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Weight Loss

From the effects of the hormone cortisol to the role of genetics in weight loss, this category is packed with everything that you need to know about losing weight the healthy way.

25 Natural Weight Loss Foods

Feeding the body with nourishing foods is fundamental for weight loss. These 25 best natural weight loss foods are varied in a well-balanced diet.

25 Natural Weight Loss Foods


Feeding the body with nourishing foods is a fundamental factor in the weight loss equation. But when it comes to the best fat-burning foods, a balanced diet surpasses one single food item or nutrient.

This is because a variety of foods offer a variety of nutrients beneficial for overall health beyond weight loss. 

For instance, whole grains offer fiber helpful for improving blood pressure, cholesterol, and digestive health. Chicken is devoid of fiber, though it supplies adequate protein to help build and support muscle.

Find out what makes these best foods for weight loss so special and how they fit into a balanced eating pattern!

25 Natural Weight Loss Foods

A balanced diet filled with nutrient-rich foods are truly the best weight loss friendly foods!

Whole Grains

Whole grains offer high amounts of fiber, ultimately inducing satiety or fullness. Research consistently shows high fiber diets may contribute to a healthier body mass index, also known as BMI.

Whole grains should comprise at least 50 percent of total grain consumption and may include these sources:

1. Oats

Small yet mighty, oats are packed with fiber, plant-based protein, iron, and other beneficial nutrients. They lend great satiety for weight management while supporting heart and digestive health.

Skip out on the heaping spoonful of table sugar with these naturally-sweet and convenient overnight recipes!

2. Popcorn

Without the loaded butter and salt, popcorn is actually an excellent fat loss snack. Popcorn offers ample fiber without packing on calories, as one cup of air popped popcorn is only 31 calories!

Sprinkle with taco seasoning, cinnamon and cocoa and other favorite sprinkle combinations to offer flavor without sodium and fat.

3. Quinoa

The rising popularity of quinoa is much more than a health fad. Quinoa is a powerful grain, as it offers fiber and valuable nutrients. 

Quinoa is also complete protein, a rare find as a plant-based source. Diets rich in plants and protein have the ability to enable weight loss.

Fruits

Fruit is naturally low in fat, sodium, and calories while being ample in phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds). Most commonly sourced nutrients in fruit include dietary fiber, folate, potassium, vitamins A and C.

Some of the best fruits to enjoy include:

4. Apples

An apple a day may keep the weight away! Loaded with fiber and nutrients, research has highlighted the weight loss effects of apples.

Related to their fiber and polyphenol content, the combination may provoke weight loss by supporting a healthy gut. This can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation and potential consequences of weight gain.

5. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries... Low in sugar and high in fiber, all are "berry" good foods to eat to lose weight.

Though primarily conducted in mice, research has shown the intake of raspberries and blueberries can boost metabolism and urge weight loss. Regardless, a high fiber diet can support weight loss.

6. Watermelon

Consuming watermelon supplies not only beneficial nutrients, but as the name suggests, offers water. Keeping the body hydrated can be a key component in the equation of weight loss.

Instead of reaching for a sugary snow cone, enjoy a cup of watermelon for less than 50 calories!

7. Bananas

Though bananas generally contain more calories than other fruits, their consumption can be extremely valuable. This especially serves true for workout nutrition.

Exercise is an integral component in weight loss, and fueling for workouts is just as vital. Pre-workout banana intake energizes the body with glucose while post-workout intake helps replenish potassium to combat cramps and dizziness.

8. Avocados

Avocados are a unique fruit, as they are uncommonly rich fat sources rather than heavy in carbs. Research suggests eating avocados can shrink belly fat along with the reduction of bad cholesterol.

Enjoy on its own, smear on toast, top on salad, or add into omelets for a boost in nutrients and satiety!

9. Grapefruit

Not to be confused with the Grapefruit Diet, but consuming the actual fruit shows to support weight loss. Despite an unclear mechanism, consuming grapefruit may result in increased satiety and a reduced appetite.

It is important, though, to recognize that grapefruit is known to interfere with certain medications. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine any medication interactions.

Vegetables

Vegetables are naturally low in calories and rich in nutrients. These include unique fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. While all veggies can fit into a balanced diet, some should be consumed more than others.

This is because vegetables are broken down into "starchy" and "non-starchy" types. Whereas starchy veggies are rich in carbohydrate, non-starchy varieties are low in carb and calories.

While starchy types, including sweet potatoes, can still be enjoyed, these non-starchy veggies are well-known weight loss-friendly foods:

10. Celery

Celery has been advertised as one of the best dieting foods for years... And for good reasons. Cutting calories is one of the factors that contribute to weight loss success.

Celery is low in calories while high in fiber and fiber, contributing to a full stomach. Eat as a snack with a healthy Greek yogurt dip or chop into salads, soups and casseroles.

11. Spinach

Power-packed with nutrients yet low in calories, spinach definitely lands on the plate for food to eat to lose weight.

And no, spinach salad does not have to be bland! Pair with a lean protein and fresh toppings such as other veggies and nuts.

12. Broccoli

Though broccoli may have landed on your dinner plate as a child, its intake is highly beneficial across all lifespans. A full cup supplies a miniscule load of 50 calories while packing on 4 grams of fiber.

