Food and diet trends come and go but there are some of them that have stood the test of time. This is because they are effective when it comes to providing vital minerals, vitamins, and more while also helping people stay in shape for decades.
The important thing to remember is that losing weight should be a slow and sustained process through time, not a fad diet. So you need to think about your health just as much as you think about losing weight. Here are 9 foods that you should be eating if you want to lose weight and stay healthy.
1. Pasta Alternates
It’s not easy to give up pasta because its just so delicious, but it’s a carb that is basically harmful to your health because it is made from gluten and white flour. A great way to still enjoy pasta while keeping away from these bad carbs is to find alternates like spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, chickpea, legumes, bean, and lentil pastas, and more. What’s great is they come in ready-to-make packages now too!
2. Plant-Based Proteins
Meats are another thing that many people find hard to give up, and to be honest, meat does provide some much needed protein in a person’s diet. But more often than not, meat also contains high levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. The good news is that you can still get your daily dose of protein without eating meat. This is by including protein-rich vegetarian foods like lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc. in your diet. These foods are just as filling as meat, but provide more fiber and antioxidants with almost none of the cholesterol.
3. Low-Calorie Flavor Enhancers
Introduce flavor into dishes by picking condiments that are low in calories. These include things like salsa, whole-grain mustard, and hot sauce. And brands have been getting creative with these as of late, so finding interesting combinations and flavors shouldn’t be difficult. Flavorful food means you’ll be less likely to crave unhealthy snacks, large servings, etc.
4. Healthy Fats
While LDL cholesterol is bad, there are “good” fats called HDL cholesterol. These are the healthy fats that you find in foods like nits, olive oil, and avocados. Getting a good dose of these daily can actually help reduce bad cholesterol. Oils like flax seed and canola also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which provide a range of health benefits. However, limit the portions as fats do have more calories than proteins.
5. Healthy Snacks
Snacks like crackers and potato chips have been around for ages, but they are one of the foods that do the most harm to our bodies. Luckily, nowadays the market has been flooded with much healthier alternatives like vegetable oven-baked chips, kale chips, and more. These are delicious and packed full of nutrients!
6. Foods With Few Ingredients
Think about it, the more ingredients listed on the label, the more likely you are to get confused and the easier it is for food companies to hide inconspicuous ingredients amongst the alien-sounding names. So, look for foods that contain less ingredients, like a jar of peanut butter that contains only peanuts, oil, and salt. These foods also tend to be organic and not have preservatives or additives.
7. Feisty Spice
Most spices provide two benefits: they make your food taste delicious and they provide health benefits. Take ginger and turmeric, for example; a dash of fresh ginger in your soup or a sprinkle of turmeric on your veggies makes them tasty and provides health benefits like anti-inflammation, pain relief, and more. And savory dishes aren’t the only place you can use spices; ginger in a fruit smoothie is so good!
Here’s one recipe you can try:
1½ cups diced fresh pineapple (8 oz)
¾ cup skim milk
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 to 3 ice cubes
water (if necessary)
Blend ’em all together, adding the water only one TBSP at a time, and only if needed.
8. Flour Alternatives
Regular all-purpose flour isn’t very good for you, especially if you have celiac disease or are sensitive to gluten. But there are plenty of flour alternatives out there that provide an interesting taste and texture; almond, chickpea, coconut flours are a few examples.
Here are the best ways to use flour alternatives:
Baked goods: almond flour provides a natural sweetness.
Fried foods/breads: chickpea flour provides a stable binding.
Pancakes/crepes: coconut flour, because of it’s natural lightness and taste.
9. Fermented Foods
You’ve probaby heard someone say “you are what you eat”, but that’s actually backed scientifically. Your body is made of microbiome, which are the billions of bacteria living in and on your body. Foods that contain live and active cultures (probiotics) like yogurt, and fermented foods like kimchi have been found to be incredibly helpful for gut health because they promote a diverse microbe population. They help in reducing bloating, chronic inflammation, and even help you lose a few pounds over time.