8 Best Foods to Eat for Weight Loss
While no one food is a magic bullet for weight loss, there are certain foods that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals. Most of the foods included as part of a weight-loss diet have a few things in common: They're high in fiber—which helps keep you feeling fuller longer—and have a low energy density—meaning that you can eat a decent-sized portion without overdoing it on calories. Include the following weight-loss foods as part of a healthy overall diet, and you may find it easier to achieve your weight-loss goals.
Pictured Recipe: Avocado Chicken Salad
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemicals. A 2021 study in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating an avocado a day can help decrease abdominal fat. While avocados are higher in calories than other fruits and vegetables, their satisfying fat and fiber combo may help you lose weight. Add some to your salad, sandwich, omelet, taco—even smoothies—for a burst of creaminess and flavor.
Pictured Recipe: Muffin-Tin Quiches with Smoked Cheddar & Potato
Eggs are rich in high-quality protein, fats and essential nutrients, like vitamin D and choline. It's the protein, and the time of day we tend to eat them, that especially makes them a powerhouse for weight loss. Eating a high-protein breakfast promotes weight loss, because protein increases satiety while regulating hunger and appetite hormones, helping fend off your hunger until lunchtime. A 2020 study in The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that eating eggs for breakfast left people feeling more satisfied than those who had cereal—which helped them eat less at the next meal.
Pictured Recipe: Instant Pot Black Beans
All beans are high in fiber, which is your friend when you're trying to lose weight because it helps you feel fuller longer, thus controlling hunger. In a 2022 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers linked greater weight loss to those who increased their bean consumption. Eating beans and legumes has also been linked with various other health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Beans are fairly low in calories and deliver protein as well. Try them in homemade veggie burgers, soups and salads.
Pictured Recipe: Raspberry Yogurt Cereal Bowl
Yogurt is protein-packed and full of probiotics, which are good for gut health and may help your weight-loss efforts. Your gut health can impact your weight, and eating more fiber and probiotics helps keep your gut bacteria happy, which can be good for your metabolism. Go Greek for more protein. Or look for yogurt fortified with whey protein and prebiotic fibers.
In a 2018 study in Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, researchers found that participants who ate two servings a day of fortified yogurt over 10 weeks had a significant reduction in body fat mass, body fat percentage and waist circumference compared to the group who had two servings a day of low-fat plain yogurt. The group who ate the fortified yogurt also maintained more of their muscle mass (muscle is your calorie-burning friend). Just keep an eye on added sugars in flavored yogurts, which only add calories. Instead, use fresh fruit to sweeten plain yogurt.
Pictured Recipe: Garlic Roasted Salmon & Brussels Sprouts
Salmon is a rich source of high-quality protein and provides plenty of "good" omega-3 fatty acids. A 2019 review in Nutrition Research Reviews suggests that people who eat both lean and fatty fish—like salmon—tend to naturally reduce their overall calorie intake, which helps with weight loss and weight management. Eating salmon can be a delicious and versatile way to get your recommended two weekly servings of heart-healthy fish, per the FDA.
Pictured Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad
Fruit gets a bad rap sometimes because of its naturally occurring sugar. But eating whole fruit (as opposed to fruit juice) can help you lose weight, especially when you swap in fresh fruit for processed foods or other unhealthy snacks. You'll get a naturally sweet treat, plus reap the benefits of fiber and antioxidants. A 2019 review in Frontiers in Nutrition shows that eating whole fruit does not tend to contribute to weight gain and that it may help prevent gaining excess body fat.
Pictured Recipe: Lemon-Parm Popcorn
As long as this popular crunchy treat isn't doused in movie-theater butter, it makes an excellent weight-loss snack. Not only is popcorn high in fiber, it even delivers some protein. A 1-ounce serving of air-popped corn (about 3½ cups) has 4 grams of fiber, almost 4 grams of protein and clocks in at 110 calories, per the USDA. This combination makes it a snack with staying power.
Pictured Recipe: Mango-Almond Smoothie Bowl
Almonds are an excellent source of fiber, and they're high in protein. Eating foods with the one-two punch of fiber and protein can help you feel fuller longer—which makes it less tempting to reach for a less healthy snack between meals.
A 2021 review in Nutrients suggests that eating almonds is associated with lower body fat mass, lower waist circumference and less belly fat (among a host of other health benefits).
Rich in vitamin E and a good source of heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, almonds are a great choice to sprinkle over a salad or soup. You can also use them in pesto in place of walnuts or pine nuts, top your morning granola with them, or simply keep a small bag in your purse as an emergency snack.