Tilapia is native to the Middle East and Africa, but the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reports that the flaky white fish is now widespread in the United States. Baked tilapia is low in calories and a source of essential nutrients such as niacin and vitamin D. Although no single food determines your weight loss, regular consumption of tilapia can help you lose weight as part of a balanced, calorie-controlled diet.
Consume Low-Calorie Foods to Lose Weight
Low-calorie foods, such as baked tilapia, can help you lose weight because you need to consume fewer calories than you expend to achieve your dieting goals. Baked tilapia can be a daily component of a reduced-calorie diet, as each 3-ounce serving contains only 111 calories. Keep your tilapia low-calorie by eating it plain or baking it with garlic or herbs. Tilapia baked with cheese, breaded baked tilapia and tilapia served with cream sauce can be higher in calories and is less likely to help you lose weight.
Include Plenty of Protein in Your Meal Plan
Each serving of tilapia provides 23 grams of protein, or 46 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Protein helps you stay full for longer after your meal than you would after a meal without protein, according to Harvard University. Regularly consuming fatty sources of protein, such as 85 percent lean ground beef containing 13 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving, can derail weight loss. In contrast, each 3-ounce portion of tilapia contains 2 grams of fat.
Vary Your Diet to Prevent Boredom
A concern with consuming baked tilapia every day is that you may become bored -- and boredom can lead you to give up on your weight-loss diet before reaching your goal weight. To keep your diet interesting, use baked tilapia in a variety of ways. For dinner, serve it plain or with lemon and parsley, steamed vegetables and brown rice for dinner. For lunch, have a green salad topped with baked tilapia or vegetable soup with pieces of baked tilapia. For breakfast, add baked tilapia to an egg white scramble with kale and onions. You can also try other healthy fish options, such as salmon, cod or halibut.
Limit Mercury Consumption
Mercury is an environmental contaminant that can accumulate in fish and shellfish and can lead to neurotoxic effects and impair cognitive development in infants and children, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Tilapia is among the types of fish with a lower average mercury content, according to the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." A 3-ounce portion of tilapia contains less than 2 micrograms of mercury. In contrast, a 4-ounce portion of canned tuna contains 40 micrograms of mercury, and the same portion of king mackerel contains 110 micrograms. Stick to low-mercury varieties of seafood, such as tilapia, if you choose to consume seafood every day.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Tilapia Fact Sheet
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- Food and Drug Administration: Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients)
- Harvard University: Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Human Health Criteria - Methylmercury Fish Tissue Criterion
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010