Fat-Free Foods for Weight Loss

Planning Ahead to Make the Right Choices

If you are trying to lose weight, the foods you buy at the grocery store can make or break your plan. Whenever shopping, bring a detailed list of fat-free foods to aid in your selection. That, along with a careful review of nutrition labels, will help keep your diet on track.

Making the Right Choices

You might be surprised which foods make the top of the fat-free list. Most of these foods are naturally free from fat.

Others have been actively omitted, including many processed fat-free foods. While they may offer benefits in terms of reduced fat intake, many manufacturers replace those fats with sugar and carbohydrates that promote weight gain and affect blood sugars. The calorie count may remain the same, but your glycemic index (GI) may go through the roof.

Many foods on this fat-free list offer ample nutrition while keeping the calorie count low. These are invariably the best for weight loss. Other food choices may not offer as much nutrition but can calm your cravings for sweets, candy, or other treats.

Definitely off the list are junk foods like chips and cookies, ice cream, chocolate candy, high-calorie frozen meals, fried foods like fish sticks, and condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings.

The Best No-Fat Foods

Here's the list of fat-free foods to eat if you want to slim down or maintain your healthy weight. In addition to no fat foods, some low-fat foods are listed as well to help you with your eating plan.

Canned Foods

black beans in a bowl
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Canned foods can be good for dieters on a budget. Foods that are canned are usually more economical, generally last longer, and can be reheated quickly and conveniently. Consider these options:

  • White beans
  • Black beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Canned corn
  • Other canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit with no added syrup
  • Tuna (canned in water, not oil)
  • Fat-free refried beans
  • Canned soups with a clear base (avoid cream soups)

If you are watching your sodium intake, check the nutrition label before buying fat-free canned foods like beans and soups. Many contain a lot of salt and need to be either rinsed or diluted to reduce the sodium content.

Dairy Foods

Not all fat-free dairy products taste good. So it's important to consider flavor when making your choice. Sometimes buying a low-fat version is better because you'll be satisfied eating less of it and consuming fewer calories overall.

For some dieters, however, a little bit of fat provides satiety. So, choose your no-fat dairy food wisely. Also, check the nutrition facts label for added sweeteners—some no-fat foods in the dairy section are higher in sugar. Consider these options:

  • Fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Fat-free traditional yogurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese
  • Skim milk
  • Low-fat cheese like part skim mozzarella
  • Reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream

Certain non-fat Greek yogurts can have as much as 24 grams of sugar per 6-ounce container, almost as much as the recommended daily allowance for many adults.

Condiments

If you can live without sauces and spreads, you might be able to lose weight faster. Many times condiments add calories without adding too much flavor. But, if you prefer to add condiments to your meal, choose these fat-free varieties:

  • Reduced-fat or fat-free salad dressing
  • Light mayonnaise
  • Salsa
  • Butter Buds
  • Vinegar
  • Cocktail sauce
  • Reduced-sugar fruit spread or jam
  • Soy sauce
  • Tomato sauce

Protein

Lean protein should top your list of diet-friendly foods. They contain some fat but provide a powerful nutritional boost. Consider

Scrambled Egg Whites
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  • Lean ground turkey or skinless turkey breast
  • Skinless chicken breasts
  • Lean deli cuts like sliced ham
  • Frozen or refrigerated grilled chicken pieces
  • Fresh or frozen fish and seafood
  • Eggs, egg substitute, or egg whites

The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your consumption of meat, chicken, and fish to 5½ ounces per day. A 3-ounce portion is roughly the size of a deck of cards.

Sweets

In a perfect world, dieters wouldn't need treats. But we all need a sweet treat now and then. Some of the best diet-friendly choices contain a little bit of fat, but many are fat-free:

  • Hard candies
  • Chewing gum
  • Tootsie rolls
  • Lollipops
  • Fat-free gelatin cups
  • Non-fat ice cream bars 
  • Sorbet or sherbet
  • Popsicles

Bread and Grains

Try to choose high-fiber bread and grains, even if they provide a little bit of fat. But try to keep your choices low in calories. Consider:

  • Whole grain and bran cereals
  • Whole grain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat pita
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole grain pasta

Limit your intake of carbs to no more than 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. If you are trying to lose weight, cut your carbs by 500 grams per day to lose a pound per week.

A Word From Verywell

By having all of this list of fat-free foods and foods that are diet-friendly, you'll be ready to handle last-moment meal preparation and any cravings that come your way. The more that you plan ahead, the less likely you will be to reach for whatever is on the shelf.

You can even go online and look up the brand name and the nutritional information in advance to make your shopping even faster and simpler.

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