Yummy Comfort Foods to Help You Lose Weight

Easy Comfort Foods for Weight Loss

Mandy Levy Calorie Accounting
Mandy Levy, author of Calorie Accounting. Christopher Patrick Ernst

Most weight loss experts will tell you that the best foods for weight loss are minimally processed items like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy. But here's a newsflash: we don't always have time to prepare healthy meals with those ingredients! So dieters often choose packaged comfort foods for weight loss instead. 

But packaged weight loss foods aren't always nutritious. So are these convenience foods really good for your diet? Well...yes they are, says Mandy Levy. Mandy is the author of Calorie Accounting, a hilarious, super-fun guide to losing weight. Mandy says that there is a difference between diet and nutrition. "Nutrition is the most important thing in the world," she says, explaining that these are the foods that improve our health. But she says, "for now, we're just trying to lose the weight." 

When weight loss is the goal, Mandy prefers packaged comfort foods. Why? "Because all the facts are there, laid out for you loud and clear," she says, pointing to the fact that dieters can easily find calorie counts on packaged foods. And when you follow her Calorie Accounting weight loss plan "the only thing you have to worry about is calories, plain and simple."

Mandy has a few favorite snacks and treats that helped her lose 38 pounds and keep the pounds off for over three years now. This is her must-have list of yummy comfort food and tasty snacks that can help you stick to your diet.

Sugar-Free Caramel Snack Pack

Snack pack weight loss foods
Snack Pack Pudding/ConAgra Foods

Every dieter loves foods that are creamy and sweet. Usually these treats are off limits when you're on a diet and you have to learn to live without them. But Mandy eats Sugar-Free Caramel Snack Packs to curb her cravings. Each pack contains just 60 calories and 3 grams of fat.  She recommends eating them solo or combining a single pack with slices of a Granny Smith apple for a delicious, creamy treat.

Franks RedHot Wings Sauce

Best sauce for weight loss
Frank's Red Hot Original

"This is more a condiment than a "food", but I put it on all foods to make them delicious and keep the calorie count low," says Mandy. And like many dieters, she uses the power of spice to keep her portion sizes in control. It's hard to overeat really hot foods.

So what's in this zesty sauce? Ingredients include distilled vinegar, aged cayenne red peppers, salt, water and canola oil.  One tablespoon of Franks RedHot Wings Sauce has 0 calories and 0 grams fat. You'll notice that this product does contain a small amount of canola oil, so if you eat too much of it, you will consume a few calories (but probably not many).

Starbucks Tall Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte

coffee for weight loss
Sjo/E+/Getty Images

Starbucks can be a minefield for dieters. Many of the tasty coffee and tea drinks are loaded with fat and calories. But Mandy's favorite drink provides a safe zone if you're trying to lose weight. Her favorite Tall Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte has just 90 calories.  And the skim milk in the drink provides a few grams of muscle-building protein.

If you're not a fan of Starbucks, then you can always make your own yummy coffee drinks at home. You'll save money and it might be better for your weight loss program. When you control the ingredients in your coffee you also control the calorie and fat content. 

Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets Diet Hot Chocolate Mix

Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets for weight loss
Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets/ConAgra Foods

Believe it or not, you can satisfy your chocolate craving without trashing your diet. A single packet of Swiss Miss Sensible Sweets Diet Hot Chocolate Mix contains only 25 calories. You'll see other varieties of Swiss Miss on the shelves at your local grocery store, but one of the things you learn in Calorie Accounting is that every calorie counts. So why consume 50 or 100 calories when you can satisfy your craving for just 25?

Progresso Light Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Soup

soup for weight loss
General Mills/Progresso Soup

Portion control can be a huge challenge for people who are trying to lose weight, especially at the beginning of a diet. There are certain foods that we almost always overeat. Soup is one of them. A single serving of soup is usually only half of the container. But how many times have you opened a can of soup and poured only half of it into your bowl? 

Progresso Light Chicken & Cheese Enchilada Soup satisfies your cravings for cheesy, Tex-Mex style foods. A single serving is just 90 calories, but Mandy admits that she usually eats the whole can. And that's okay. If you eat the soup as a meal, 180 calories is still a good Calorie Accounting bargain.

La Tortilla Factory Low-Carb High-Fiber Tortilla

La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber Tortilla
La Tortilla Factory

If the delicious tortilla soup doesn't curb your cravings for Mexican food, then try making a spicy meal with a La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber Tortilla.  Each tortilla contains 70 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, but a whopping 9 grams of fiber. And fiber is great for dieters. Fiber fills up your belly and helps you to feel full longer so that you eat less all day long.  

