Which food pairings are best for losing weight?

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How should I pair my foods to lose weight? Also, should I eat more calories during breakfast and less at dinner? –Farris B. 


For weight loss you’ll want to utilize your digestion and metabolism to their capacity to promote fat burning. Weight loss requires consuming fewer calories than you expend (both muscularly and metabolically).

Yes, you should have a larger breakfast and smaller dinner. Enough said.

As far as pairing your foods, most food “combining” diet programs are for improving digestion. I’ll address your concern for weight loss. To promote using fat as energy and prevent overeating you should keep calories moderate, avoid added sugars and alcohol, and eat high-volume foods that keep you full longer.

See more tips in our 90 Day Nutrition Plan to a Leaner You series. Click HERE for part 2 of the plan.

I’d suggest the following food pairs during the day: choose lean protein or complex carbohydrates with plant fat for breakfast, eat fresh fruit with nuts mid-morning or mid-afternoon, have your main starch at lunch with plant fat, or you could opt for a big green salad with beans, and have lean protein with vegetables for dinner.

Here are some great combinations to incorporate into your routine:

  • Oatmeal + pecans
  • Egg whites + avocado
  • Orange + walnuts
  • Greek yogurt + berries
  • Cottage cheese + pineapple
  • Whole grain bread + peanut butter
  • Hummus + raw veggies
  • Spinach + cannellini beans
  • Fish + asparagus
  • Chicken + broccoli

Have it solo! Edamame (soybeans) needs no partner as it’s already a combination food, containing carbohydrate, protein and fat.

There is no need to limit yourself to only 2 foods to match-up at one sitting! Non-starchy vegetables like celery or cucumber are ideal throughout the day. But if you’re sticking with pairs, consider the following: condiments like lemon, cinnamon or salsa can go with any of the above; a spoonful of olive oil works with most meals; and an added spoonful of flaxseed or wheat germ is perfectly acceptable  anywhere.

With a little experimentation on what keeps you energized and satisfied, you might come up with even more options! When you do, please share them with us by commenting below.


– Debbie J., MS, RD


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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

Posted on July 7, 2014, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Can you give me step by step meals. . Breakfast lunch , dinner. .my problem is eating the right foods. I’m excercising and not losing weight.

  2. Hi Debbie.Thank you.this is very informative.I have a question,iam currently 218 pounds,5.2 tall and 29 yrs old.I am trying to loose 50 pounds atleast.Apparently,am on a 1600 calorie diet inorder to hit my goal.I work a night shift so I sleep during the day.now..1600 feels like a lot of eating for me.and I averagedly workout 45 minutes of trademill cardio walking and jogging intervals.my question is do u think 1600 calorie diet will help me achieve my goal and if yes,what should the 1600 basically entail? Thanx.

    • If 1600 calories feels like a lot of food for you, I hope it’s because you’re choosing a lot of high-volume produce. Your stated calorie level is appropriate for your exercise level, age, gender and anthropometrics. It’s actually at the low end of a range upwards of 1900 calories given your data.

      As important, if not moreso, are the food choices that make up your calories. You’ll need 1-2 servings low-fat or fat-free milk/yogurt, 2-3 fruits, 4-5 vegetables, 6 ounces grain, 6 ounces lean protein and 3 spoonfuls fat throughout the day — or in your case, night. The USDA’s recommendation for 1600 calories is a little higher in milk/yogurt and an ounce lower in grains and protein. Either is suitable.

  3. Can you give me step-by-step meals? My biggest problem is eating the right foods and especially the right food combinations.

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