Foods to Choose for Weight Management

An Easy List of Nutrient-Packed Foods

Fruits and Veggies

Getty Images / Maryna Terletska

You might be relieved to know that you don't have to spend a lot of money or go to fancy boutique grocery stores to fill your fridge if you're trying to healthily lose weight. In fact, most products on the best weight loss foods list are common items that you can find in any supermarket.

The best healthy foods to help during your weight management journey are naturally delicious, full of nutrients, and easy to prepare. You can find foods like this in every section of the grocery store and sometimes even in convenience marts.

Salad Greens and Produce

Greens

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

The best salad greens for you are those that you enjoy. Some people prefer a crunchy texture and some prefer a savory flavor. Blending them together is a smart idea too, to take advantage of both nutrition and flavor.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025 recommends consuming 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day based on a 2,000-calorie daily intake. The dietary guidelines also break it down further recommending 1 1/2 cups of leafy greens per week, 5 1/2 cups of red and orange vegetables, and 4 cups of other vegetables.

Crunchy greens:

Savory or bitter greens:

  • Arugula
  • Chicory
  • Frisee
  • Watercress

Nutritious dark leafy greens:

  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Spinach

You can also consider getting a slaw mix to enjoy the crunch and color that many of them provide. A bagged or loose spring mix is another smart option.

You'll also find flavorful vegetables in the produce department. Add them to salads or eat them as a snack or side dish. These foods are low in calories, many of them are low in carbohydrates and sugar, and most are high in fiber.

Look for these colorful vegetables in the produce department:

Fruit

Kiwi

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Fruit can help to satisfy your sweet tooth. Fruit has more calories than most veggies and you'll consume natural sugar when you eat fruit, but you'll also benefit from fiber and important vitamins. Just be sure to monitor portion size to keep your diet on track. The current Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 2 cups of fruit per day.

Look for these fruits in the produce department:

Berries are another great choice. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are packed with nutrition.

Remember: Fruit juice is not as good for your diet as whole fruit. Opt for whole fruit when possible. 

Dairy

Cottage cheese

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Yes, you can enjoy dairy when you are watching your weight. There are some low-fat or no-fat choices that work well in a menu of satisfying foods.

If you choose full-fat foods, just be sure to measure portion sizes. Whole fat dairy products contain more dietary fat, so they may keep you satisfied for a longer period of time, but they are also much higher in fat and calories.

Current Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming 3 cups or servings of dairy per day.

Canned and Boxed Goods

Oats

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Try these foods in the canned and boxed goods sections of the grocery store; though do keep in mind, that oftentimes canned or boxed goods may be higher in sodium or sugar. Read the labels and consult with your doctor to target the range that is best for you.

  • Canned beans (look for those with less sodium or wash in a strainer to decrease overall sodium)
  • Low-sodium soups
  • Oatmeal (look for the bulk variety rather than the single-serving flavored packets with more sugar)
  • Seeds and nuts (monitor portion sizes)
  • Stock (chicken stock, veggie stock, etc)
  • Whole grain cereals

Remember: Check the bulk foods section of your market if it has one. Many canned or boxed foods are available in this department without added salt or seasoning.

Snack Foods

Hummus

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

While most snack foods don't always provide great nutrition, they provide the satisfaction that can help you to stick to your diet long-term.

Consider some of these snack foods to satisfy your cravings for salty or sweet foods.

  • Beef jerky
  • Bulk popcorn (rather than microwave popcorn)
  • Cheese chips
  • Hummus to enjoy with veggie sticks
  • Nut butter packets (a much smarter choice than nut or peanut butter in a jar because it is portion controlled)
  • String cheese
  • Trail mix

Meat and Seafood

Tuna

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

If you are a meat-eater or a pescatarian you'll want to spend some time in the meat department of the market. Check out these foods to meet your protein needs.

A Word From Verywell

Remember that there is no single food that will make or break your diet. A healthy weight management program includes a wide variety of foods that provide good nutrition and satisfying flavor.

If you enjoy a food that is not on this list, include it! Just be mindful of portion size. And don't be afraid to experiment. Some of the items may be new to you, but might be a tasty addition to your weekly menu. You might also consider learning about different grocery shopping tips to make meal planning and preparation simpler.

Was this page helpful?
1 Source
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. USDA. 2020