15 Foods That Aid Weight Loss, According To Dietitians

15 Foods That Aid Weight Loss, According To Dietitians

Trying to lose weight usually means making different dietary choices so you can maximize the amount of nutrients, energy and fullness you get from the least number of calories. Luckily, there are many foods that can help with weight loss that you may be eating already.

When you’re losing weight, you should look for foods that keep you full for long period and kickstart your metabolism, as well being packed with macronutrients and low in added sugar and other characteristics typical of processed foods. Eating more plant-based foods has also been shown to help with weight loss, but dairy and animal products can also help you hit your daily protein quota while eating in a calorie deficit.

Here are some of the best foods for weight loss.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt. Some brands contain more than 20 grams of protein per serving. “Protein not only keeps you satisfied longer but takes about 18% more energy to digest than fat,” Angela Ginn, registered dietitian, tells. TODAY.com. Choose low-fat, plain varieties to avoid added sugars and add fresh fruit for some fiber.

Eggs

“Eggs are inexpensive, the protein sticks with you, and they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” Marisa Moore, registered dietitian, tells TODAY.com. Grab a hard-boiled egg for breakfast or a snack for around 100 calories. Or make an omelet or scramble with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms for dinner. If you’re watching your cholesterol, use half egg whites in the mix.

Whole grain breads

Whole grains stay with you longer than white flour, which loses nutrients and fiber in the refining process. Whole grains are beneficial for weight loss: A 2017 study found that eating whole grain procuts instead of white bread and rice leads your body to absorb a cookie’s worth fewer calories a day.

Read the food label to make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain, such as wheat or oats. You’ll also find whole grains in crackers, pasta and cereal.

Nut butters

Add a smear of peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter to toast, an English muffin, or a few whole grain crackers for an added dose of protein, fiber and healthy fat. The creaminess is appealing, and nut butters will satisfy you longer than other spreads such as butter or jam, says Joan Blake, a registered dietitian.

Oatmeal

The soluble fiber in oatmeal keeps you full, helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. Opt for unsweetened varieties and add your own raisins, dried cranberries, a sprinkle of nuts and a shake of cinnamon or nutmeg. “If you prefer it sweet, drizzle on a little honey, molasses or maple syrup,” says Moore. “Whatever sweetener you add pales in comparison to how much sugar is found in the pre-made packets.”

Milk

A glass of reduced fat milk has about 9 grams of protein, plus 350 milligrams of the 1,000 to 1,500 milligram of daily calcium women need. Many of us are only getting about half of that each day.

Cheese

With 6 or more grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, cheese is a perfect snack with a few whole grain crackers or an apple. It also contains calcium. Choose a low-fat cheese such as mozzarella or a more flavorful and pungent type, like sharp cheddar or feta, so you’ll be satisfied with a smaller amount.

If low-fat cheese isn’t for you, know that a growing body of research shows that full-fat dairy may help with weight loss when eaten in moderation because it keeps you full longer.

Whole grain cereal

Cereal can be a healthy snack any time if you choose wisely. Look for whole grains as the first ingredient, and choose brands that don’t have added sugars, such as sugar, corn syrup or fructose, listed in the first few ingredients, says Moore. To keep calories in check, stick to the suggested serving size.

Apples

A small apple has just 78 calories and almost 4 grams of fiber. Slice one over a salad, eat one as a midmorning snack with a smear of peanut butter or bake a few with cinnamon and raisins for sweet-but-healthy dessert for the whole family.

Berries

You may know that strawberries are a food high in fiber, but did you know raspberries actually have more? Raspberries have about 8 grams of fiber per cup, while strawberries have about 3 grams. Blueberries are another good high-fiber choice. And all berries contain disease-fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C.

