Whether you’re trying to lose a significant amount of weight or the last 10 pounds, dropping fat is incredibly difficult. Low-calorie diets are unreasonable and you’re hungry all the time. That’s why nutritionists urge dieters to eat quality, nutrient-dense foods—the benefits of which equal to or outweight their caloric impact.
Weight loss comes down to simple math. You have to eat fewer calories than you burn.
“Certain foods can help you shed body weight,” says Heather Mangieri, RD, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “because they help you feel full longer and help curb cravings.”
This summer veggie has a higher concentration of water than any other food—in fact, 96.7% of the fruit is made up of water. It’s also incredibly easy to integrate into your meals. Toss some sliced cucumber on salad, dip some sticks in hummus for a snack, or try whipping up refreshing cucumber soup!
A powerhouse for heart health, grapefruit contains vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, along with pectin, a soluble fiber that may be a strong ally against atherosclerosis. Pink and red varieties also have vitamin A and lycopene, a phytochemical that protects arterial walls from oxidative damage. To get the juiciest specimens, select fruits heavy for their size and make sure to try them in this refreshing salad.
Tender and flavorful, this leafy green is rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin K. It also contains disease-fighting antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C, as well as the phytochemical lutein, which protects eyes against age-related macular degeneration. Use as a substitute for lettuce in salad, lightly sauté with shredded carrot, sliced mushrooms, and garlic for a savory omelet filling, or try this simple Seasoned Spinach recipe for a quick and nutritious side dish.
Oily fish like salmon is incredibly healthy.
It is also very satisfying, keeping you full for many hours with relatively few calories.
Salmon is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats and also contains all sorts of important nutrients.
Fish, and seafood in general, supplies a significant amount of iodine.
This nutrient is necessary for proper function of the thyroid, which is important to keep the metabolism running optimally.
Studies show that a huge number of people in the world aren’t getting all the iodine they need.
Salmon is also loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, which is known to play a major role in obesity and metabolic disease.
Mackerel, trout, sardines, herring and other types of oily fish are also excellent.
Avocados are a unique type of fruit.
Whereas most fruit is high in carbs, avocados are loaded with healthy fats.
They are particularly high in monounsaturated oleic acid, the same type of fat found in olive oil.
Despite being mostly fat, they also contain a lot of water, so they aren’t as energy dense as you may think.
Avocados are perfect as additions to salad, because studies show that the fats in them can increase the nutrient uptake from the vegetables 2.6 to 15-fold.
They also contain many important nutrients, including fiber and potassium.
Not all fats are created equal.
Coconut oil is high in fatty acids of a medium length, called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).
These fatty acids have been shown to boost satiety compared to other fats, as well as increase the amount of calories burned.
There are also two studies, one in women and the other in men, showing that coconut oil led to reduced amounts of belly fat.
Of course… coconut oil still contains calories, so adding it on top of what you’re already eating is a bad idea.
So this is not about adding coconut oil to your diet, it is about replacing some of your other cooking fats with coconut oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is also worth mentioning here, because it is probably the healthiest fat on the planet.
There’s a reason apples are number one on the list! Probably one of the most versatile fall foods around, nutrient- and fiber-rich apples can be used in everything from beverages to main courses to desserts. Apples are the perfect addition to your weight-loss plan, says Karen Langston, a certified nutritionist and board member of The National Association of Nutritional Professionals. Low-cal, full of vitamins and minerals, and full of fiber, apples help maintain your blood-sugar level, staving off cravings for high calorie no-no foods. Plus, the low-sodium content in apples can help prevent excess water weight and retention, Langston says. Try one of our five favorite apple recipes this fall.
Pears are high in fiber, which can help regulate your digestive system, and their pectin promotes fullness, Inge says. At only about 100 calories per pear, this juicy, sweet fruit is great as a stand-alone snack, with a meal, or pureed into dessert.
Soups and Stews
As the weather outside turns crisp, soups and stews make hearty fall appetizers or main dishes. Soups are a great go-to food when trying to lose weight, Mendez says. “Including complex carbohydrates such as beans or rice, vegetables in soups, combined with the broth, allows the carbohydrates to absorb more fluid in the gut and expand, further contributing to satiety,” Mendez says. And several studies have shown eating broth-based or vegetable soup before a main course can help you consume fewer calories overall. Just be sure to keep them low calorie by avoiding cream bases or too many noodle ingredients.