Cherries, grapes, white peaches. Bananas, apricots, cantaloupe. Watermelon, apples, pears. We could go on and on, but we'll get to the heart of it: Fruit is refreshing, delicious, and affordable. It's also really darn good for you and can help amp up your weight loss efforts—big time. To that end, we tapped dietitians to share all the amazing ways fruit can fill you up and slim you down. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Fruit helps you feel fuller for longer.
"Fruit is low in calories but high in nutrients including fiber, which helps you feel full not just for the short term, but for many hours between meals. This often leads to less calories eaten and can therefore help manage your weight," comments Joanna Foley, RD, CLT.
Speaking of filling up, not all fruits are created equal. What's one of your best bets for filling up between or during meals to curb overeating? Every millennials' favorite: Avocados. "Avocados are one of the highest-fiber fruits and also have the benefit of providing healthy fats which also helps keep you full," she says, noting that there are many ways to load up on avocados from slipping them into smoothies to adding them to sandwiches as a healthy, satiating topping.
Fruits with a high flavonoid content may help you avoid packing on pounds.
"Eating fruit high in flavonoids may help with weight control and limit weight gain. Several classes of flavonoids have been shown to decrease energy intake which can assist with weight loss," says Tara Tomaino, RD, Registered Dietitian at The Park, a New Jersey-based work-life campus that offers wellness and concierge services, from The Connell Company. Just check out this research. "Strawberries and blueberries are two fruits high in flavonoids that should be included in a healthy diet. Add these richly colored berries to your day by topping oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt with sliced strawberries. Frozen berries are great added to a bowl of Greek yogurt or to a whole grain muffin mix," she adds.
Fruit improves insulin sensitivity.
"The fiber in fruit causes your blood sugar to not spike so much [compared to meals that don't contain fiber after eating] and makes your body respond better to insulin. Improved insulin sensitivity helps manage your weight," says Foley. "Berries are particularly great for balancing blood sugar and burning fat, and can be easily added to smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or eaten by themselves for a delicious and nutritious treat." Already a berry aficionado? These are the best states for berry picking.
READ MORE: 8 Low-Carb Fruits For Weight Loss
Eating fruit can help reinforce other healthy decisions you're making.
Kick off a cycle of habits beneficial for you by making an effort to eat fruit every single day. "Making healthy choices (such as eating fruit) can often increase motivation to make other healthy lifestyle changes, which add up and can promote weight loss over time," comments Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, dietitian for Next Luxury. For some of the best weight-loss-friendly fruits, check out the nine best fruits for weight loss, approved by a nutritionist.
Fruits can help curb your sweet tooth.
Instead of reaching for that pint of sorbet after dinner, a handful of frozen grapes may very well do the trick—without added sugar and with plenty of antioxidants and other polyphenols, says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND award-winning nutrition expert and partner with Grapes from California. "Instead of soda, which is the number one way Americans get added sugar, replace it with a fruit smoothie," she also suggests.
Echoing Amidor, Gariglio-Clelland shares "fruit is naturally rich in sugar, making it a sweet alternative for added sugars in traditional desserts. Swapping ice cream for berries with a splash of cream is a decadent but more healthy treat, as is a fresh fruit smoothie without added sugars." Berries and cream coming right up, you don't have to tell us twice.
Fruit helps promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Mmmm, bring on the good-for-you gut bacteria. "Eating fruit can improve the diversity of your gut bacteria, which research shows plays an important role in weight management," comments Foley. "Apples contain a type of prebiotic fiber that helps feed the healthy bacteria in your gut," she adds, noting that some excellent ways to enjoy apples if you're not just chomping down on a whole fruit include slicing them into salads or oatmeal.
Watermelon, in particular, may help you drop pounds.
Many fruits are good for your waistline, but let's hear it for this summer favorite. "Watermelon, when consumed as a part of an overall anti-inflammatory diet may support weight loss. Participants in a study who consumed a more anti-inflammatory diet including watermelon experienced a reduction in body fat," says Tomaino, pointing to this research. "The high water content of watermelon promotes a feeling of fullness which may prevent overeating. Whip up a salad with watermelon, feta cheese, and mint leaves or blend watermelon with ice and lime juice to create a refreshing slushie," she suggests.
For more, check out The #1 Best Fruit To Eat, According to a Dietitian.