It’s easy to wonder which foods are healthy. We have gone into depth explaining those that help shed pounds without leaving you hungry and bored. The secret? Filling your plate with diverse fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole foods.
And don’t worry about counting calories. By eating every two to three hours, drinking lots of water and keeping a variety, you’ll have a wide array of eye catching colors, incredible tastes and tantalizing smells, sure to benefit everyone’s pallet and weight loss program.
Fruits and berries
Fruits and berries are an easy addition to your diet because they require little to no preparation. Whether alone as a snack, in salads, salsas, sauces or as a topping, you can’t go wrong. They are loaded with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Even the naturally sweet ones are low in carbohydrates. Even though they contain natural sugar their high fiber content helps prevent sugar from being released too quickly into the bloodstream. They are also a low energy density food– this describes the number of calories in a given volume or weight of food. So you can eat large volumes while still ingesting few calories.
White meat generally refers to fish, poultry, or foul, like chicken, duck and turkey. Red meat is considered to be mammal; cattle, rabbits, sheep and the like. Though processed meat is unhealthy, studies show that unprocessed meat is not. The truth is, meat is a weight-loss-friendly food because it’s high in protein, which is by far the most filling nutrient. Eating a high-protein diet can make you burn up to 80–100 more calories per day. Studies have shown that increasing your protein intake to 25% of daily calories (when cleared by your healthcare provider) can cut cravings by 60%, reduce your desire for late-night snacking by half and cause weight loss of almost one pound per week. But don’t forget how it’s prepared will make all the difference.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts are not as fattening as many expect and can be a beneficial addition to any weight loss program. They contain balanced amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats which improve metabolic health. They are crunchy, filling, and loaded with important nutrients that many people don’t get enough of, including magnesium and vitamin E. Chia seeds are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. A single ounce (28 grams) packs 11 grams of fiber and significant amounts of magnesium, manganese, calcium, and various other nutrients. Nuts and seeds require almost no preparation, so they’re easy to add to your routine. If you’re not allergic, throw them over a meal for a tasty accent or grab a few for a filling snack.
Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They were previously demonized for being high in cholesterol but new studies show that they’re perfectly safe and healthy in moderation. They are one of the best foods to eat if you need to lose weight since they are high in protein which makes us feel full faster and keeps the hunger away longer. Eggs are also incredibly nutrient dense, giving all the nutrients needed on a calorie-restricted diet. Interestingly, almost all are found in the yolks. One large hard-boiled egg contains 78 calories- add a cup of mixed vegetables with one or two to lunch or dinner and you have a great meal with only 274 calories.
Calorie for calorie, vegetables are among the world’s most concentrated sources of nutrients. They are high in fiber and incredibly filling. What’s more, they too contain decent amounts of protein, just not nearly as much as animal foods, but still high compared to most other food types. The combination of protein, fiber and low energy density makes vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals if you need to lose weight. There’s a wide variety available so eating as many different types as possible every day shouldn’t be a problem.
Fish and other seafood
Especially rich in omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, two nutrients in which most people are deficient, fish and seafood are healthy and nutritious. Studies show that people who eat the highest amounts of seafood – especially fish – tend to live longer and have a lower risk of many illnesses, including heart disease, dementia, and depression. Shellfish such as clams, mollusks and oysters rank similarly to organ meats when it comes to nutrient density. Shrimp is a type of crustacean related to crabs and lobsters. It tends to be low in fat and calories but high in protein. It’s also loaded with various other nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12. Salmon and trout are delicious types of freshwater fish. All of them are a worthy addition to any diet.
Unfortunately, some myths persist that dairy sabotages weight loss, but science proves this couldn’t be further from the truth. In one study out of the University of Tennessee, researchers showed that eating three servings of dairy daily significantly reduced body fat in obese subjects. If they restricted calories a bit while continuing with the same dairy servings, it accelerated fat and weight loss. ChooseMyPlate, an official government website for healthy foods and meals recommends between 2-3 cups of dairy daily, depending on your age. In general, 1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soy milk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese can be considered as 1 cup from the dairy group. When choosing dairy, fat-free and low-fat dairy are good options.
In 2005, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued every five years by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, separated its recommendation for whole grains from refined grains for the first time. To this day they continue to encourage all Americans include at least three, one-ounce daily servings of whole grains, half the suggested total in the grains category. Rice is one of the most popular cereal grain and is currently a staple food for more than half of the world’s population. Brown rice is nutritious due to its fiber, vitamin B1, and magnesium content. Oats are incredibly healthy because they are loaded with both nutrients and powerful fibers called beta glucans, which provide numerous benefits. Quinoa has become popular in recent years because it’s tasty, high in nutrients, such as fiber and magnesium and an excellent source of plant-based proteins.
Beans and Legumes
Studies show eating one serving of beans, peas, lentils or chickpeas every day actually helps to shed some extra weight. While it’s true that legumes contain antinutrients, which can interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients, that issue can be eliminated by soaking and proper preparation. When used properly they are a wonderful plant- based source of protein loaded with antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and resistant starch. For people who are not accustomed to eating beans, adding about a half cup per day is a good place to start or in place of other starches like potatoes or rice.
Whether you want to overhaul your diet or simply change up your meals, it’s easy to add a number of these foods to your routine. Diets don’t have to be tiresome routines. These are just a few examples, the possibilities are endless.
Challenge your taste buds today.