuller for longer. And a study shows that regularly eating chickpeas and other beans daily can lead to a weight loss of close to a pound in about six weeks,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian in the New York City area. Indeed, it’s only a small amount of weight, but every bit adds up in the battle against the bulge. These days, we’re swooning for Gorin’s vegan chickpea chocolate cookie dough.
2. Oats for Fiber
“Oats are another food that offers satiating fiber, which helps to keep you fuller for longer—and can lead to you eating less,” says Gorin. Gorin is a fan of her easy mango almond oatmeal, and we’re a fan of oats in just about everything, from overnight oats to blending oats into smoothies for an added fiber boost (if you’d like, soften them up in water for about 15 or so minutes before adding to your blender).
3. Pistachios for Healthy Fat
The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, weight loss experts & co-founders of the 21-Day Body Reboot™, strongly advocate these nutritious nuts. “In-shell pistachios have a weight loss advantage as they may help you fool yourself full because the leftover shells may provide a visual cue for portions, potentially helping to curb intake. We call this the Pistachio Principle,” they say. The Nutrition Twins, who have a partnership with Wonderful Pistachios, share that the brand’s
Roasted & Salted 1.5 Ounce snack packs are their favorite healthy snack recommendation for their clients.
4. Quinoa for Vitamin B and Zinc
Looking to slim down? Shovel down the quinoa, dear readers. “Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, and amino acids, high in fiber, rich in B vitamins, and other micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and potassium,” offers Tiffany Ma, RDN. “To promote weight loss, individuals should consume adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis to promote lean body mass, which impacts overall body composition,” she adds, referencing this study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
5. KIND Mini Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt Bar for a Sweet Snack
You don’t have to tell us twice to load up on anything from KIND Snacks. (We’re currently all about the KIND Frozen Treat Bars). So what makes these morsels a good option for weight loss? When a hankering for sweets strikes, you want to reach for something that doesn’t have a ton of sugar and highly processed ingredients.”Not only is this seemingly indulgent plant-based treat waistline-friendly with less than 100-calories and just 3 grams of sugar, it’s nutrient-dense, containing wholesome ingredients including heart-healthy almonds as the first ingredient,” say The Nutrition Twins, who also have a partnership with the brand. “Research shows that increasing daily nut consumption can lead to less long-term weight gain and reduce the risk of obesity. We love that our clients can eat KIND bars in place of typical sugary desserts to quench their sweet cravings while also getting extra nutrients and a weight loss advantage.”
6. Almonds for Protein, Healthy Fat and Antioxidants
Whether you sprinkle almond slivers on your oatmeal or put a heaping tablespoon of almond butter into a savory veggie stir-fry sauce, load up on these nuts regularly if you’re hoping to see the number on your scale decrease. “Almonds are an excellent source of unsaturated fats, protein, antioxidants, and micronutrients like magnesium,” comments Ma. “Including a source of healthy fats in your diet, such as almonds, has the ability to increase the overall satiety of your meals and snacks, which has an impact on delaying hunger. Almonds are especially high in magnesium as well, which is important for bone health.
7. Seaweed Snacks for Fiber and to Satisfy Salt Cravings
When a hankering for pretzels or chips strikes (always), reach for nutrient-rich seaweed snacks instead. “A serving of most snack chips contain approximately 6 times more calories plus a hefty dose of artery-clogging fat. These are low in sodium, despite tasting salty, and with only 30 mg of sodium in the entire package, you don’t have to worry about bloat,” offer The Nutrition Twins. “Research shows seaweed’s natural fiber called alginate may suppress fat digestion in the gut and contribute to weight loss. Researchers found that ingesting even a small amount of the seaweed fiber blocked fat absorption by a third.” Sign us up!