Inflammation is a silent saboteur that can wreak havoc on your health and sabotage your weight-loss efforts. Fortunately, there are natural approaches to help you reduce inflammation and drop unwanted pounds. One is adopting a healthy diet centered around anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes. We spoke with Destini Moody, RDN, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian with Garage Gym Reviews, who shares her 10 best anti-inflammatory snacks for weight loss. But before we dive into them, let’s chat a little bit more about inflammation.
If left unchecked, inflammation can lead to various chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. According to the American Hospital Association Physician Alliance, chronic inflammation—the ongoing, lingering state of internal inflammation that leads to long-term health issues—can disrupt your metabolism, potentially causing insulin resistance and weight gain.
If your goal is weight loss, reducing inflammation is an excellent first step toward a slimmer waistline. The next time you have the urge to snack, reach for one of the below anti-inflammatory snacks for weight loss to satisfy your cravings. And when you’re done reading, don’t miss how This One Change to Your Diet Can Help You Lose Weight Faster.
Packed with antioxidants, blueberries help combat oxidative stress and inflammation while adding a burst of flavor to your snack time.
“Many people don’t know this, but blueberries have the highest antioxidant content out of any other berry. They’re packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins, which give blueberries their color and have been shown to help prevent cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and obesity. They’re also a low-calorie, portable snack that you can snack on at home or the office,” says Moody.
According to a 2022 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the fatty acids found in seaweeds can help reduce inflammation.
“Most seaweed snacks only clock in at a measly 20 to 25 calories per serving, making them perfect for weight loss,” says Moody. “This snack also contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are nutrients known to fight inflammation in the body.”
“A smoothie made with palatable vegetables like carrots and cucumber or kale and spinach is an easy way to get in your vegetables without having the time to prepare them,” Moody explains. “Non-starchy vegetables are also low in calories but high in fiber, so they go a long way in making you feel full without exceeding your calorie goal.”
Pack your smoothies with leafy greens, cucumber, and antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries to help support your weight loss goals.
Protein shakes are a fantastic way to lose weight while lowering inflammation. Be sure to choose a clean, high-quality protein powder mixed with almond milk or water for a delicious, anti-inflammatory snack that keeps you on track with your weight loss journey.
“A high-quality protein powder is usually between 100 and 150 calories with 20 to 25 grams of protein per serving,” explains Moody. “Mixed with water or almond milk, this can be a satisfying snack between meals—especially if you’re short on time. Compared to fats and carbohydrates, protein digests slower in the stomach. This keeps you fuller for longer and can help you reduce the cravings that make weight loss more challenging.”
Ditch the potato chips and reach for kale chips as a guilt-free snack to satisfy your cravings while nurturing your body with inflammation-fighting nutrients. Recent research has found that kale contains phytochemicals and glucosinolates that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Moody tells us, “This crispy snack can be store-bought or easily made at home. All you need is a bag of kale, some cooking oil, and salt. What comes out is a snack with a texture similar to more caloric snacks like potato chips but with many more nutrients and a fraction of the calories.”
Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) are packed with fiber and protein, making them a satiating choice that helps manage weight while reducing inflammation.
“Garbanzo beans are a complex carb that, unlike more processed snacks, don’t spike blood sugar,” says Moody. “One cup provides about 25% of your daily zinc needs. Zinc is known to reduce inflammatory markers and support a healthy metabolism. You can season them with cinnamon for a sweet treat or ranch powder for something more savory, then roast them in the oven for a crunchy, high-protein snack.”
“Fighting the cravings for sugar and sweets is often one of the most brutal tests of one’s will when trying to lose weight,” states Moody. “When the temptation strikes, reach for one ounce of dark chocolate. If you’re looking for chocolate that contains anti-inflammatory polyphenols, look for chocolate that contains at least 60 percent cacao.”
According to a 2022 study in Food Science, dark chocolate is high in flavonoids and antioxidants that help combat inflammation, promoting healthy weight loss.
This light and fluffy snack is low in calories and provides a dose of whole grains that contributes to an anti-inflammatory weight loss diet. Take it a step further and season your popcorn with anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric or cayenne for a flavorful and waistline-friendly treat.
“Unlike microwaved popcorn, air-popped popcorn that’s been lightly salted lacks all of the artificial butter, colors, and flavors that can contribute to inflammation. When you opt for this more natural option, you get a filling, whole-grain snack of only 30 calories per cup,” says Moody.
Chia Seed Pudding
Studies show that chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber that contribute to a feeling of fullness while supporting a healthy inflammatory response.
“Chia seeds are one of the few plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that the body cannot make on its own and must be obtained from food,” explains Moody. “Chia seed pudding is simple to make and can make a satisfying, low-calorie snack between breakfast and lunch.”
This convenient bite-sized snack option is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant research suggests helps reduce inflammation.
Moody says, “Another portable veggie snack, baby carrots are known for their beta-carotene content. Beta carotene works in the body to promote good vision, eye health, and a healthy immune system, and it fights harmful free radicals in the body. Just one cup of baby carrots is only 50 calories, and you can enjoy them raw for a crunchy snack or steamed for a softer, more savory flavor.”