The 50 Best Weight Loss Foods of All Time
Eat more superfoods
Make sure that you include plenty of superfoods in your diet, such as avocado, beans, and broccoli, if you want to lose weight or maintain your current weight. Watch this video for the complete list of 10 superfoods to eat for weight loss.
Almonds contain fewer calories than most other varieties of nuts (just 163 calories for 23 almonds), and they also contain plenty of fiber and vitamin E. According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, people who added a daily serving of almonds to a low-calorie diet lost more weight than those who followed the same diet but ate a carb-heavy snack like crackers instead.
To reap the benefits, Sass recommends using almonds to crust a lean protein such as salmon or sprinkling them onto salads and cooked veggies. "You can also whip them into smoothies or use nut butter as the base for a savory sauce seasoned with garlic and ginger," she says.
Apples contain pectin, which naturally slows digestion and encourages feelings of fullness. Studies show that a whole apple eaten with your meal (as opposed to apple juice or applesauce) acts as a natural appetite suppressant, helping you consume fewer overall calories without feeling deprived. Sass likes using shredded apple in slaws and stir-fry, or mixing them into burger patties to add moisture.
Apples are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Just be sure not to skip the skin, which contains much of the fruit's nutritional benefits.
Spinach artichoke dip is one of those comfort food staples we just can’t resist. Whether hanging out with friends at the bar or settling in to watch a game at home, the cheesy spread is pretty much always irresistible.
Here are a few creative ways you can use the superfood.
Although they're best known for containing potassium, bananas are also a great source of resistant starch, a type of starch that's important for weight loss. Your body digests resistant starch slowly—helping you feel full for longer—while simultaneously encouraging your liver to switch to fat-burning mode. No need to wait for a banana to become completely ripe. Bananas actually contain more of this calorie-torching ingredient when they're still a little green.
Even more reasons to add a bunch to your shopping cart: Bananas can help regulate blood pressure, ease digestive problems, and replenish nutrients after a workout.
Black beans are a member of the pulse family, a food group that's been shown to help burn calories, reduce belly fat, and curb appetite. Just one cup of black beans packs 15 grams of protein without the saturated fat you often find in other high-protein sources, such as red meat.
"Black beans work great in both savory and sweet dishes," says Sass. "You've probably had black bean soup, but you can also make black bean brownies or whip them into puddings and smoothies."
Sweet tooth? These mini pies get their sweetness from fruit and a touch of honey.
A great source of calcium and important cancer-fighting compounds, broccoli also has loads of filling fiber and will set you back only 30 calories per serving. If eating this cruciferous veggie makes you bloat, try steaming it first, which makes it easier to digest while still preserving the cancer-fighting ingredients that could be lost when you boil or cook it in the microwave.
This healthy grain is a great source of phytonutrients, which have been linked to decreased risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Brown rice is also packed with fiber, contains 1.7 grams of fat-burning resistant starch, and is a low-energy-density food (in other words, it's filling but still low in calories).
This side dish is the perfect addition to cold-weather meals as well as summer barbecues, and it's easy to whip up in a hurry. Watch this video for the instructions on how to make cabbage slaw with poppy seed dressing.
Because carrots have high water and fiber content, they can increase feelings of fullness as you eat. To boost their calorie-burning potential, try roasting them. In one University of Arkansas study, roasted carrots contained three times as many antioxidants as raw ones.
Also good: The beta-carotene in carrots can help maintain a strong immune system and good eyesight.
RELATED: 5 Foods for Healthy Eyes
Cauliflower is an especially low-calorie vegetable, with just 25 calories per cup. It's also packed with filling fiber and good-for-you nutrients like potassium and vitamins C, K, and B6.
Like its cruciferous cousin broccoli, raw cauliflower can cause bloating, but steaming can make it easier to digest. Try steaming then blending the veggie to give it a mashed potato-like texture, pureeing it into soup, or making cauliflower "rice" by pulsing florets in a food processor before heating them in a wok.
Our chia pudding recipe calls for antioxidant-rich matcha powder and the ultra-healthy spice ginger to create a nutritious breakfast or treat with a kick.
The effect of chili peppers on your metabolism is real, says Sass. They contain a chemical compound called capsaicin that can increase your body's ability to burn fat and are also a good source of vitamin C.