Nuts

“Nuts contain protein, good fat and fiber, which are three dietary components that will keep you satiated,” says Blake. Since nuts are high in calories, watch the portion size when snacking or buy the 100-calorie packages. Chop them up and sprinkle over yogurt or oatmeal — you’ll get nuts in every bite without adding too many extra calories.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are versatile: You can make them into hummus for a dip or sandwich spread, add them to soups and stews, or toss them on salads and pasta dishes. For a savory snack, roast chickpeas for 30 or 40 minutes at 425 degrees until crispy and toss with salt, pepper and spices of your choice. A half-cup of roasted chickpeas has 100 calories, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.

Green tea

Small studies indicate drinking 2 to 4 cups of green tea daily can help burn more calories. While the effects may be slight, consider replacing a high-calorie drink with green tea, which contains no calories. “Little changes like this can add up to better health overall,” says Ginn.

Dark chocolate

A square of dark chocolate has a stronger flavor than milk chocolate, so you may be tempted to eat less. For a double-duty chocolate snack, dust some cocoa on a handful of almonds, which will curb your sweet tooth and provide a protein punch.

Whole grain pasta

Regular pasta contains simple carbs that have no staying power in your stomach, but “whole grain pastas have improved tremendously in recent years in taste and texture,” says Moore. If whole wheat pasta is new to you, try the thinnest noodles, such as angel hair. You may not even notice a difference.

Jicama

Low in calories but high in fiber, this lesser-known root vegetable is a pleasant change of pace from more common veggies. Its crisp texture and slight sweetness is especially refreshing in the summer. Try it cut into sticks, sliced into salads or shred it for tacos.

Melon

Like most fruits and vegetables, melon’s high water content keeps you satisfied with few calories. Expand your palate by trying less common varieties, such as spicy-sweet Crenshaw melons or sweet Santa Claus melons.

Turnips and rutabagas

These root veggies can be diced and roasted, added to stews or boiled and mashed as a substitute for white potatoes. They contain about 4 grams of fiber per cup, a smidge of protein and lots of potassium. (Tip: Don’t discard those vitamin-rich leafy tops. You can saute them as you would spinach and other greens.)

Grapefruit

There’s research to back up grapefruit’s reputation as a fat fighter. One study found that eating half a grapefruit before a meal can actually help people drop weight, though the mechanism isn’t completely understood. As an added benefit, grapefruit contains cancer-fighting compounds like liminoids and lycopene, and red grapefruit has been shown to help lower triglycerides. And half a grapefruit has only 39 calories.

Sardines

Sardines might just be one of the greatest health bargains of all time. First of all, the small fish are loaded with protein, which helps stabilize blood sugar, makes you feel full and stimulates metabolism. Second, they’re a great source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids, which not only strengthen the cardiovascular system but can also boost mood. (And when you’re in a good mood, you tend to crave less junk food!) Third, sardines are easy to find and cheap. And because they’re low on the food chain, they’re remarkably free of contaminants, such as mercury and heavy metals.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is one of the greatest weight-loss foods ever. The plain, canned variety is loaded with fiber, and half a can is just 50 calories. Pumpkin is also among the easiest foods in the world to prepare. Sweeten it with your favorite low or zero-calorie sweetener, top it with blood-sugar-lowering cinnamon and nutmeg, and throw in some healthy almonds. Filling and delicious!

Grass-fed beef

Meat is a great diet food, as long as it doesn’t contain antibiotics, steroids and hormones. Grass-fed beef reduces the health concerns that go along with eating meat while getting all the terrific benefits. Buffalo burgers are a good alternative if you can’t find grass-fed beef.

High-protein diets are associated with weight loss for a variety of reasons: Protein stimulates metabolism, helps you feel full longer and decreases the desire to overeat. Grass-fed beef is high in omega-3s, giving you multiple health benefits into the bargain.

Chicken breast

Chicken breast is one of the healthiest meats around thanks to its high protein and low saturated fat content. It’s also accessible and easy to cook in a range of types of dishes. One serving contains 23 grams of protein and just 106 calories, and research shows that a diet high in protein can help with both weight loss and weight maintenance. Chicken breast also has vitamin B12 and choline, important for brain health.