Let’s face it, diet is a four letter word for a reason. Everywhere you look, someone is touting the latest, greatest diet plan guaranteed to work for you. After all, if it works for the actress on TV, (and she looks fantastic), it has to work for you, right?
Precooked, pre-portioned meals may be easy to reheat, but they don’t teach you how to enjoy the foods you see in the real world. Counting calories may seem simple, but they just don’t explain what meals help your body get the most out of the ingredients you use. The fact is, we women yo-yo in our weight because we simply don’t know how to get the most out of our meal. Simply put, it is about good nutrition savvy.
Fiber: Fiber is very important in our daily diet. Not only does it aid in weight loss, but foods high in dietary fiber are more satisfying and help you to feel fuller, longer. Dietary fiber, or fiber that is naturally occurring in the foods we eat, is the best option. Choose unprocessed foods like apples, and fresh vegetables whenever possible. There is an element of truth in the adage, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are naturally high in dietary fiber, as well as vitamins A, C, and potassium, all ever important to our bodies. If you are looking for that energy boost in the late afternoon, consider an apple instead of that candy bar. Your healthy body will thank you.
I like to slice a tangy green apple into wedges and enjoy it after a hard workout. Juicy and refreshing, this tart, crunchy flavor sensation satisfies that sugary candy craving I get.
Carbohydrates: O.K. this can be confusing. You have complex carbs, simple carbs, net carbs…who’s got the time? Keep it simple; when looking at carbs, always try to find foods that also have fiber. The higher the fiber, the better the carbs will be utilized by, and released from your body. In other words, if you are eating a food that is high in carbohydrates, and contains little or no fiber, it will not be absorbed, used and ultimately discarded by your body as efficiently as if you consumed a food that was lower in carbs, but had a high fiber content. This is where nutrition label reading is important. Just because the front of the package says the food is high in fiber, doesn’t necessarily mean it is better for you than the competition.
When I shop, I like to have a list of foods I want for a particular dish, as well as the list of foods I need. This gives me the ability to check nutrition labels and have flexibility with the ingredients I use.
Protein: Protein can be found in a myriad of foods ranging from meats, poultry and fish to nuts and beans. Protein is essential for properly metabolizing foods and losing weight in a healthy and safe way, nutritionally. Remember those PB&J sandwiches as a kid? If you are looking for a truly healthy snack, try a serving or unsalted peanuts, along with a 1 cup serving of fresh blueberries. Packed with protein, this nutritious snack also provides your body with fiber, Vitamin A, huge amounts of potassium, along with biotin, niacin, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, all essential for a woman’s body.
Personally, I enjoy this snack after a workout, while working as an energy boost, and even while watching my favorite movie. The combination of sweet and crunchy is completely satisfying!
Make your meals look good: Foods that are visually appealing are more satisfying. Take the time to create a plate that looks good and appeals to your senses. Interestingly, this visual appeal desire also has nutritional merit. By placing foods on your plate that are rich in color like ruby red cherry tomatoes, deep green broccoli, sun-bright yellow squash, crisp white cauliflower, and bright green brussel sprouts, you are not only providing your body with super-foods that offer all the essentials for a healthy body, but you are also allowing your body to burn energy more efficiently, lose unnecessary weight and maintain a healthier, more energized you.
I like to add at least two or three of these foods to my salads each evening. Truth be told, slices of cauliflower and broccoli mixed with whole cherry tomatoes make a fabulous, energy boosting snack when I feel like I am dragging. I also like to slice my brussel sprouts in half and add them to my favorite dinner recipes.
When it comes to healthy weight loss, dieting is not the answer. Get healthy and lose weight the right way, with proper nutrition.