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Eating nutrient-rich foods, such as lean protein and legumes, can support your overall health and help you manage your weight.

While weight loss is not a magic bullet for health and not everyone needs to pursue it, it may be something you want to work toward to feel your healthiest. Just make sure to talk with a healthcare professional before making drastic changes.

If losing weight is your goal, these 16 foods may help support a healthy weight loss journey.

1. Eggs

Eggs are incredibly nutrient-dense and high in protein and fat, which help you feel full.

In a 2020 study that included 50 people with overweight or obesity, researchers found that eating eggs and buttered toast for breakfast — instead of cereal, milk, and orange juice — increased participants’ feelings of fullness for the next 4 hours.

Similarly, an older study involving 48 adults found that those who ate a breakfast containing egg protein, as well as high fiber foods, reported greater satiety (fullness) than those who ate low fiber cereal and milk.

2. Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and collard greens pack fiber and nutrients that can help keep you satisfied and hydrated.

What’s more, leafy greens contain thylakoids, plant compounds that have been linked with increased fullness and better appetite management.

However, more research is needed on the effects of thylakoids from food sources rather than supplements.

3. Fish

Fish is loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients. That combination keeps you feeling full and can help you manage your weight.

What’s more, fish — and seafood in general — may supply a significant amount of iodine, which is necessary for maintaining thyroid function and metabolism.

4. Cruciferous vegetables

Like other vegetables, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are high in fiber and tend to be incredibly filling.

Cruciferous vegetables are great to include in your meals if you want to lose weight because they are high in fiber and low in calories.

5. Chicken breast and some lean meats

Skinless chicken breast and lean red meats such as tenderloin and flank steak pack protein and iron and have less saturated fat than other cuts of meat. All these qualities make them great options to support weight management.

Just be sure to enjoy red meat in moderation and opt for healthier cooking methods, such as baking, roasting, grilling, or sautéing, when possible to help prevent any negative health effects.

Limiting smoke and wiping away drippings while cooking red meat can also help prevent the formation of harmful compounds that have been linked to cancer.

Potatoes and other root vegetables have several properties that make them wonderful foods for weight loss and optimal health.

On a scale called the Satiety Index, which measures how filling different foods are, boiled white potatoes scored the highest of all the foods tested.

If you allow potatoes to cool after boiling, they will form large amounts of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance that has been linked to weight loss in animal studies.

Out of other cooking methods, baking or roasting potatoes will more positively affect your health and weight than frying.

7. Beans and legumes

Beans and other legumes, such as lentils, black beans, and kidney beans, can be beneficial for weight loss.

These foods tend to be high in protein and fiber, two nutrients that promote fullness. They also may contain some resistant starch.

8. Soups

Between the slurping, smelling, tasting, cooling, and chewing, soup may take you longer to eat than other foods. This may help you eat more mindfully.

A 2007 study notes that incorporating a vegetable-based clear soup before your meal can also be a way to feel fuller and eat less overall, which may promote weight loss. Broth-based or tomato-based soups promote weight management better than creamy or cheesy soups.

Heads up

Trying to “do it right” when it comes to nutrition may feel tempting, but it can backfire.

If you feel preoccupied with food or your weight, experience guilt around food choices, or engage in restrictive diets, consider speaking with a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian.

Disordered eating patterns or eating disorders can affect anyone and are caused by a combination of factors, so it’s important to ask for help.

For eating disorder-specific help, the National Alliance for Eating Disorders offers a daytime helpline staffed by licensed therapists and an online search tool for treatment options.

For general mental health support 24 hours a day, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a helpline at 1-800-662-4357 (or 1-800-487-4889 for TTY).

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Eating cottage cheese is an excellent way to boost your protein intake. It’s also very filling and high in calcium.

There may even be a relationship between calcium and vitamin D intake and body weight, but more research is needed in this area.

Not only are avocados rich in heart-healthy fats, but they also contain a lot of water and fiber, which make them very filling.

Additionally, they help your body absorb important fat-soluble vitamins. They also contain many important nutrients, including potassium, which is important for managing blood pressure and promoting heart health.

It’s worth keeping in mind that avocados are calorie-dense, so being mindful of portions is key when weight loss is your goal.

Nuts are high in heart-healthy unsaturated fat and provide a good source of protein, fiber, and other plant compounds that benefit heart health.

Studies have shown that eating nuts can help improve metabolic health and even promote weight loss.

But as with any high fat food, it’s a good idea to be mindful of portion sizes when eating nuts and to stick to the recommended serving size of 1 ounce.

Recent studies indicate that a diet rich in whole grains can help support healthy weight loss to a greater degree than refined grains.

That’s because they’re loaded with fiber and contain a decent amount of protein. Notable examples include oats, brown rice, and quinoa.

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that makes hot peppers like chili peppers spicy.

Some research shows that capsaicin can improve how fast your body metabolizes fat and increase your sensation of fullness. Together, these factors may support your healthy weight loss journey.

Still, more research is needed to learn about this effect, especially regarding capsaicin from food sources.

Most fruits have properties that make them great for helping you reach or maintain a moderate weight.

Even though fruits contain natural sugar, they’re low in calories and loaded with micronutrients. Plus, their fiber content helps prevent sugar from being released too quickly into your bloodstream.

Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to consume a variety of fruits of different colors, particularly those that are in season, such as strawberries, peaches, blueberries, apples, or grapes.

Chia seeds are highly nutritious and rich in fiber, which can promote feelings of fullness.

In one small 2017 study involving 24 adults, those who ate either 0.25 ounces (7 grams) or 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of chia seeds with yogurt as a midmorning snack had increased feelings of fullness and ate less at lunch.

What’s more, chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which may support weight management.

Greek yogurt is great for weight management, as it contains a good amount of protein per serving.

What’s more, certain types of yogurt contain beneficial live and active probiotic bacteria cultures that can help improve your gut function.

Consider choosing full fat yogurt. While the evidence is still mixed, some studies show that full fat dairy is associated with a reduced chance of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes over time.

In addition, full fat dairy can help you feel fuller longer, though someone who is adding nuts and seeds to their yogurt might not necessarily benefit from a full fat yogurt because the nuts and seeds add plenty of healthy fats. Also, doubling up may only increase the number of calories being consumed.

What foods help weight loss?

Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber but low in calories, so eating them in place of higher calorie snacks may help with weight loss. Losing about 1–2 pounds per week is generally considered the quickest healthy weight loss rate.

What foods burn more belly fat?

A 2022 study involving 260 men and 200 women with type 2 diabetes suggests that following a high fiber diet may support decreased body fat. Examples include chia seeds, whole grains, cruciferous vegetables, and legumes.

But foods on their own cannot influence your body’s fat-burning process. The only way you can encourage your body to burn fat is by eating fewer calories than it burns.

What food burns the most weight?

High protein foods may be especially helpful for weight loss. Lean meat, fish, legumes, and dairy products are great sources of protein. But to lose weight, you also need to make sure you’re eating fewer calories than your body burns.

Many foods are delicious, nutritious, and supportive of your goals to reach or maintain a moderate weight. These are mainly whole foods like fish, lean meats, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Eating these nutritious foods in moderation and staying physically active can support paving a path that leads to a health-promoting lifestyle.