Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are among the top foods for weight loss.

Add These 6 Foods to Your Weight Loss Plan

Don’t let yourself get sucked into the cycle of self-denial that sabotages so many weight loss plans. While it’s true that you need to cut your overall calorie intake to lose weight, there are many delicious foods that can actually be helpful allies in your quest to shed pounds. Here are six foods that can play an important role in a healthy weight loss plan.

1. Eggs

Because they’re rich in protein without being correspondingly high in saturated fat, eggs are a cornerstone of many popular weight loss diets and with good reason. Research has shown that when people start the day with an egg or two (along, hopefully, with some veggies) they lose twice as much weight as those who eat just cereal, toast, or another typical breakfast food.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cauliflower, broccoli and other veggies in this family have proven in numerous studies to help people lose weight thanks to their high fiber content. Not only do they make you feel full, cruciferous vegetables are rich in folic acid, potassium, and other B vitamins and minerals.

3. Yogurt and Skim Milk

Low fat dairy products such as skim milk and yogurt help build and maintain lean muscle thanks to a triple whammy of calcium, vitamin D, and low-fat protein.

4. Nuts and Nut Butters

When you look at the nutrition breakdown for nuts like almonds and walnuts, you might think they’re too high in fat and calories to include in a diet. But it’s not as simple as that; the kind of fat in nuts is the good, healthy fat that actually lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition, nuts are high in protein and in important minerals that aren’t plentiful in many other foods. Nut butters such as almond and peanut butter are the perfect compliment to bread; the protein balances the carbs and helps prevent a blood sugar spike.

5. Grapefruit

Entire diets have been built around eating grapefruit, which contains pectic, a soluble fiber that protects against artery disease and makes this fruit much more filling than you’d expect. Pink and red grapefruit is particularly nutrient rich; in addition to vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, red-hued grapefruit is rich in vitamin A and lycopene, a phytochemical shown to be protective against cancer and inflammation.

6. Oats

While oats are frowned upon in many low-carb diets, they are also a whole grain that ranks high on the “satiety index,” which means they help you feel full longer. This also means they don’t raise your blood sugar as much as some carbohydrates do. And because they’re high in soluble fiber, oats can help lower cholesterol and blood fats. It’s best to choose steel-cut and old fashioned rolled oats, which have up to 5 grams of fiber per serving. If you choose instant oatmeal, avoid the flavored varieties that contain lots of added sugar.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.