Healthy Eating

The Best Weight-Loss-Friendly Foods, According to a Dietitian

These seven foods aren’t just healthy, they are seriously delicious.

By: Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

Finding weight loss friendly foods to fit into your lifestyle is simple with a little know-how. While it may sound simple to pick the right foods to support a healthy weight, thanks to so much conflicting information out there, navigating this tricky topic can be a challenge. 

Many of the best foods for weight loss get ignored for the wrong reasons. Take fruit, for example. Many people fear fruit because of sugar, however, fruits provide dietary fiber and important antioxidants. 

And if you think you need to avoid dietary fat altogether to support weight loss, think again. Including healthy fat in your diet — think unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats and trans fats — can help your body feel more satisfied, and in turn, help you eat less in the long run. 

As a Registered Dietitian, I have seen countless amount of people experience success in achieving their weight loss goals simply by including certain foods into their lifestyle. 

RELATED: 3 Secrets For Healthy Fat Portion Control 

The Role of Healthy Eating in Weight Loss 

Supporting a healthy weight involves a few factors. Yes, there are some things at play that can affect your weight that you don’t have any control over (thank you, genetics!), but factors like dietary choices and regular exercise can have a profound impact on seeing the results you want to see. 

Eating the right foods in appropriate quantities is one of the most important things people can do when trying to lose weight. And focusing on a variety of nutrient-rich foods should be the basis of an overall healthy diet. 

Certain foods will offer specific benefits on your weight loss journey, such as vitamin and mineral-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can help support a healthy metabolism. Healthy carbohydrates will give your body energy to help you engage in physical activity, and healthy fats, protein, and fiber will help you feel satisfied for a longer period of time, which may help you eat less food in the long run.

RELATED: These Are The Healthiest Types of Carbs According to an Expert 

7 Best Foods For Weight Loss 

Supporting your weight loss journey doesn’t have to mean giving up a ton of your favorite foods and feeling hungry all day, every day. Adding certain foods to your lifestyle can help you reach your goal weight in a delicious way that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived. 

Here are seven of the best “dietitian-approved” foods for weight loss, and each can easily be included in most diets and lifestyles.

#1 In-Shell Pistachios

Pistachios are loaded with weight loss-supporting nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, and protein. And choosing in-shell pistachios can offer an even bigger weight-loss benefit. Why? The shells left over after eating the pistachios can act as a visual cue of how much was consumed, preventing overeating in the long run. And in one study evaluating people who ate in-shell pistachios vs. pre-shelled nuts, calorie intake was lower for those who had to take time cracking the shells.

#2 Oatmeal

Starting your day with oatmeal can start your morning on the right foot health-wise. Since data has shown that oatmeal suppresses appetite, increases satiety, and reduces energy intake compared to eating other breakfast foods, this nutrient-rich and simple choice can give you some major bang for your buck. Just make sure to watch your toppings, as adding items like brown sugar and cream can add some major calories. 

#3 Pulses

Beans, split peas, and chickpeas, AKA pulses, are plant-based sources of protein that have been clinically proven to help people lose weight, even when their overall calorie intake is not reduced. Swapping out heavier sources of protein with pulses can be one simple way to support your weight loss goal. 

#4 Avocado

A beloved topping on toast and an addition to salads, avocados can help support weight loss in an oh-so-satisfying way. The unique combo of healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients makes this fruit a surprising choice for an overall healthy diet. 

The obvious way to enjoy avocado is on a slice of whole-grain toast, but there are also some unconventional ways to enjoy these green gems. Toss slices into a smoothie or use it as an ingredient for a yummy and rich pudding for a twist on some classics. 

#5 Walnuts

Can a food literally activate a part in the brain that promotes satisfaction? In the case of walnuts, it sure can! According to a study, when people eat walnuts and then are shown typically satisfying foods, their brain showed more satisfaction and less “craving” vs. people who did not eat walnuts. 

Whether you are enjoying a handful of walnuts at snacktime, sprinkling them onto your salad, or adding them to your morning oatmeal, including walnuts into your daily life can be a great move. 

#6 Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are a weight loss dream come true. Low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, including kale, spinach, lettuce, and basically any variety will do your body good. 

Opt for a side salad at dinnertime or include a handful of greens into your smoothie for a weight loss supporting boost.

#7 Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are an important addition to a balanced eating plan. Their high protein content is essential for building and repairing muscles, especially after exercise, which can enhance metabolic rate and increase calorie burning. Moreover, lean proteins have a high thermic effect, meaning the body uses more energy to digest them compared to fats and carbohydrates, thus burning more calories during digestion. Additionally, proteins are known for their satiating properties; they help you feel fuller for longer periods, reducing the likelihood of overeating or snacking on high-calorie foods. This combination of muscle support, increased calorie burning, and satiety makes lean proteins like chicken, fish, beans, and tofu, an important addition to a healthy diet.

Healthy Eating As a Lifestyle Not a Diet 

Healthy eating to support weight loss should be viewed as a lifestyle instead of a diet. By choosing to focus on foods that you should eat instead of on foods you should cut out of your diet, you will feel less deprived and will see the results you want. Along with exercising, eating nourishing foods can be a step to an overall healthy lifestyle that is sustainable and simple to follow.