Healthy, successful weight loss typically results from a combination of smart food choices, balanced lifestyle and daily exercising. From diet alone, it is possible to shed weight healthily if the daily intake of calories is less than the calories needed for a full day's worth of activities. But wait, rather than solely looking for low-caloric foods, wouldn't it be a better option to look for nutrient-dense foods that keep you feeling full for longer periods of time? Also, keep in mind that food-deprivation is detrimental to weight loss; the key to a slimmer waist is moderation. Here are some suggestions on healthier and smarter food choices that may help you lose weight.
Contrary to the popularized "low-carb" diets, you do not need to cut out carbohydrates for a healthy, successful weight loss. Whole grains, which should be substituted for refined carbohydrates like white bread and white rice, are an important group of foods that may help you lose weight. Since soluble fibers, such as oatmeal and whole wheat toast, tend to absorb water in the digestive system, it can keep you feeling fuller longer. Some great options of whole grain include:
- Whole wheat bread
- Brown rice
Fresh Fruits And Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are integral to obtaining healthy levels of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. They can also keep you satiated longer by leveling the blood sugar level, and help with healthy bowel movement that may lead to weight loss. Fresh fruits and vegetables also make great snacks in place of sugary candies and oily chips. Some great options to consider include:
Foods that are high in protein can be an effective weight loss tool, since it takes the body longer to break down proteins. As a result, you will feel fuller for longer periods of time while maintaining healthy muscle mass during periods of weight loss. In The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it has been found that individuals who ingested red meat regularly lost more weight than those eating the same amount of calories, but without the red meat. However, be sure to watch out for "hidden fats" in sources of protein. For example, choose leaner cuts of meat for less saturated fats, and eat more egg whites than egg yolks for lower cholesterol intake. Some great options include:
- Legumes and beans (chickpeas, lentils, soybeans, black eyed peas)
- Nuts and seeds (peanuts, flax seed, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Lean cuts of red meat
- Chicken without skin
- Fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
Dairy products tend to receive a bad reputation because of their association with caloric foods, such as sugary ice creams and gooey cheeses. However, according to a study in the journal of Obesity Research, subjects who regularly consumed milk or some type of dairy product actually lost more body fat and weight overall than subjects who did not consume any dairy. Since ingesting too much of any foods can still pack on calories, nutritious or not, dairy products that are low-fat or non-fat should be favored. It is also important to note other additives, such as sugar, that may add unnecessary calories. Some great options include:
- 2%, 1%, or nonfat milk
- Plain yogurt
- Greek yogurt
- Low fat cheeses
- Low-fat or non-fat frozen yogurt (in moderation)
- Low-fat or non-fat ice cream (in moderation)
Drinking water can actually banish unnecessary water weight your body holds onto. When an individual ingests too much salty foods, the body will tend to hold onto excess water to balance the high sodium content within. Drinking plenty of water and having a low-sodium diet can help banish bloat, puffiness, and decrease water retention. Water can also help flush out unhealthy wastes and ease constipation. Drinking lots of water may also help curb appetite, as sometimes individuals may confuse hunger with thirst. Most importantly, water is a healthy substitute in place of sodas and high calorie drinks.
Tips To Keep In Mind
- When choosing dairy and meats, pick the low-fat or non-fat option, as well as leaner cuts of meat.
- When cooking, opt for grilling, blanching or steaming rather than deep frying.
- When choosing carbohydrates, choose the whole grain option.
- Always try to eat fresh foods rather than processed, packaged foods.
- When eating food items with higher fat content, treat it as an indulgence and practice moderation.
- When buying snacks, opt for the pre-measured and packaged variety for calorie control.
- Try to opt for low-sodium options and flavor with spices that are antioxidant-rich and contain health benefits, like cinnamon for example.