HomeDietsNutrient-Dense, Low-Calorie Foods to Lose Weight Quickly

Nutrient-Dense, Low-Calorie Foods to Lose Weight Quickly

Nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods to eat if you want to lose weight quicklyIf you want to lose weight fast and intend on dropping your calorie intake significantly, you need to ensure that the food you do eat is high in nutrients. If you choose to eat foods of low nutritional value, you risk failing in your weight loss efforts as your body struggles to carry out its vital day-to-day functions without the nutrients it needs.

Making nutrient-dense foods the centurion of your weight loss will also reduce the risk of the harmful side-effects that can occur when you lose weight fast.


If you want to lose weight fast, make the following foods the focus of your diet. These foods meet all the above criteria for fast weight loss.

  • Chard, collard greens, kale, spinach, mustard greens
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Baked potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
  • Raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and papaya,
  • Barley, oats, brown rice and quinoa
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame)
  • Dried beans (kidney, navy, garbanzo, pinto)
  • Peas, lentils
  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts
  • Poultry: Chicken, turkey
  • Red meat: Lean beef, lamb, venison
  • Fish such as salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna


< 1,200
1 cup
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
1.5 cups
2 cups
2.5 cups
4 ounce
5 ounce
5 ounce
6 ounce
Lean meat and beans**
3 ounce
4 ounce
5 ounce
5 ounce
Dairy (fat-free or low-fat)***
2 cups
2 cups
3 cups
3 cups
17 g
17 g
22 g
24 g
Discretionary calories


*1 ounce = ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal; 1 ounce dry pasta or rice; 1 slice bread; 1 small muffin; 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes.
1 ounce = 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; ¼ cup cooked dry beans or tofu; 1 tablespoon peanut butter; ½ ounce nuts or seeds.
1 cup = 1 cup milk or yogurt; 1.5 ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese.

Source: USDA Food Guide, Appendix A-2, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005.



Although you may want to lose weight fast, 1,000 calories per day veering dangerously on the low side. Generally 1,000 calories per day is only suitable for a small framed/ medium height woman engaging in little exercise.

  • 8 oz nonfat yogurt
  • ½ cup kiwi
  • ½ cup papaya
  • 1 oz walnuts
  • 4 oz skim milk
Lunch (Tuna Salad)
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 3 oz water packed tuna (drained)
  • 2 celery sticks (sliced)
  • 2 cups lettuce leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 4 chopped walnuts
Dinner (Chicken)
  • 1/2 avocad
  • 2 oz cooked chicken (chopped)
  • 2 cups shredded dark green lettuce
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced red/ orange pepper
  • 1 thinly sliced red onion
  • dressing made with 1 tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper


This is a 1,200-calorie sample menu, which will help you to lose weight fast. You can adapt it to suit your needs. Basically, when the amount of food you eat is dramatically reduced, you need to pay careful attention to what you are eating to keep your nutrient intake high.

Breakfast (Banana Smoothie)

(Blend ingredients together)

  • 1 cup [8 oz] plain, low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp flaxseeds
Lunch (Green Salad)
  • 1 cup dark green lettuce
  • 1 red/ orange pepper
  • ½ cup edamame beans
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted sunflower seeds.
  • Salad dressing made with 1 tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper

And 1 small whole-wheat pita

Dinner (Salmon)
  • 4 oz broiled wild salmon with yogurt sauce
  • Yogurt sauce: 1 tbsp. Greek-style non-fat yogurt, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 clove chopped garlic.
  • ¼ cup cooked barley and ¼ cup cooked lentils with spices to taste
  • 1 cup steamed baby bok choy

This food plan is low in calories but full of essential vitamins and minerals to meet your body’s needs. Vitamins include: Vitamin A, C, E, K, B6,B12, Niacin, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Folate and Pantothenic acid. Minerals include: Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Selenium, Zinc and Potassium.

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