I see many people’s eyes roll when they hear this. Are you among the millions of people who are constantly struggling to get to their ideal body weight? If you are, let’s talk and crease out the basics here.
I am just not in favor of starting a weight loss journey with negative words like don’t eat this, don’t eat that, don’t think of fatty foods, decrease calories, decrease crabs, etc. Rather I like to concentrate on positive words like “increase intake of nutritious foods,” “increase protein,” “increase water,” “increase activity,” “increase positivity,” and “increase knowledge of what should be included in your food choices every day.”
This has been my mantra for myself and for my clients needing healthy food choices.
Fill your plate, and make sure your daily meals have the following seven foods. This will automatically start limiting your meal/plate space for the unhealthy kind.
You should fill your pantry with these magnificent seven foods the next time you go grocery shopping.
- Lectin-free and dark, green vegetables
These vegetables should be your choice to help you with having better health, immunity and lose the extra unwanted weight. Leafy green veggies like swiss chard, spinach, kale, collard greens, and spinach have lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Leafy greens are good sources of polyphenols, which are known to aid in the management of diabetes, heart disease, inflammation and obesity. Polyphenols are a group of chemicals naturally found in plants so you cannot get them anywhere else than in veggies and fruits.
Also, a serving of a salad will curb your hunger as they are packed with a substance called thylakoids, which are sac-like membranes found inside the chloroplast of plants. These are known to suppress hunger. Since salads are mostly combined with healthy ingredients like olive oil, avocado and omega-3 eggs, it provides enough energy, fiber and nutrients to maintain a steady metabolism.
- Plant-based proteins
Plant-based proteins are wonder foods that give you enough nutrients to keep your bones and muscles strong without the bad effects of cholesterol and other types of fat.
What are the plant-based proteins? Examples are lentils, tofu, chickpeas, quinoa, beans, mushrooms and even soy protein isolates and textured vegetable protein. The latter is a complete protein food with good levels of iron and other minerals. It has absolutely no fat and so it helps reduce fats in your system, especially when combined with high-fiber food choices. These are actually good substitutes for animal meats and can be added to any dishes you want.
- Nuts like pistachios, macadamia or walnuts
It is good to have some nuts in your kitchen but you have to pick carefully. Some contain lectins, which are known to be toxic when eaten in excess. Some examples of these are peanuts and cashews. Nut butter is made with those nuts as well, so avoid them as much as you can.
As for the other nuts I mentioned, these are the good ones that can contribute to a healthier physique and keep body weight low. I’ll specifically point out macadamia nuts since they have 80 percent monounsaturated fats. These are good fats and are known to lower the bad fats, low-density lipoproteins cholesterol.
You know the famous saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”? I’ll say, “An avocado a day also keeps the doctor away!”
Seriously, you can enjoy a serving of a delicious, buttery avocado without guilt. This fruit contains good amounts of fatty acids to support overall health, weight management and even aging. It contains as much as 10 grams of fiber in a cup, and also has vitamins E and C. You can also get loads of potassium and folate with it.
Avocados are good ingredients to combine with any other dish you want. It can even be a part of your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any meal during the day! Remember though, since avocados still are rich in fatty acids, take them in moderation.
- Extra dark chocolates (72% or darker)
Now, let’s talk about dessert! Did you know, an ounce of extra-dark chocolate contains about 2 grams of protein, 3g of dietary fiber, and 13g of carbohydrates? This powerful food can give you a boost of energy while not adding extra weight.
Dark chocolates have good amounts of antioxidants and flavonoids. This is due to its high cocoa content, the main ingredients of chocolates that is known to combat high blood pressure. It can also regulate blood sugar and thus can contribute to good, overall nutritional status.
Don’t get too excited and pack up a bag of treats! You want to make sure that you are choosing the right kind. Choose those that contain 72% cacao. In fact, 85% higher is better. Also, these favored sweets are packed with carbohydrates, so be sure to limit servings to 1 ounce per day. Moderation is the key.
- High-fiber fruits
While there are fruits feared for their sugar content, others are packed with fiber to maintain your health and reduce calorie intake. These are the high-fiber fruits that you can store in your kitchen and use as a snack whenever you need to quickly address your hunger.
Examples of high-fiber fruits are bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, and raspberries. The first four fruits contain about 4 grams of fiber for every cup, while raspberries have about 8 grams. Like the other foods listed, they also contribute to lowering the bad cholesterol. With their fiber profile, they are good for your gut health and digestion.
- Olive Oil
Here’s a drizzle of goodness to your health! Those who realize the benefits of olive oil know that, aside from its delicious flavor, it is packed with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and monounsaturated fats. Of its total fatty acid profile, 73% of this oil is monounsaturated fats.
One of the most wonderful benefits of adding a few teaspoons of olive oil to your meals is that it can help your stomach feel satisfied for longer hours. This will definitely keep your hunger at bay. Plus, when using it instead of other oils, it gives your taste buds a unique, buttery flavor that you cannot find in any other oils. Recent studies show that olive oil can help you:
- Support heart health
- Support artery health and;
- Boost your immune system by fighting against damaging free radicals
The next time you visit the grocery, be sure to have these ingredients in your cart. There is no other way to tell this but to simply leave you with the famous quote, “Health is wealth.” A good state of mind, purposeful activity and, of course, healthy eating, is your ticket to a high quality of life.
Want more on Kimi Verma? Read about her story here.