12 Best Foods to Aid in Losing Weight Safely, According to Registered Dietitians


1. Pumpkin

a copper pot of pumpkin puree on a blue tablecloth, a good housekeeping pick for a healthy weight loss food

Most people only think about pumpkin in the fall, when spiced lattes and tasty pies hit the menu. But pumpkin should be on your radar all year long. With more fiber than quinoa and more potassium than a banana, pumpkin purée is an antioxidant-rich choice that’s naturally low in calories. One cup has only about 80 calories and is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin gets its bright orange color from beta-carotene, a carotenoid the body uses to make vitamin A.

The benefits don’t stop with purée; with about 7 grams of protein per snack-size serving, pepitas (a.k.a. pumpkin seeds) are a great addition to most diets.

Stock up on canned pumpkin to add to smoothies, soups, and oatmeal, but make sure you buy 100% pure pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie filling, which is packed with added sugar and artificial flavorings. A few other ways to prep with pumpkin: Whisk it into a cheese sauce to add some extra nutrients to your favorite mac ’n’ cheese, or add to unsweetened Greek yogurt with cinnamon and chopped pears for a nutritious dessert.


2. Chickpeas

a bowl of chickpea and veggies on a marble counter, a good housekeeping pick for a healthy weight loss food

Chickpeas are having a moment, and it’s about time! This legume is a vegan powerhouse filled with fiber and plant-based protein, both of which can assist in your weight loss efforts. Chickpeas are also packed with folate, iron, immune-boosting antioxidants and bloat-busting minerals. They’re a rich source of complex carbohydrates, which can help provide sustained energy throughout your day.

Although they are pretty low-calorie as it is, what makes chickpeas such a great food for managing weight is their nutrient density. Research shows that choosing foods with high nutrient density (hummus is provided as an example in the study) can help maximize each calorie and provide a slew of unique health-promoting ingredients while supporting healthy weight loss.

Chickpeas can be easily incorporated into soups, stews, salads and side dishes, and when you roast them with spices, they are an addictive snack to eat in front of the TV. The tender, buttery beans soak up any flavors you decide to pair them with. Cooked dried chickpeas are incredible, but the canned version can be a quick and convenient option — just choose lower-sodium varieties when possible.