Changing how you eat is always a challenge and today there are so many different messages about how to lose weight. As boring as it sounds, there are no quick fixes, but below I have put together 10 powerful foods and tips that are important if you want to lose weight or help to maintain the weight you are currently at.
1. High Protein Breakfasts
This is pretty important advice. Protein at breakfast will stabilise blood sugars, helping to curb unnecessary food cravings throughout the day and decrease your daily food intake over all. The protein will also help your brain to function first thing in the morning!
2. ‘Plant’ Proteins
We have been educated to think that protein needs to come from animal sources, but that really is not the case! Plant-based sources of protein are great and should be included in your diet. Like all protein sources, protein from plants will help to stabilise blood sugars, which is the foundation to weight loss. Good sources include soya, tofu, lentils, chick peas (think hummus), black beans, seeds (hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower), quinoa, gluten free pastas, almonds, walnuts, pecans etc
I feel that quinoa needs its own special mention as a plant-based source of protein.
It is a grain that is a complete protein and high in fibre making it ideal for keeping hunger at bay! It is also rich in magnesium, zinc, potassium and B vitamins. Try adding it to salads, make a quinoa risotto, have quinoa porridge or even quinoa pancakes for breakfast! Delicious!
4. Almond butter
Natural nut butters (no added sugar, oil or salt) are great for protein, fibre, healthy fats and fighting hunger. Almond butter in particular, contains more nutrients than any of the other nut butters! Research has also shown that consumption of almond butter can lower the risk of weight gain.
Don’t be afraid to eat fat! Just make sure it is the ‘healthy’, unsaturated kind. It was a popular trend in the 1990’s to eat a low fat diet in order to lose weight. However, nutrition research has moved on a lot since then and it is now well recognised that eating ‘healthy’ fats will help you to lose fat, sustain the weight loss and prevent you from going hungry. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, nut butters, nuts and seeds.
Managing your blood sugar levels is very important when it comes to weight loss. You should be careful with anything that is very sweet. This includes fruit and dried fruit in particular. If you do consume fruit, try to have it before exercise and/or combined with other foods that contain protein/fat. This will prevent you from having a high spike in blood sugar. Also try to stick to fruits which contain fibre and are low in sugar, such as apples and pears! Apple slices with almond butter is a great example of a fruit snack combined with protein and healthy fat. Also, be careful with fruit smoothies and juices that only contain fruit as these are more likely to cause spikes in blood glucose.
7. Eat clean
Focus on the quality of your diet rather than the number of calories. Cook for yourself and enjoy good quality ingredients. The more foods you can eat that are planted based and natural, the better! This should also mean limiting the processed foods that you consume as good food shouldn’t need an ingredients list!
8. Eat vegetables
Add as many vegetables to you meals as you possible can! The trick to weight loss is to not go hungry because this is when you will make bad food choices. Research has shown that people like to eat the same volume of food every day. Therefore, in order for you to continue eating the same volume of food and lose weight, you should focus on eating more foods that are high in water, low in calories and contain fibre. Such as vegetables! This will help you to fill up your stomach without consuming more energy than you need.
9. Have a Starter
Increasing your food consumption at meal times to include a starter, might seem like the opposite of what you should be doing to lose weight, but actually, having a low energy starter can really help. Starters such as a home-made vegetable soup (not cream based), roasted vegetables or a salad are great examples. Having a starter will calm your appetite at the beginning of the meal, meaning that you will want to consume less in the meal overall compared to if you did not have the starter. It is also a good way to increase your vegetable, fibre and nutrient intake.
10. Eat your favourite foods
Losing weight needs to a be long-term healthy lifestyle change rather than simply focusing on foods that you should not eat for a short period of time. Therefore, it is not realistic to permanently cut foods out of your diet that you really enjoy! Decide what foods you really, really enjoy and allow yourself to eat them from time to time. It will help if you eat unprocessed versions of these foods, but restricting foods will only make you want them even more. Therefore, allow yourself certain foods when you really want them. Take your time to eat them slowly and make sure you enjoy them. Just try not to over indulge!
So, in summary, enjoy a diet that is full of vegetables, include a starter with your meals, focus on protein (especially the plant-based kind), enjoy eating healthy fats, be careful with the sugars and don’t go hungry! Hopefully these tips will provide you with an enjoyable way of eating that will give you more energy and help you to lose a few pounds! If you would like more advice on any of these tips, or if you want help with weight loss, please contact me for more support. Always happy to help!