Top Plant-Based Weight Loss Foods

When it comes to plant based weight loss, it helps to know what foods to eat. Here’s your go-to food list!

A bowl of salad topped with eggs, tofu, corn, tomatoes

Following a flexitarian, vegetarian, or vegan diet for weight loss or good health? It helps to know what to eat for plant-based diet weight loss and how to make delicious yet healthy vegetarian recipes and vegan meals.

Plus, being at a healthy weight can help lower your risk of certain diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Whether you’re simply trying to eat healthier or have weight loss or other health goals in mind, plant-based eating can help. And you don’t even have to give up eating meat, per se.

This is especially true when you mix up menu offerings to keep mealtime interesting yet still healthy. Try a vegan dessert recipe for Meatless Monday, or throw a vegetarian pizza in the oven on a busy weeknight. 

Now, here’s your food list for plant-based weight loss.

top down view of a colorful salad with a bottle of salad dressing next to it

Colorful produce

The No. 1 food I’ll tell you to eat on a whole-food, plant-based diet for weight loss: produce. We’ve long known that eating all colors of the rainbow is important for a myriad of health benefits, including lowering risk of cardiovascular disease.

Now, a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows exactly how much of a health impact this can have.

Iranian researchers studied 1,272 adults for three years, documenting how many daily servings of red/purple, yellow, green, orange and white fruits and veggies they ate. Then, the scientists looked at how intake affected subjects’ health.

The findings: Eating more red/purple fruits and vegetables was linked with both a lower weight and less belly fat gain. Yay, produce for plant-based weight loss!

For women, the people consuming red/purple fruits and vegetables were likely to have lower fasting blood sugar and total cholesterol levels. And eating orange produce was linked with lower cholesterol levels.

For men, the people who ate white produce were less likely to gain belly fat and have lower cholesterol levels, while the guys eating yellow produce had improved total and beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. Eating green produce was linked with lower triglyceride levels.

Ready to eat your colors and help your health? Get started:

Green produce

  • Broccoli
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Green beans
  • Green bell pepper
  • Green cabbage
  • Green chili pepper
  • Green peas
  • Kiwi
  • Leafy greens
  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini

Orange produce

  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrot
  • Citrus
  • Peach
  • Pumpkin

Red and purple produce

  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Date fruit
  • Pomegranate
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red cabbage
  • Red figs
  • Red grapefruit
  • Red grapes
  • Red onion
  • Red plum
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon

White produce

  • Cauliflower
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Turnip
  • White cabbage

Yellow produce

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Green grapes
  • Lemon
  • Melon
  • Pear
  • Yellow plum
Lots of almonds scattered on a burlap surface and plate


I’m a big fan of nuts, especially almonds. I eat them in my Greek yogurt and oatmeal, and I enjoy adding them to salads and stir-fries, too. The nuts have many health attributes, especially for plant-based weight loss.

They offer fiber, protein, and healthy fats, which might help you to feel full for longer between meals and help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. You may also stop eating sooner because of this feeling of satiation.

In 11 whole almonds, you get about 75 calories, 2.8 grams protein, 0.3 grams saturated fat, and 0.6 grams sugar.

And research in Food & Function shows that the nut may  contribute less calories than thought. When scientists retested the calorie content of both unroasted and roasted almonds, they found interesting results.

After processing by the body, whole unroasted almonds resulted in 25 percent fewer calories being absorbed than previously thought, and roasted almonds had 17 percent to 19 percent fewer calories absorbed.

The study authors determined that the number of calories assigned to almonds before they’re eaten doesn’t take into account how the food is broken down and absorbed by the body.

Chewing doesn’t break down an almond’s cell walls, which means part of the cells remain unbroken and unabsorbed during the digestion process.

The calorie difference between unroasted and roasted almonds is because the roasting process helps break down the nuts’ cell walls, which makes them easier to process by the body.

There was no calorie difference found for almond butter, as the almonds are broken down during processing. FYI that the research was funded by the Almond Board of California.

What to do with this information? For now, consider swapping a Tablespoon or two of natural almonds for the granola in your yogurt or the cheese on your salads—or having them instead of your typical pretzel snack.

Also assess whether they impact your fullness level or weight loss.

A burger with all the fixings including lettuce and cheese on a wooden cutting board

Meat alternatives

A No. 1 complaint I hear about eating vegetarian is the lack of protein options. But there are so many delicious and filling vegetarian picks out there!

These include whole grains, legumes, and meat alternatives––and they’re all great for plant-based weight loss.

Many of these options are high in fiber and protein. I’ve seen so many client success stories of people eating this way and losing weight!

And when it comes to plant-based weight loss, replacing some or all of the meat in your diet with high-protein, plant-based foods can really help you meet your goals.

water being poured into a glass


Water is the stuff of life and plant-based weight loss!

Hunger is often mistaken for thirst. So if it’s not mealtime and you’re feeling hungry, try first having some sips of water. Wait a few minutes to see if the hunger subsides. And when it is mealtime? Drink up beforehand!

Here’s why: A study in Obesity shows that drinking water can help with weight loss. 

In the study, 84 British adults with obesity were asked to drink about two cups of water before eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner every day for about three months, or to instead imagine feeling full.

The people who hydrated before the meals lost the most weight, more than 9 pounds, versus less than 2 pounds for people who didn’t drink water before meals. 

The study authors note that the water supplied may cause you to feel fuller and eat less at mealtimes. It’s also possible that the liquid could temporarily increase pre-meal metabolism, although more research needs to be done in this area.

Final thoughts

When it comes to plant-based weight loss, you have so many nutritious foods to eat that will help you meet your weight goals. Many of these foods fit into both a vegan and vegetarian diet.


When it comes to plant based weight loss, it helps to know what foods to eat. Here's your go-to food list!

What do you think about this list of the best foods for plant-based weight loss? What would you add to this list of plant-based foods?

Plant-Based Eating |

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