If you’re trying to drop a few pounds—maybe you’ve put on a little belly fat lately that you’d like to take off for health reasons—you likely already know the satisfying powers of protein and the filling properties of fiber. That’s why you’re eating all that grilled chicken and seared tuna. It’s why you’ve been steaming up crunchy broccolini and roasting all that cauliflower. That’s good stuff.
But maybe you’ve even heard “experts” telling you that you should stick to those lean proteins and vegetables and you should avoid fruit, because it contains sugar.
Don’t listen to those people.
Fruit is great for weight loss. In fact “most have a high water content which also helps with satiety and fullness,” says Maggie Michalczyk, M.S., R.D. Sweet-tasting fruits are also great to swap in for higher-calorie desserts when you’re looking to lose weight, too.
While fruit contains sugar, it’s not the added kind that can turn a refined, manufactured food into a health nightmare. Fruit’s naturally occurring sugar is also paired with fiber, which helps modulate your blood sugar response to that sugar. Fruit is also loaded with nutrients your body needs. Fruit’s also not all that easy to overdose on, like products with added sugar are (let’s face it, when’s the last time you scarfed down a whole bowl of pears). And if you’re worried about calories, compare a handful of fruit slices to a handful of store-bought refined snacks or desserts. Doesn’t even come close.
The point is, if you’re aiming to lose weight and belly fat, you can and should eat fruit as part of a healthy weight loss routine. We chose the 11 fruits that are the highest in nutrient density and are best for weight loss.
Pineapple is bursting with many vitamins and minerals and is a great fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. “Snack on pineapple for more vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidant power,” she says. Add to smoothies or make a pineapple granita for a cold treat.
“Watermelon is 92 percent water. Its water helps to fill you up, plus you’re getting the antioxidant lycopene, which can be protective of prostate cancer in men,” she says. Plus, watermelon is refreshing during the warmer months and goes well in pretty much any dish. Make a simple salad with mint and feta, topped with a drizzle of olive oil.
“You often hear about the grapefruit diet as a means to lose weight, but is it effective? While grapefruit won’t suddenly melt fat away, the water content of grapefruit can help you to feel fuller,” she says. Eat half a grapefruit for breakfast with a bit of honey and Greek yogurt.
One pear contains six grams of fiber, making pears a great fruit to help keep you full, help you to eat less, and hopefully lead to weight loss, she says. “Pears are also a good source of potassium, an important mineral for active muscles,” she explains, so enjoy it after a tough workout in a salad or with some nut butter.
Technically a fruit, avocados are great for weight loss because they contains healthy fat. That fat can help keep you fuller for longer. “While it’s not a low-calorie fruit, its fat content, along with healthy monounsaturated fat, is great for your heart and avocado contains vitamin E and potassium,” she says. Try some a post-workout smoothie.
“Blueberries are a good source of fiber, helping with fullness and they make for a great snack, perfect for adding to oatmeal or a smoothies, and are easy to take on-the-go,” she says. Plus, they have antioxidants to improve your heart health and protect your skin.
These berries are a great source of fiber. They contain eight grams of fiber per cup, which will help to keep you full, especially if you pair them with a source of protein like nuts, or nut butter, she says.
“Low in calories, and high in nutrients, strawberries are a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to lose weight because they will help to satisfy your sweet tooth with their natural sweetness,” she says.
Oranges are a low-calorie fruit that contain lots of vitamin. “They’re hydrating, tart, and make for a good snack paired with a source of protein that will fill you up,” she says. Pair them with chicken in a salad.
“These are a good fruit for weight loss because of the fiber they contain, but be sure not to skip the skin. Their skin is where most of their fiber is found,” she says. Pairing an apple with hard-boiled eggs or a meat stick makes for a good snack that contains protein and fiber that will fill you up and prevent you from snacking on unhealthy things as you’re trying to lose weight.
“Mangoes are another good low-calorie fruit to add to your diet when trying to lose weight since they contain fiber, vitamin C, and folate,” she says. Add one to a post-workout smoothie or have as a snack with a source of protein for a satiating and nutrient-dense snack.
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