"You can add chili peppers to omelets or egg salad, sprinkle them into a stir-fry, or mix them into salad dressing, tahini, or guacamole," says Sass. "You might even stir a little chili pepper into melted dark chocolate to drizzle over fruit."
Coconut oil is having a moment right now: it can be used as a butter or olive oil substitute in everything from baked goods to salad dressing. Sass is a fan of the heart-healthy oil whipped into smoothies, and you can also use it to sauté veggies, sear fish, or as an olive oil replacement in soups and stews. (It's also a must-add to your beauty routine, and makes a wonderful natural moisturizer for skin and hair.)
Luckily, trendy coconut oil is also good for your waistline—as long as you use the virgin variety, which hasn't been processed and retains its natural antioxidants. Because it's a satisfying source of healthy fats, coconut oil fills you up quickly and helps you consume fewer overall calories. It also contains medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily digestible and quickly converted into energy.
Coffee can do way more than just wake you up in the morning. In addition to its health benefits, it can reduce inflammation and even kick up your metabolism short-term.
A single serving of the leafy green contains just 46 calories and also provides calcium plus your daily recommended doses of vitamins A and K. Because collard greens are also a great source of fiber (7.6 grams per cup), they can help keep you full for longer.
Being healthy and reaching your goal weight (or maintaining your current weight) doesn't have to mean skimping on the chocolate, and here are 3 cake recipes that prove it.
At roughly 80 calories each, eggs can be a part of a healthy weight loss plan. But just how healthy are eggs? We’ll explain why the breakfast staple has caused so much controversy.
Craving something sweet? Instead of fattening cookies or cake, reach for fresh figs. Thanks to their dense consistency and high amount of filling fiber, they can slow the release of sugar into your blood. Pair with leafy greens dressed with lemony vinaigrette, chickpeas, and pistachios to make a satisfying fruit salad, or slice and slather with nut butter for a filling, nutrient-rich snack.
Swap out your usual beef patties for a meatless, lower-calorie alternative your whole family will enjoy.
Grapefruit contains a compound that can lower the fat-storage hormone insulin, which some studies have suggested can lead to weight loss. Because grapefruits are 90% water, they fill you up, and they also act as a natural appetite suppressant.
Bonus: Research suggests that this superfruit can also help protect your heart and maintain firm, healthy skin.
Each of these savory dips use Greek yogurt as a base, so they're loaded with protein and calcium. If you avoid dairy, look for plant-based Greek yogurt. It provides the same probiotic benefits as its dairy-based counterpart, and some brands pack as much as 11 g of protein per serving.
Green tea is filled with powerful antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and increase energy. For an extra boost, squeeze a slice of lemon or orange into your tea before drinking it. Research from Purdue University found that citrus juice gives green tea's antioxidants staying power, so they're digested slowly and benefit your body for longer.
Like chickpeas, kidney beans (also known as red beans) are a rich source of resistant starch and contain more than 5 grams of satisfying fiber per serving. Because they're packed with omega-3s and calcium, the legume is also good for your heart.
Enjoy them in a big bowl of veggie chili, or make a chilled bean salad with chopped spinach, onions, peppers, tomato, and chopped avocado.
RELATED: 9 Reasons You Should Eat More Beans
Kimchi is a spicy Korean condiment that's made with fermented cabbage and is a great source of vitamins A, B, and C. Because it's fermented (like sauerkraut), kimchi contains tons of those good probiotics that aid digestion.
Look for kimchi in the refrigerated section at your grocery store and use it to flavor Korean-inspired dishes like dumplings or spicy beef stew.
To feel full without adding a lot of saturated fat, opt for lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, lentils, beans, and chickpeas. From Asian to southwestern, try our four favorite chicken recipes.
A squeeze of lemon adds instant freshness to everything from drinks to salads to fish without additional calories, making it an ideal way to flavor food if you're watching your weight. Plus, the pectin fiber in lemons can help fill you up and fight off hunger cravings.
"Add a slice of lemon to a glass of water, hot or iced tea, or homemade vinaigrette," says Sass. "Or steam veggies in lemon water to give them flavor."
There's a reason (well actually, many reasons) why lentils are considered one of the world's healthiest foods. With 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving, this legume—another member of the pulse family—will keep you feeling full for hours in between meals. They're a great source of resistant starch, too, with 3.4 grams in a half-cup serving.
Lentils also boast twice as much iron as other legumes and are especially good sources of vitamin B and folate. One variety, called Beluga black lentils, even contain a pigment that acts like an antioxidant, helping to fight heart disease, cancer, and signs of aging.
