Apples contain pectin, an ingredient that naturally slows digestion and encourages feelings of fullness. Studies show that eating a whole apple with your meal (as opposed to apple juice or applesauce) is a natural appetite suppressant, helping you consume fewer overall calories without feeling deprived. Sass likes using shredded apple in slaws and stir-fry, or mixing them into burger patties to add moisture.
Apples are also a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Just be sure not to skip the skin, which contains much of the fruit’s nutritional benefits.
Although they’re best known for containing potassium, bananas are also a great source of resistant starch, a type of starch that’s important for weight loss. Your body digests resistant starch slowly—helping you feel full for longer—while simultaneously encouraging your liver to switch to fat-burning mode. And no need to wait for them to become completely ripe; bananas actually contain more of this calorie-torching ingredient when they’re still a little green.
One cup of antioxidant-rich blueberries contains just 80 calories and 4 grams of fiber, which helps your body feel full for longer. They’re also a good source of manganese, which can speed up metabolism and make you feel energized.
More reasons to love them: blueberries contain a compound that attacks cancer-causing free radicals, and research suggests they may also help ward off UTIs, keep skin bright, and reduce age-related memory loss.
Craving something sweet? Instead of fattening cookies or cake, reach for fresh figs. Thanks to their dense consistency and high amount of filling fiber, they can slow the release of sugar into your blood. Pair with ricotta cheese, melons, and prosciutto to make a satisfying fruit salad, or use as a topping on whole-wheat pizza with crumbled feta and walnuts.
A fat-burning superfood, grapefruit contains a compound that can lower the fat-storage hormone insulin, which in turn can lead to weight loss. In fact, eating half a grapefruit before each meal could help you lose up to a pound a week—even if you don’t change anything else about your diet. Because grapefruits are 90% water, which fills you up, they also act as a natural appetite suppressant.
A squeeze of lemon adds instant freshness to everything from drinks to salads to fish without additional calories, making it an ideal way to flavor food if you’re watching your weight. Plus, the pectin fiber in lemons can help fill you up and fight off hunger cravings. And while it hasn’t been scientifically proven, some experts believe that the citrus fruit can aid in weight loss, as well.
Like lemons, oranges are low in calories but contain plenty of fiber, helping you to feel full throughout the day and consume less overall. In fact, in a list of the most filling foods compiled by Australian researchers, oranges ranked the highest among fruits.
Like apples, pears are a great source of antioxidants and fiber (just one contains 15% of your daily recommended amount). According to one study, women who ate three pears a day consumed fewer overall calories and lost more weight than those who did not.
Add a handful of these bright berries to your cereal or salad whenever you can: just half a cup delivers 4 grams of fiber, as well as 25% of your daily recommended amounts of vitamin C and manganese. Raspberries are also a great source of powerful antioxidants and are high in polyphenols, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.