Not sure what to do with a tortilla? Make a diet-friendly tortilla roll-up sandwich. Mandy layers hers with a dollop of Oasis Zero Fat Roasted Red Pepper Hommus and a few fresh vegetables. She likes tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion. Then she sprinkles some fat-free feta over the veggies and tops it off with Franks RedHot Wings sauce. Bon appetit! 

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles for weight loss
Miracle Noodle

Mandy devotes an entire section of Calorie Accounting to noodles. But not just any noodles. She eats shirataki noodles because they contain zero calories. Yep, ZERO calories! 

The Asian noodles are made out of water and glucomannan.  Glucomannan is a type of fiber that some people use to lose weight. You'll find the noodles in some health markets and Asian grocers. You can also purchase shirataki noodles online from vendors like Miracle Noodle. Mandy combines her noodles with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray, hot sauce and parmesan cheese to make her favorite 30-calorie Shirataki Miracle Slop.

Oasis Zero Fat Roasted Red Pepper Hommus

hummus for weight loss
Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine

Hummus is a favorite food among many healthy eaters. The savory dip contains several healthy ingredients like chickpeas and olive oil. But the dip can also be high in fat and calories. It's also easy to overeat. So Mandy likes Oasis Zero Fat Roasted Red Pepper Hommus because the product is made without oil. And no oil means no fat. A single serving of this yummy dip provides 24 calories and 0 grams of fat. 

Trader Joe's Vanilla Meringue Cookies

cookies for weight loss
Jamie Grill/ Tetra images/Getty Images

It's so hard to stay away from cookies and other sweet treats when you're trying to lose weight. It's especially hard when other people eat them at home or at the office. So how do you stick to your diet when everyone around you is eating?  You arm yourself with your own supply of diet-friendly cookies.

Meringue cookies are the perfect choice. Mandy recommends Trader Joe's Vanilla Meringue Cookies, but almost any brand of meringue cookies will work. These sweet gems are made from egg whites and sugar so they contain very little fat and calories. Eat four cookies and you'll consume just 110 calories and 0 grams of fat.

Pop Secret 100-Calorie Pop Kettle Corn

popcorn for weight loss
Diamond Foods

Popcorn is another food that is great for people who are trying to lose weight. It's full of diet-boosting fiber so you'll get plenty of this essential nutrient when you snack on it. But popcorn is also easy to overeat - especially when you pop it yourself at home. So Mandy recommends Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop Kettle Corn. Eat just one portion-controlled bag and you'll consume just 100 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. 

Athenos Fat Free Feta

fat free cheese for weight loss
The Kraft Heinz Company

Are you one of those dieters who replaces their pasta dish or hearty meat meal with a salad to lose weight? That's not necessarily a bad idea. The problem is that your salad may contain more calories than the meal you're replacing. Many of us throw cheese and other high fat ingredients on top of diet-friendly salad ingredients and ruin the meal's benefits for weight loss.

So how do you keep the calorie count in control? Fill the bowl with veggies and add a few low-calorie savory toppings for flavor. Athenos Fat Free Feta is an easy guilt-free addition. A single serving provides just 30 calories and 0 grams of fat.  

Lifetime Fat Free Cheese

Fat free cheese to lose weight
Lifeline Food Company

 In Calorie Accounting, Mandy points out that a single cube of regular cheese has 80 calories. "When is the last time you stopped at one cube at a cocktail party?" she asks.  Full fat cheese is delicious and satisfying but it is very high in calories and it's hard to eat just a single serving.

But fat-free cheese is different. Mandy likes Lifetime Fat Free Cheese because it comes in so many different varieties ( Swiss, Jalapeño Jack, Mild Mexican, Sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Garden Vegetable and Mozzarella) and it actually melts well. A single serving provides just 40 calories and 0 grams fat.

Add Healthy Foods to Your Comfort Meals

Mandy Levy Calorie Accounting
Christopher Patrick Ernst

So now that you've got a convenient list of convenient, packaged foods for weight loss, you might be tempted to fill your pantry with just these items. And you can. But it's probably not the best plan to lose weight and keep the pounds off for good

Mandy says that throughout her weight loss program and now in the weight maintenance phase, she always eats her fair share of wholesome and nutritious fresh foods. "Keeping your body active and well fueled with great, gorgeous, natural foods should be, in the long run, everyone's number one priority," she says. But every dieter needs convenient foods to help them in the weight loss journey and that's where her book, her recipes and her food tips come in handy.  

Calorie Accounting is available online and in book stores. You can also read more about her weight loss tips and tools at CalorieAccounting.com

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