Foods for weight loss or maintenance

Following this slow aging eating plan will help you make the right food choices to lose or maintain weight, and live a healthier life.

You don’t have to change your dietary habits overnight; even small changes over time can become good habits over a longer period. These good habits will be magnified by decades of executing, and ultimately will become real effectors of health in our later years.

The average weight gain each year as we get older is equivalent to two extra spoonfuls a day. We can get all the nutrients we really need from food by making informed dietary choices, and it doesn’t mean spending lots of money or conforming to radical or restrictive formulas.

It also doesn’t necessarily mean being vegetarian. It simply means making the right choices for you. A ‘slow’ diet is yours for the making, and most importantly, something you can do today and keep doing it.

Eat these foods every day:

  • Fresh fruit – 1-2 serves per day (one serve = one piece of fruit or half a cup)
  • Legumes – 1-3 servings per day (1 serve = half a cup)
  • Fresh vegetables – 5-7 servings per day (1 serve = half a cup)
  • Fresh herbs and spices – as an alternative to overcooking for flavour
  • Nuts and seeds – 1 serve daily (1 serve = 7-10 nuts)
  • Whole grains – 3-5 serves per day (1 serve = 1 slice of whole grain bread, or 1 cup of brown rice, unprocessed cereal or whole grain pasta)
  • Water – 2-3 litres per day (one glass = 300 ml)
  • Green or black tea – 1-2 cups per day

Eat these a few times a week:

  • Fresh fish – up to 4-7 serves per week (one serve = 100-150g or the size of your palm)
  • Eggs – up to 7 eggs per week
  • Milk and cheese – (optional) up to 7 serves per week (one serve = one cup of milk or 30g of cheese)
  • Yoghurt – (optional) up to 7 serves per week
  • Dark chocolate – (optional) up to 5 serves per week (one serve = two squares of chocolate)
  • Low fat red meat – a maximum of 2 serves per week (one serve = 100g or the size of your palm)
  • Chicken – a maximum of 2 serves per week (one serve = 100g, one drumstick or a small breast)

Avoid these (fast foods) where possible:

  • Ice-cream
  • Highly processed foods such as toasted cereals
  • Bakery goods, pastries and biscuits
  • Lollies and candy
  • Crisps
  • Fried food
  • Processed and deli meats
  • Soft drink
  • Food with preservatives


Last Reviewed: 26-Jun-2017

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Dr Merlin Thomas

Professor Merlin Thomas is Professor of Medicine at Melbourne’s Monash University, based in the Department of Diabetes. He is both a physician and a scientist. Merlin has a broader interest in all aspects of preventive medicine and ageing. He has published over 270 articles in many of the worlds’ leading medical journals

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