Foods low in calories and high in fiber promotes weight loss by mounting satiety without packing on calories.

13. Cauliflower

While cauliflower has been a veggie platter staple for years, its rise in popularity has certainly transformed numerous foods recently. This includes into pizza crusts, substituted for mashed potatoes, and blended into soups amongst the many.

This cruciferous vegetable offers protein and fiber without packing on carbs and like standard pizza and mashed potatoes can.

14. Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is an alternative way to have your pasta and eat it too! Compared to traditional pastas, spaghetti squash is low in carbs and calories. It also offers high amounts of fiber and vitamins A and C.

These spaghetti squash recipes are not only delicious, but guilt-free!

Animal Meats and Products

Protein is important for weight loss, as the macronutrient stimulates muscle growth and lends great satiety. It is overall useful for supporting a healthy metabolism.

Opting for these lean animal sources delivers adequate protein while minimizing fat and calorie content:

15. Chicken

Chicken is a highly recognized diet food linked to its high protein content without being overloaded in calories.

Skip out on fried and breaded chicken and opt for grilled or shredded chicken for a simple, go-to protein.

16. Lean Beef

While beef does not necessarily have weight loss superpowers, let it be known its intake can contribute to a healthy weight. Individuals commonly believe the intake of red meat results in higher levels of fat and weight gain.

However, leaner cuts (such as flanks or sirloins) of beef are valuable protein sources. Really, beef can fit into a well-balanced, weight loss diet.

17. Tuna or Salmon

Tuna and salmon are excellent sources of protein at a low calorie cost. They are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat known for its heart-healthy benefits.

When choosing canned tuna and fish, look for products without added salt and preserved in water.

18. Eggs

Unlike popular belief, consuming eggs is not a significant contributor to high cholesterol. Egg white is rich in protein and the yolk contains fat soluble vitamins.

Breakfasts rich in protein have shown to be highly valuable to foster weight loss.

Non-Meat Proteins

Whether following a vegetarian lifestyle or simply trying to reduce meat intake, plant-based proteins are valuable meat alternatives. These sources supply fiber and other beneficial plant compounds, too:

19. Beans

Along with bean's notorious supply of fiber, they are also a valuable plant-based protein source. Beans are also relatively low on the glycemic index (GI). A diet moderately high in protein and slightly reduced in GI can sustain weight loss and prevent weight regain.

Despite the type (black, chili, kidney or pinto), beans are conveniently cheap and extremely versatile. Throw in salads, add in casseroles or create a vegetarian chili!

20. Lentils

From the legume family, lentils are also high in protein and fiber. They are similar to beans, yet often offer more color.

Like beans, they can help bulk up dishes or be prepared as a side dish. Plant-based meals and diets also nurtures a healthy weight.

Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products are rich sources of protein and calcium. People watching calorie intake may benefit from choosing these "low-fat" or "fat-free" products:

21. Yogurt

Whether traditional or Greek, research has shown the consumption of yogurt can actually lead to weight loss. Including 120,000 people, a study suggested yogurt leads to more weight loss compared to other foods.

When choosing yogurt, skip out on yogurts loaded with added sugars and lean towards a plain Greek yogurt rich in protein. Naturally add flavor with fresh fruit, cinnamon, peanut butter or favorite nuts.

22. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese earns itself as a best dieting food related to its high protein content. In fact, a half cup of cottage cheese provides almost 15 grams of protein for only 80 calories!

Pair the calcium-rich dairy products with fresh peaches, add to smoothies or pair with salads and other entrees.

Healthy Fats

Fat often has a bad reputation, though it is an integral dietary component. In terms of weight loss, the macronutrient supports a healthy metabolism and controls hunger.

When choosing fats, though, go for healthy fats. Limit saturated and trans fats and include more unsaturated fats, which are abundant in these sources:

23. Olive Oil

Olive oil is recognized for the monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) it supplies. MUFAs are a heart-healthy fat shown to improve cholesterol levels and protect from heart disease.

Olive oil has also shown to improve glycemic control, particularly reducing after-meal blood sugars. The oil is also a great source of vitamins E and K and exhibits antioxidant properties.

24. Almonds

Filled with satiating protein and healthy fat, almonds are a convenient weight loss food to keep on hand. 

In fact, research in the International Journal of Obesity found people who ate an almond-enriched (high monounsaturated fat) formula-based low-calorie diet (LCD) decreased body weight. What's more, they sustained their weight loss compared to those following a complex carbohydrate-enriched LCD.

The omega-3 fatty acid content almonds and other nuts provide also reduces inflammation in the body. They can support good heart health and promote mental health, too.

25. Dark Chocolate

Not only can that chocolate craving be kicked, but can be done so in a healthy manner! Dark chocolate supplies monounsaturated fats, along with a healthy dose of various vitamins and minerals and powerful antioxidants.

To keep sugar in check, use cocoa powder in cooking and look for dark chocolate products with minimal added sugars.

References:

Fujioka K, Greenway F, Sheard J, Ying Y. The Effects of Grapefruit on Weight and Insulin Resistance: Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2006;9(1):49-54. doi:10.1089/jmf.2006.9.49.

Larsen TM, Dalskov S-M, Baak MV, et al. Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;363(22):2102-2113. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1007137.

Written By Christy Zagarella, MS, RDN. Published on September 21, 2016. Updated on March 31, 2020.

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