10 Foods to Eat to Help You Lose Weight

10 Foods to Eat to Help You Lose Weight

Including these tasty, satisfying staples throughout the week can help supercharge your weight loss efforts.

No single food guarantees weight loss, but there are plenty of healthy options that can help support your weight loss efforts when included as part of a healthy diet. In addition to being delicious additions to meals and snacks, nearly all of these foods contain fiber or protein (or both)—nutrients that help keep us fuller longer. Including them on most days is a simple way to maximize your meals.

1. Chia Seeds

When it comes to weight loss, fiber is king. It’s satiating because it slows digestion and keeps us feeling fuller longer. This is super important when we’re cutting back on calories, a common approach to weight loss. Consuming a serving of chia seeds—roughly 2 tablespoons—satisfies about a quarter of daily fiber needs, per the USDA.

Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into meals, especially breakfast and snacks, with foods like breakfast pudding, berry jam and energy balls.

And bonus—chia seeds are one of the best foods to help you go No. 2!

2. Fatty Fish

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 8 ounces of seafood each week because it is rich in several nutrients and contains concentrated amounts of omega-3 fats.

Seafood is also high in protein to help curb hunger, keeping us satisfied longer. Fresh fish is great but can be pricey to purchase every week. Consider frozen fish fillets or shrimp, which tend to be less expensive. Also consider canned seafood, which is great for whipping up easy salmon patties, quick sardine toast or a classic niçoise salad.

3. Cruciferous Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and dark leafy greens like kale and arugula. Their health benefits are vast, and a growing body of research links regular consumption of these vegetables to a lower risk of cancer and reduced inflammation.

Cruciferous veggies are also low in calories and carbohydrates, making them the perfect nonstarchy addition to any weight loss meal plan. These vegetables are simple to include throughout the week. Use them as the hearty base for meal-prep salads, as a low-carb swap for grains or blend them into smoothies.

4. Whole Grains

Many people may think they need to limit starches like pasta, bread and rice when they’re trying to lose weight. Thankfully this isn’t the case, especially if we’re choosing whole grains most of the time.

In addition to vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, whole grains like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice and quinoa contain fiber to keep us feeling satisfied. Plus, our bodies and brains prefer energy from carbohydrates, so consuming these foods alongside protein and healthy fats can help reduce cravings for refined carbs and sugar.

5. Apples

Like vegetables, fruits are a smart addition to any healthy weight-loss plan. Because of their high water content and fiber (be sure to eat the skin), apples are filling and low in calories—factors that may play a role in helping people lose weight.

Apples are especially good to have on hand because they’re inexpensive, keep for weeks in the fridge and make for a super-portable snack. You can also get creative and work them into meals. Apples are delicious atop salads and toast or whirred into soups and smoothies.

6. Fermented Foods

Gut health is important—and for good reason. In addition to supporting immunity and good digestion, a healthy balance of good bacteria in the intestinal tract may help to promote fat burning, according to a 2020 review in Preventive Nutrition and Food Science.

Good sources of probiotics (good bacteria) include kefir and yogurt with live active cultures, homemade sauerkraut and tempeh. Aim to include a few bites or sips of probiotic-rich foods most days, in addition to eating prebiotics (like bananas, asparagus, legumes and onions), which provide fuel for our healthy gut bacteria.

7. Pistachios

All nuts can be included in a healthy weight loss diet. They’re satiating and satisfying thanks to their healthy fat, fiber and protein content. The key is portion control, as a serving of shelled nuts (about 1/4 cup) ranges between 160 and 200 calories.

As far as calories go, shelled pistachios are the middle of the road for nuts, coming in at 183 calories per serving, per the USDA. In addition to being delicious, pistachios come with a slew of health perks.

According to a 2020 study in Nutrients, regular consumption of pistachios was associated with weight loss, including in the belly, in overweight people. And eating them two or more times per week may reduce the risk of future weight gain, according to a 2019 study in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health.

We suggest buying pistachios in shells—shelling them as you snack is a simple way to promote mindful eating!

8. Eggs

The egg really is a near-perfect protein, especially when it comes to weight loss. Eaten at breakfast, eggs have been shown to enhance weight loss as part of a reduced-calorie diet, according to a 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Eggs are also economical and versatile enough to meal-prep ahead for grab-and-go snacks and lunches for the week or to top a power bowl at dinner.

9. Avocados

Avocados seem to make the cut when it comes to pretty much any diet plan. The reasons? They deliver a one-two punch of healthy fats and fiber, plus a buttery texture that adds richness to meals and snacks.

A 2021 study in The Journal of Nutrition suggests females who consumed one avocado a day along with a reduced-calorie diet had greater visceral fat tissue loss than females who did not include avocado in their reduced-calorie diet. But another 2022 Journal of the American Heart Association study found no such effects, although eating one avocado daily slightly decreased total and LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). While research is mixed about the effects of avocado on belly fat, they are a nutritious and satisfying addition to a healthy diet.

10. Dark Chocolate

Yes, chocolate can help you lose weight, and here’s why: A healthy weight loss diet is more likely to be effective if it’s sustainable for the long term. A 2020 review published in Current Nutrition Reports found that depriving yourself of your favorite foods can lead to cravings for those foods. Those cravings may become so intense that you stop trying to lose weight because you always feel deprived. Including foods you enjoy, like chocolate, may actually help you stick with a weight loss plan.

Including an ounce of dark chocolate (aim for 70% cacao content or higher for the greatest antioxidant boost) might be just the indulgence you need to stay on track. You’ll also benefit from its heart-healthy and mood-boosting perks, per a 2018 review in Planta Medica.

The Bottom Line

Eating a balanced diet with adequate protein and fiber goes a long way in helping with healthy weight loss (1 to 2 pounds per week). These 10 foods are some of the best—and easiest—foods to incorporate into your diet, so plan on adding them as meals and snacks in the coming weeks to help you manage your weight while still getting the nutrients your body needs.

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