Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You
Trying to shed pounds? Help is on the way. These six high-fiber foods help keep you feeling full and satisfied, so you're less likely to overeat and gain weight. Here's the science behind them, plus simple ways to add them to your meals.
Pictured Recipe: Mango-Almond Smoothie Bowl
For most of us, it's a sad fact of life: Gaining weight is easy, losing weight is hard. Those innocent morning lattes, take-out dinners and late-night snacks can pack on the pounds in nothing flat. Before you know it, you're wondering where exactly those love handles came from, anyway.
But here's another fact: Eating high-fiber foods help you feel full longer, so you eat less and potentially shed pounds. In a 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that simply getting 30 grams of fiber a day can help you lose weight just as well as other, more complex diets.
So give it a try. Here are six high-fiber foods plus some easy ways to use them. See how they can help you budge the bathroom scale.
One caution: Most Americans don't get enough fiber. If you're ramping up your fiber intake, take it slow so your body has time to adjust.
1. Whole-Wheat Pasta
Pictured Recipe: One-Pot Greek Pasta
With more than 6 grams per 1-cup serving, whole-wheat pasta is higher in fiber than many other whole grains. Besides helping you stay full, that whole-grain fiber may have more weight-loss benefits: a 2017 study from Tufts University suggests that replacing refined grains with whole grains may boost metabolism and help you absorb fewer calories.
Sneak it in: Whole-wheat pasta has a heartier flavor than regular. If you're not ready to make a complete switch, try mixing whole-wheat pasta with white. Add your favorite sauce and you'll soon be hooked.
More best bets: Oat bran, barley, quinoa.
Pictured Recipe: Roasted Root Veggies & Greens over Spiced Lentils
This versatile (and cheap!) little legume packs a punch with fiber (15.6 grams per 1-cup serving), plus protein, iron and other nutrients. In a recent review of more than 20 clinical trials, researchers found that simply eating a daily serving of lentils or other legumes helped people lose just over half a pound in six weeks-without cutting back on other foods.
Sneak them in: Try adding lentils to your favorite soups and stews. They're great in veggie burgers, too.
More best bets: Split peas, black beans, chickpeas.
Related: Healthy Lentil Recipes
Pictured Recipe: Artichokes with Lemon & Dill
Supplements made from artichoke extract have recently gotten some weight-loss buzz, but beware-there's no real evidence they work. Instead, skip the supplements and make friends with the real thing. Low in calories and high in fiber (10 grams per 1-cup serving)-plus iron, vitamin C and other nutrients-artichokes are a great choice for healthy weight loss.
Sneak them in: Jazz up a spinach dip or your favorite spaghetti sauce with chopped cooked artichokes. Use frozen instead of canned to save on sodium.
More best bets: Broccoli, cabbage, avocados.
Related: How to Cook Fresh Artichokes
Pictured Recipe: Raspberry, Avocado & Mango Salad
As if you needed another reason to love raspberries, here's one more: One cup delivers 8 grams of fiber-more than any other berry. They also have a whopping 54 percent of your daily vitamin C.
Sneak them in: Use fresh raspberries to garnish a fruity drink or top your morning yogurt or cereal. Or do what we do and enjoy them all by themselves.
More best bets: Blackberries, pears, mangoes.
5. Chia Seeds
Pictured Recipe: Peanut Butter & Chia Berry Jam English Muffin
With 10 grams of fiber per 1-ounce serving (about 2 tablespoons), chia seeds are tiny but mighty. Just one serving delivers 40 percent of your total daily recommended fiber. They also pack protein, calcium, magnesium and other minerals-and all for under 150 calories.
Sneak them in: Add chia seeds to pancakes, waffles or oatmeal to give your breakfast a healthy fiber boost.
More best bets: Flaxseed and sunflower seeds.
Pictured Recipe: Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars
Talk about a nutrient powerhouse. One handful of almonds (about 23 almonds) has more than 3 grams of fiber, plus protein, calcium and iron. In a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that simply swapping a daily high-carb snack for 1.5 ounces of almonds can help reduce belly fat.
Sneak them in: Sprinkle slivered almonds over fresh fruit, yogurt or a green salad for extra crunch. Just don't go nuts with them-like all nuts, almonds are high in calories.
More best bets: Pistachios, pecans, peanuts.