Vegan foods to help you lose weight include either those with very low-calorie levels or foods with a high satiety index.
By themselves, the following vegan foods will not directly help you lose weight, but adding them to your diet might help you enter a calorie deficit without feeling hungry all the time and thus help you on your weight loss journey.
8 Vegan Foods to Help You Lose Weight
There are two ways to approach weight loss with nutrition:
- Consume low volumes of foods with high satiety indexes
- Consume high volumes of low-calorie foods
Combining both approaches is also possible and a great option, for example, if you like snaking.
Negative calorie foods don’t exist, which means that eating a lot of the following vegan foods won’t get you to magically lose weight. Instead, they can become part of a smart and sustainable nutrition strategy that supports your goals.
1 – Sweet potatoes
Due to their high carbohydrate and fibre levels, sweet potatoes are highly satiating. Eating sweet potatoes is not only filling, but it also helps keep your blood sugar stable.
These root vegetables are often regarded as “a perfect carbohydrate” for good reason. They are highly nutritious, rich in potassium, which helps electrolyte balance during exercise and, more importantly, they are high in fibre, which slows digestion and provides a sustained release of fuel.
Of course, preparation methods do matter. Boiling or baking sweet potatoes is healthier than frying them – try to consume them as close to their natural state as possible and generally only accompany them with other whole foods.
2 – Porridge and Oatmeal
Oats are amongst the healthiest grains on earth. They contain more protein and fat than most grains and are a great source of carbs and fibre.
Out of all the snacks, confectionary, or breakfast cereals, it is oatmeal that has the highest satiety index. This means that eating porridge can help you feel full for longer and this can help you manage your weight.
Oats lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They take a long time to digest which can give you energy throughout the day. Cooking oatmeal with water instead of milk sill provides the same benefits with fewer calories.
3 – Oranges
Oranges are a great vegan food to aid weight loss as they’re rich in fibre, which means they’re filling, while being naturally low in calories.
In fact, oranges are just over twice as filling as ice cream and white bread and over four times more filling than a croissant.
These citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium. Additionally, their sweetness can help satisfy sugar cravings.
4 – Apples
Apples are naturally low in calories and high in fibre, so their effects on weight loss are very similar to those of oranges.
They also have a high satiety index – being twice as filling as doughnuts for example – and their consumption has been found to support weight loss.
A study found that consuming three apples, three pears, or three oat cookies — with the same amount of fibre and total calories — per day for 10 weeks lead to weight loss for the first two groups, while weight remained unchanged for the oat group. This is because fruits have different energy density and this can help reduce body weight over time.
Just as with oranges, it is recommended you consume apples whole, rather than juiced, to reduce feelings of hunger, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce calorie intake over time.
5 – Broccoli
Broccoli is a very low-calorie vegetable rich in fibre, which takes a long time to digest and keeps you satiated for long.
This cruciferous vegetable is not only incredibly filling but is also high in protein. This combination is great if you’re trying to lose weight.
It is recommended you steam broccoli over other cooking methods as the vegetable retains most of its nutrients this way, according to a 2009 study.
6 – Cucumber
Cucumber has no fat and it’s essentially composed of water, which means it’s incredibly low in calories.
Trying to meet your caloric requirements with only cucumber is incredibly hard (try eating a whole cucumber, I assure you you’ll feel incredibly full), which makes it a great option for when you’re feeling peckish but want to reduce your overall calorie intake.
Cucumbers are also high in many important vitamins and minerals, contain antioxidants, and promote hydration. It is recommended you eat cucumbers unpeeled to maximise their nutrient content, as peeling them reduces fibre and certain vitamins and minerals.
7 – Beans
Protein- and fibre-rich beans have a great ability to satisfy hunger based on their energy content and ability to make you feel full over a long period of time.
Beans of all types are high in fibre and low in fat and can help you lose weight. Additionally, beans are a great alternative to meat as a plant-based protein source.
Through their low glycemic index, pinto, dark red kidney, and black beans can stabilise blood sugar levels, which may help reduce the risk of diabetes and weight gain.
8 – Brown Pasta
Brown pasta is lower in calories and higher in fibre and certain micronutrients than refined pasta. Carbohydrates are not the enemy when you’re trying to lose weight, and you’ll need them to support your physical activities.
Through its higher fibre levels, whole-grain pasta helps promote fullness and can therefore be more effective than refined pasta in reducing appetite and ultimately help you reduce your calorie intake over time.
Vegan foods for weight loss: conclusion
You see big diversity in the vegan foods to help you lose weight above because balance and variety are both key to healthy eating habits and a sustainable diet.
What are foods with high satiety levels?
Satiety levels refer to a specific food’s ability to satisfy hunger for long period of time. For common foods, these are based on the satiety index, a 1995 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It quantified the ability of 38 foods to leave you feeling full and without appetite after eating.
Foods with high satiety levels are those that have a great ability to satisfy hunger for a longer period of time.
Generally speaking, these are foods with high protein, water, and/or fibre content. There are many vegan foods to help you lose weight that fit this profile.
Weight loss: what is a calorie deficit?
Weight loss is a relatively a straightforward process. In essence, the only way to lose weight is by expending more calories than you consume. When you do this, you enter a calorie deficit, which can be achieved through changes in your diet, exercise regime, or both.
Understanding calorie balance
Calorie balance is the ratio between calories taken in and calories expended in any one individual at any given time. There are three states your body can be in at any given time:
- Positive calorie balance
- Calorie balance
- Negative calorie balance
The only way to lose weight is to enter a negative calorie balance.
Achieving a calorie deficit through nutrition alone can be done by eating a high volume of low-calorie foods or eating a low level of highly satiating foods.
It is possible, of course, to expend more calories than you consume by increasing physical activity levels as well.
Being in a calorie deficit will lead to weight loss in the medium and long term, but it also can have side effects from undernutrition such as tiredness, nausea, weakness, sleep disruption, and reduced immune strength as well as a decreased ability to recover if not done thoughtfully.
Disclaimer: All content within this article is provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult a dietitian before making big changes to your diet.
- orange slices vegan foods for weight loss: Vino Li on Unsplash
- apples vegan foods for weight loss: Matheus Cenali on Unsplash
- cucumber for weight loss: Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash
- beans: Shelley Pauls on Unsplash
- pasta: Jakub Dziubak on Unsplash
- vegan-foods-to-help-you-lose-weight: Roam In Color on Unsplash