11 Food & Drink Combinations To Increase Weight Loss, Say Dietitians
Losing weight is one of those things in life that is easier said than done for many. The thought of having to change your diet and abstain from enjoying indulgent treats that, though delicious, may not be doing your body any favors can definitely seem like an overwhelming, insurmountable feat. But being mindful of your eating habits and making well-informed choices based on quality ingredients and nutrition doesn't have to be a restrictive experience. And forcing yourself to adhere to a rigid meal plan to lose weight is not a sustainable approach, especially if your aim is to have a lean body for good. The key to enjoying a delicious, diverse diet while successfully losing weight on your own terms is to know which food and drink combinations can best support your weight loss journey.
To learn more about the food and drink combos that can optimize your potential for weight loss, we spoke to two nutritionists who each shared their ideas on the best pairings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack time. Keep reading to find out what to eat and drink to promote your weight loss goals—and for more dietitian-approved healthy eating tips, be sure to check out 23 Best Healthy Dinners Ideas, Recommended by Dietitians.
Eggs, berries, and a glass of dairy milk
"When it comes to milk, dairy milk gives you the most nutrition bang for your buck," says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our Expert Medical Board. Not only do you get 13 essential nutrients, but milk provides 1 gram of high-quality protein per ounce; so 8 ounces means 8 grams of protein!"
"Paired with eggs—which are [also] a good source of protein and provide healthy fat as well as unique nutrients like choline, lutein, and zeaxanthin—along with fiber-rich berries, this is a breakfast of champions and sure to keep you satisfied, and well-fueled, throughout the morning," adds Goodson.
Whole grain cereal and milk
Whether you slurp up your milk after downing your cereal or prefer drinking milk in a glass on the side, as expert nutritionist Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, author of the First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility, explains, "Cereal and milk is a classic combo for a good reason."
"While whole grain cereal provides fiber, B vitamins, and iron, milk provides calcium, vitamin D, and protein," says Manaker. "This combo can fuel the body with a slew of important weight loss-supporting nutrients."
100% orange juice and a hard-boiled egg
"Eggs are packed with satiating protein and important nutrients," says Manaker, "and orange juice that is made with 100% juice (not added sugars) can help support weight loss goals."
"Data shows that adults who drink this refreshing juice tend to have lower BMI, waist circumference, and body fat when compared with those who don't drink this juice," she continues. However, it is important to note that these studies are observational in nature.
Overnight oats with milk, chia seeds, and chopped apples plus a cup of green tea
"Need a morning caffeine fix and don't want coffee?" says Goodson. "One of the most powerful drinks for weight loss is green tea. The catechins found in green tea are antioxidants that have been shown to potentially increase fat burning and elevate metabolism. Additionally, the caffeine found in green tea may help improve exercise performance by providing a boost of energy."
"Pair your green tea with an in-advance favorite, overnight oats!" suggests Goodson. "Oats are a source of beta-glucan fiber, which helps you get full faster and stay full longer, as well as promotes gut and heart health."
"Now, to amp up these oats, make them with dairy milk and chia seeds," she continues. "Chia seeds are not only high in fiber, but they also provide plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and lots of satiety! Top this oat concoction with chopped apples (with the skin) for added pectin and fiber, and you won't look at the clock until lunch."
A nourish bowl with black tea
"While green tea gets a lot of hype, consider black tea at lunch," advises Goodson. "Studies have shown that the polyphenols found in black tea may promote weight loss by reducing calorie intake, stimulating fat breakdown and boosting the growth of friendly gut bacteria."
"Pair it with a nourish bowl rich in fiber and protein," she adds. "The beauty of a bowl is you can throw whatever veggies, whole grains, beans, and healthy fat you have in your kitchen in the bowl and enjoy for a satisfying lunch."
