Tasty and Healthy Meals to Help Your Waistline
Eating the right foods is a crucial part of losing weight and cutting fat. Getting your diet sorted should be a priority alongside getting regular exercise.
Only when you have got these basics right and you are still looking for that edge, should you consider taking supplements.
People wanting to lose weight will fail to follow most of the diets out there. Some diets are cutting out complete food groups depriving your body of important nutrients.
Some diets drastically cut the number of calories you take in each day making you feel extremely hungry most of the time and end up overeating and snacking in the end. They are not only hard to stick to, but they are bad for your body too.
Losing weight and losing fat is not about dieting. It’s more about eating the right foods and of course in the right amounts. Diets are only short-term changes to what you eat. Eating a healthy and balanced diet is for the long run if you want to see results that won’t vanish the minute you stop dieting.
Diets Don’t Work
People in “diet mode” tend to choose low-fat options and ready meals thinking these will help them lose weight. They believe that these are healthier than the full-fat options.
In many cases, this is the wrong assumption to make. These low-fat meals might do more harm than good. A lot of them are packed with added sugar to make them tastier and account for the missing fat.
On the other hand, your body needs fat. Our brain needs fat for optimal functioning. So fat on its own is not the problem. The problem is the combination of fat and sugar-rich foods like cakes and biscuits and eating the wrong type of fat like deep-fried foods. So think again before you reach for a low-fat yoghurt and check the amount of sugar it contains.
Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is key if you want to get your meals right. Research shows that people who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to snack and also eat smaller portions when eating meals throughout the day. 2010 Breakfast study
However, it is important not only to start your day with breakfast, but also to choose the right foods.
You may not always have a lot of time to prepare and eat breakfast but before you reach for a pack of “breakfast biscuits” or eat a bowl of sugar-loaded cereal stop for a minute. These options are full of refined sugar that will spike your blood sugar levels and will only give you energy for a short time, leaving you to feel hungry and tired in an hour or two.
The best way to avoid added sugars or artificial sweeteners is to choose unprocessed ingredients. Don’t go for the prepared options. Chances are, they are full of unwanted stuff.
But do not despair! There are ways of getting a quick, healthy and wholesome breakfast.
#1 – Breakfast Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to combine healthy ingredients and eat your breakfast on the go. You can blend portions of fruit and veg with a portion of plain porridge oats or ground nuts and water milk to get the right consistency to your liking. You can also use plant “milk” like rice or oat drinks instead of milk, but ensure they have no added sugar in them.
Mix different colour fruit and veg to ensure you get a range of different vitamins and nutrients. Berries, banana, peach, beetroot, spinach or cucumber. Use frozen or fresh. The world is your oyster!
You can also add a raw egg to mix it up. This meal will give you a good combination of slow releasing carbohydrates, fat and protein so you can stay fuller for longer and stop snacking in between meals. It’s full of fiber and vitamins and it’s an easy way to get some of your 5-a-day.
Home-made smoothies take 5-10 minutes to make, can be made in advance and you can freeze portions for later. They are also way better than shop-bought ones as they have a lot less sugar.
#2 – Porridge with berries and a soft boiled egg
Porridge doesn’t have to take long to make. You can buy plain instant porridge oats that only take a couple of minutes of soaking with warm water, milk or plant “milk” and they are ready to eat.
Avoid any brand with added sugar in and go for the plain one instead. You can throw in a couple of berries or half a banana for flavour and for some fat and protein you can have a soft boiled egg or two after your porridge.
This breakfast will get you ready for the day ahead giving you longer lasting energy.
#3 – Cooked Breakfast
If you have a little bit more time to spend on breakfast, the traditional fry-up may be your choice. It has got some of the basics right, just needs a little tweaking. Eggs are a great source of protein with a high biological value which means that almost all the protein in the egg is used by your body. Beans are also a good source of protein, but their biological value is not as good as eggs. They are also a great source of fiber. Last but not least, mushrooms are packed with nutrients.
Instead of buying the flavoured baked beans try to make your own. You can buy already cooked beans in a tin so it won’t take long. Just add some sun-dried tomatoes and use a few spices and herbs to flavour it to your liking. You can go spicy or herby. Take your pick.
If you don’t fancy fried eggs just swap them for poached or scrambled. Good quality eggs are delicious either way. Making this simple change will reduce the amount of added sugar in your breakfast. So get cooking!
As well as less sugar, this meal contains some slow releasing carbohydrates helping you feel fuller for longer and the fat-rich eggs will help optimum brain performance.
Once your healthy breakfast is sorted, you have the right foundation for your day. This will ensure that your body will be fuelled for a good 4 hours before you feel hungry again.
It’s important to space your meals out and snack as little as possible between meals to give your body a steady supply of calories. If you leave too long gaps between meals this may increase the chance of you snacking on high sugar foods.
Here are some tips for a healthy lunch and even for some treats.
Healthy Main Meals
#4 – Cheesy Bean Burgers and Salad
This is a tasty option for lunch. It doesn’t take long to prepare and if you make a few burgers the night before you’ve got your lunch sorted for the next couple of days.
Use different types of beans in the mix and combine with an egg, chopped and cooked onions, a little bit of flour, salt and spices to your liking. Once you’ve got all the ingredients mixed up and the burgers shaped, you can shallow fry them and add some cheese at the end for more flavour.
Throw a quick salad together from different vegetables and your lunch is good to go. Easy, healthy and balanced meal. Have all the right ingredients in and no added sugar.
#5 – Red lentil and spinach curry
Lentils are a great source of protein and very versatile. They can be used in stews, soups, salads or curries. There are different varieties of lentils and they can differ in the length of time needed to cook and prepare them. Red lentils are great as they don’t require overnight soaking and they only take about 25-30 minutes to cook.
I cook my lentils in some water with some salt and powder spices using coriander powder, turmeric, clove and cinnamon powder, chili powder and a little bit of cardamom powder.
When the lentils are just about cooked, I add some frozen spinach and a tin of coconut cream or coconut milk to make it even more indulgent.
As the lentils are cooking I fry some cumin seeds, diced red onions, and some finely chopped garlic and ginger. Once the onions are translucent and the garlic and ginger are cooked I add the mixture to the lentils and mix well.
You can choose to use different spices and different types of lentils, but these are my favourite.
You can eat it with rice, quinoa or other grains to make a complete meal.
A tasty, balanced, healthy and quick meal for lunch or for dinner.
#6 – Beetroot and Chocolate Brownies
All of us like a treat every now and then and there’s nothing wrong with that. This recipe is perfect if you have a sweet tooth but still want to eat healthily. This easy and quick recipe combines delicious and healthy ingredients into an indulgent brownie.
In a large bowl combine cooked beetroot, cocoa powder (no added sugar, just 100% cocoa), coconut oil, 2 eggs, bicarbonate of soda and some cooked and pitted dates and blend the whole thing into a smooth consistency. Pour the mixture into a tin and bake for about 20 minutes at 180C or until it looks done. The consistency will be softer than normal brownies as it doesn’t have any flour in it, but it still tastes delicious.
As you can see eating healthy doesn’t have to mean bland food and doesn’t have to take hours to prepare. So no excuses – get cooking!
If you need some help with exercise, you can check out my post on Muscle Building and Fat Burning Exercises.
Alternatively, you might want to invest in an online workout guide like Boss Workouts or hire a personal trainer if you prefer that.
If you have perfected your diet and exercise regime already and you are considering taking some supplements to enhance your fat burning efforts, check out my post on my Top 3 recommended fat burners.