Mustard is extremely low in calories (there are a mere 3 in a small packet) as well as saturated fat and contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
If you’ve ever wondered what Top Chef judge Padma Lakshmi cooks at home, look no further. Padma paid a visit to Health to share her quick and easy recipe for Yogurt Rice, a simple-yet-satisfying savory dish that Padma says she and her daughter Krishna make together in their kitchen at home.
Oatmeal is low in calories and contains filling fiber. This morning bowl is packed with healthy ingredients so you'll have plenty of energy to tackle your day.
Sweet and satisfying, oranges come in at about 80 calories each and have no fat.
This vitamin-packed juice contains oranges, grapefruit, and kiwis. It has almost twice your recommended daily intake of vitamin C so it will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape.
Because peanut butter is a great source of healthy fat, along with some bonus plant protein, it can curb hunger and keep you feeling full long after you're finished eating.
But peanut butter isn't a great source of protein. It has some, but it provides much. much more fat than protein.
Love peanut butter cups? Hate the calories? Here are protein-packed peanut desserts that keep your taste buds and your waistline happy!
Far from a boring bowl of plain oats, this recipe calls for flavorful ingredients that are sure to lure you out of bed, like apple cider, cinnamon, and vanilla extract for a subtly sweet taste.
Get more fiber-rich barley in your life—it fills you up and has a positive effect on gut health. For those who need to avoid gluten, just be aware that this grain is not gluten-free. Opt for quinoa or brown rice if you need a gluten-free alternative.
Compared to other nut varieties, pine nuts tend to be on the pricier side, but adding them to your shopping cart could be a good investment for your health. Research suggests that the fatty acids in these little nuts could increase satiety hormones, helping you feel full. They're also packed with vitamin B1 and manganese, a mineral that helps your body metabolize carbohydrates and protein.
Sprinkle them on salad, sauté with Brussels sprouts, or use them as an unexpected topping on soups, roasted butternut or spaghetti squash, or savory oats.
Pistachios may be small, but these green-hued nuts contain as much potassium as a banana and are packed with lutein, an antioxidant that benefits your eyes and skin. They also have fewer calories than any other nut variety.
RELATED: The Healthiest Nuts for Your Body
Plantains are a slightly bigger, starchier, and less sweet member of the banana family. Like their cousin, plantains are a great source of resistant starch, containing nearly 3 grams in a half-cup when cooked.
Haven't prepared plantains before? It couldn't be easier: Sauté them in olive oil until they're slightly crispy to make plantain ‘chips' or bake with seasonings like lime juice and honey.
RELATED: Honey-Lime Plantains
Because they're so carb-heavy, potatoes aren't often considered a health food—but you shouldn't pass on spuds. Potatoes are a great source of resistant starch, so eating them in moderation can help your body burn fat. They'll also keep you full: on the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition's satiety index, potatoes ranked number one.
RELATED: How Healthy Are Potatoes?
With the notable exception of movie popcorn—which can contain upwards of 1,000 calories, thanks to all the butter drizzled on top—popcorn is a healthy, filling snack that's loaded with fiber and protein.
"In addition to all of the benefits of being a member of the whole grain family, popcorn is light and airy, so you can eat a large portion," says Sass. "About three cups of popped popcorn—the size of three tennis balls—has the same amount of calories as one small handful of chips or crackers."
Looking for a dessert recipe that everyone in your family can enjoy—even family members trying to cut back on their cholesterol? Look no further.
Quinoa is rich in fiber and protein. Check out these three recipes for mouth-watering quinoa dishes.
Feel like mixing it up? Try coating your French toast in shredded coconut, then add some homemade raspberry syrup and voila—an exotic twist on a breakfast classic! Watch the video for the recipe and the step-by-step demonstration. Your friends—and your taste buds—will thank you.
Good news, wine drinkers. Thanks to resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grape skin, drinking red wine in moderation can be part of a healthy diet. Some studies suggest that people who drink wine have smaller waists and less abdominal fat than those who drink mainly liquor. And having one glass of red wine can increase your body's calorie burn for up to 90 minutes afterwards. The antioxidants in wine might even help your body prevent cancer and improve heart health. Just be sure to stick to no more than a glass a day—the calories can add up fast.
These small bites will make great hors d'oeuvres at your next party.