The 25 best snacks for weight loss

Four nutritionists share the small bites that pull their own weight in the dieting department so you don't have to.
© Redbook // © Redbook

Hard-boiled eggs with sriracha sauce

To improve thyroid function—the gland manages growth and metabolism—look no further than a low-calorie, low-fat hard-boiled egg, suggests registered dietitian Amy Shapiro. If you like spice, drizzle your snack with sriracha sauce. “It contains capsaicin, a compound found in chile peppers that helps burn calories and fat,” says Karen Ansel M.S., coauthor of The Calendar Diet.

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Turkey jerky with mustard

An ounce of turkey jerky has 10 grams of protein but only about 60 calories, which makes the fat-free snack a good thing to stash in your desk or to eat on the go, says Ansel. Since protein is digested more slowly than fat or carbs, it keeps you feeling full longer. Mustard’s a low-cal, high-flavor topper. 

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Popcorn

Whether you make it with an air popper or in the microwave, popcorn is full of fiber and has few calories. Registered dietitian Laura Cipullo suggests sprinkling it with nutritional yeast. The nutty, almost cheese-like flavored flakes are a great source of vitamin B12, a nutrient that helps boost metabolism and burns stored fat and calories. 

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Natural peanut butter on Ezekiel toast

Peanut butter is high in healthy fat and contains loads of filling protein, which your body can put toward building muscle tissue. Cipullo recommends toasting Ezekiel bread, which is made from sprouted grains and legumes that, when combined, create a complete protein. 

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Melon drizzled with balsamic vinegar

“Foods with a high water content keep us feeling full so we eat less, and few natural foods have more water than melon,” says Ansel. One cup is around 90 percent water and has only about 45 calories. The addition of balsamic vinegar helps activate pepsin, a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins into amino acids. 

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Baked zucchini chips with paprika and sea salt

Registered dietitian Lauren Minchen recommends using paprika not only to flavor this healthy snack, but also to boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite, and lower your blood pressure. Cut a zucchini into thin slices and toss in 1 Tbsp olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with paprika and bake at 450°F for 25 to 30 minutes. 

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Edamame with sea salt

“Fiber is the magic ingredient when you’re trying to lose weight—it slows digestion and helps you feel full,” says Ansel. And edamame is chock-full of it. Sprinkle a little sea salt on one cup of the soybeans for a sinless snack with 8 grams of fiber and less than 200 calories. 

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Health Warrior Chia Bars

Not only are chia seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids and iron, but they also help weight loss by absorbing sugar and stabilizing blood sugar levels. Shapiro recommends 100-calorie Health Warrior Chia Bars, which contain 4 grams each of protein and fiber, but only 5 grams of sugar.

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Grain-free nutty cereal mix

Though nuts are caloric and easy to overeat, they’re also energy-dense and high in protein and fiber, so munching on them can cause you to eat less later. For a crunchy, low-sugar, low-carb snack, Minchen likes to mix together 1/8 cup almonds, 1/8 cup walnuts, 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds, and 1/8 cup dried cranberries. You can eat it dry or over milk—Minchen recommends plain almond or hemp milk.

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Seaweed

Shapiro swears by this sushi staple, which will improve your thyroid function with its ample supply of iodine—a 1/4-ounce serving has 4,500 micrograms, which is actually way more than your body needs in an entire day. Seaweed also contains alginate, a fiber found in sea kelp that can significantly help reduce your body’s fat uptake. 

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