Best Foods for Healthy, Lasting Weight Loss

Photo credit: Public Domain

Trying to figure out which foods are best for losing weight can be a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple, try to select nutrient-dense foods whenever possible to help you feel more satiated, so you don’t get those unhealthy cravings throughout the day. Making healthy lifestyle changes takes time and patience, so don’t give up. Stay focused on your goals, and the reasons why you are making these changes in the first place. The best foods for weight loss listed below will give you a clearer picture as to the kinds of foods you should be eating on a regular basis to help you achieve lasting weight loss and better overall health.

Vegetables

Eating plenty of vegetables is absolutely essential for long-term weight loss. They are low in calories and fat, abundant in disease-fighting antioxidants, high in fiber, and contain many other essential vitamins and minerals that your body craves. Choose from a colorful array of veggies every day, such as spinach, cauliflower, kale, carrots and broccoli. Vegetables make a great snack, too. Before the hunger pangs strike, put together a variety of fresh cut veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, celery, red peppers and a homemade ranch dip. This way you’ll have a healthy and filling snack readily available. Another delicious, low-calorie veggie snack are baked kale chips. They are salty, crispy and make a great pre-dinner snack for the whole family. And baked zucchini chips are yummy too! Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons and try something new. You can find many vegetable recipes on the Internet, such as allrecipes.com, eatingwell.com, foodnetwork.com, myrecipes.com, and cookinglight.com.

Eggs

Eggs provide a rich source of protein, containing all of the essential amino acids, which offers satiety and keeps you feeling full. Another big plus is that eggs are low in calories. For instance, one hard-boiled egg contains only 78 calories and about 6g of protein, but keep in mind that frying or scrambling eggs increases the calorie content because of the extra butter or oil used for cooking. For additional appetite control, add your favorite high-fiber fruit or whole-wheat toast.

Fruit

Fruits are tasty and chock-full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and they don’t require preparation. Include a colorful variety of fruits so you get the full spectrum of vitamins and minerals, but don’t overdo it. Even though fruit is very good for you, portion size and calories still count. The amount of fruit you need to eat depends on age, sex, and the amount of exercise you get on a daily basis. Fruits that are abundant in soluble fiber, such as berries, apricots and apples, make an ideal choice for appetite control. Soluble fiber helps to attract water and slow digestion, so not only does it make you feel full, but also has a cleansing effect on the body and keeps blood-sugar levels in check by delaying the absorption of sugar.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an excellent weight loss food, because it’s low-fat, low-calorie and loaded with soluble fiber to help control your appetite by making you feel full longer. One serving of oatmeal contains only 150 calories, so as long as you don’t add things like cinnamon sugar or butter, it’s the perfect low-calorie breakfast. For a nutritional boost, add a chopped apple and pinch of ground cinnamon that tastes like apple crisp on a chilly morning, or add a handful of blueberries for extra fiber, antioxidants and brain power.

Nuts and Seeds

Even though nuts and seeds are energy dense and rich in fats, eating nuts is associated with lower body weight, improved insulin sensitivity and better health. Both of these foods are high in protein and fiber, making them a nutritious and filling snack option. For weight loss purposes, it’s best to choose raw, unsalted nuts. Almonds, cashews and pistachios are the lowest in calories, roughly 160 calories per ounce. Sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds contain about 150 to 180 calories per ounce. Some of the healthiest nuts and seeds include cashews, flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds. All of these contain healthy fats, including anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and other important vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. Just remember that nuts are high in calories and can easily wreck a weight loss plan if you don’t stick to the proper portion size, which is a small handful per day for most people.

 

5 Healthy Snacks to Fire Up Your Creative Juices

Public domain

Choosing the right kinds of snacks to eat during the day can be tricky. We are bombarded with the unhealthy, caffeine induced, sugary items each and every day, which makes them hard to avoid. It’s important to choose the right kinds of foods and snacks in order to maintain our health. Certain foods can help boost our brain power and get those creative juices flowing, especially when you need to rely on creativity and sharp thinking skills to get the job done. Here are a few snack ideas that will give your brain the fuel necessary to fire up your creative process.

Oatmeal – This healthy snack is an ideal way to start the day. Oatmeal is a superfood that gives your brain power a boost and promotes cardiovascular health. The soluble fiber, protein and healthy carbohydrates contained in oatmeal will sustain you and help you avoid snacking in between meals. Oatmeal also helps to fight cholesterol, and it’s a quick and easy snack that is perfect for any time of the day.

Blueberries – This is a powerful snack that can help protect the brain against oxidative stress, which in turn will enhance your brain activity and get those innovative juices flowing. Blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, which help to support the immune system and overall health. You can consume them by the handful or mix them in with other fruits and make a smoothie. Either way, you are getting the benefits of one of the best brain foods out there. It’s also been said that blueberries are one of the best anti-stress foods that you can eat.

Walnuts – One of the best snacks containing Omega-3 fatty acids are walnuts. Omega 3’s are excellent for boosting brain power and also promote optimal cardiovascular health. You can eat walnuts by themselves, put them in a smoothie, or eat them on a salad. This is definitely one snack you can make a part of your daily routine.

Sunflower Seeds – This tiny snack is full of the nutrients necessary for high-level brain power. These seeds are packed with Vitamin E and have been known to lower cholesterol. As with walnuts, you can eat these on a salad or simply by the handful. The Vitamin E contained in sunflower seeds can also help reduce the anti-inflammatory symptoms that come along with asthma, joint pain, ulcers, etc.

Whole Grains – When you choose to make whole grains a part of your daily snacking routine, you’ve already put yourself on a path to a healthier lifestyle. Whole grains are packed with nutrients including fiber, protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, and trace minerals (e.g. zinc, copper, magnesium and iron). Brown cereals, rice, pasta, and bread are all on the list of smart whole grain brain boosters. These foods have been linked in preventing certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer, and allow us the steady supply of energy we need to get through the day.

With all the unhealthy choices we face each day, it’s hard to pick those snacks that will give us the steady energy we need to get through the day. Find a way to get in the routine of making better and healthier choices when it comes to the fuel we give our bodies. The right kinds of foods will jump-start our brain activity and give us the creative spark we need to accomplish our goals and be one step closer to the success we desire.