Goodson also shares three great nourish bowl ideas, each featuring a well-balanced composition of macro and micronutrients:
- Spinach, farro, canned kidney beans, roasted squash and zucchini, avocado, and a hard boiled egg on top
- Arugula, quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes and red bell peppers, chickpeas, and hummus
- A cauliflower rice and whole grain rice mixture, black beans, canned stewed tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and guacamole
A smoothie with kefir, protein powder, frozen berries, frozen banana, nut butter, and ice
"For a quick lunch on the go, make your hydration and food one easy meal with a smoothie!" says Goodson. "Start with kefir as your base; it's a fermented milk high in nutrients and probiotics, important for digestion and gut health. One cup of kefir provides [nearly] 8 grams of protein and almost a quarter of your daily calcium needs."
"Then amp up the protein power of your smoothie by adding protein powder or collagen peptides to provide the necessary amino acids for satiety," she continues. "Throw frozen berries and a banana in your smoothie for fiber, and your favorite nut butter for healthy fat and to trigger feelings of fullness. The liquid volume is likely to help you get full faster, as well!"
Water and an open-faced nut butter and banana sandwich
"Don't underestimate the benefits of drinking a glass of pure water," says Manaker. "Water has no calories, and it can help people stay hydrated. And some data shows that water is an important part of the process to break down fat."
"A nut butter and banana sandwich made on whole grain bread is a balanced snack that has healthy carbs, good fats, fiber, and protein—a perfect combo for a weight loss journey," she adds.
OLIPOP soda, string cheese, & nuts
"OLIPOP [a "better-for-you" soda] is a go-to at snack time! It contains a whopping 9 grams of prebiotic fiber per can, which is 32% of the Daily Value for fiber. This can help you full faster at meals, as well as stay full longer after eating," says Goodson. "Plus, OLIPOP helps support gut health with its blend of ingredients including prebiotics, botanicals, and plant fiber—and the real bonus is it tastes like soda without all the sugar."
"When paired with a snack like protein-rich string cheese and nuts, you get a trio of nutrients—protein, fiber, and healthy fat—that can help you feel satisfied and keep you from being as hungry at the next meal or snack," she adds.
Sparkling water, Greek yogurt, & a veggie-enriched muffin
"If you haven't noticed, bubbly beverages help you feel more full," explains Goodson. "In fact, if you really want to amp up the fullness, sip on the sparkling water before you eat your snack. Then, ditch the typical sugary snack and pair your bubbles with a snack high in fiber and protein."
"Veggies Made Great Muffins offer the perfect solution for a sweet treat!" says Goodson. "The first ingredient is a vegetable and the cinnamon roll and chocolate raspberry muffins each provide 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein—for only 90 calories! Eat this muffin with a serving of Greek yogurt—also high in protein—and you will feel satisfied for hours," she continues. "Plus, Greek yogurt provides gut-friendly probiotics to help digest the fiber!"
Ground beef tacos and fresh vegetable juice
"Not a fan of eating all your veggies? How about blending them into a juice," suggests Goodson. "Note, we said blending and juicing! Blending veggies into a juice allows you to get the benefit of fiber, which can help you feel full faster."
"Then, pair your veggie juice with a fun favorite like ground beef tacos," Goodson advises. "Start with a low-calorie corn tortilla and add lean ground beef, which provides high-quality protein and nine other essential nutrients. Add a tomato, black beans, and corn relish to your tacos for added fiber and nutrients, and top with sliced avocado for healthy fat."
Salmon, spinach, quinoa, and green tea
"Many people suffer from indigestion and gastric reflux after eating dinner, especially if they eat late and go to bed," Goodson explains. "Ginger tea has been used to help with nausea and indigestion, helping to ease the symptoms after eating."
"Pair [your tea] with omega-3-rich and protein-packed salmon, fiber-rich spinach, and quinoa for a complete, nourishing meal that will keep you out of the kitchen after dinner," says Goodson. "The additional protein in quinoa should help boost satiety until bedtime."