WITH plenty of big nights and skipped training sessions to make up for over the next few weeks, you may be tempted to seek out an expensive ‘detox’ program that promises the world when it comes to weight loss, and leaves you eating very little. Before you go and waste your hard earned cash on an expensive mix of pills and potions, you will be pleased to hear that it is easy to give your diet an overhaul, simply by focusing on nutrient rich, low calorie foods which will help to get your body fighting fit in no time. Here are some of the best foods to reboot your body at this time of year, and foods you are likely to already have in your fridge at home.
You will be hard pressed to find a more nutritionally complete, useful food than the humble egg. Packed with protein, key nutrients including zinc as well as 20 other vitamins and minerals, eggs can easily be incorporated into any meal and prepared in minutes. From a weight loss perspective, eggs have been shown to aid fullness and help control insulin levels, which is why they make such a great breakfast choice when weight loss is the goal. Enjoy two eggs a day freely and where possible add extra vegetables to your egg-based dishes to bump up the nutrient content of any meal.
Not only are lemons a rich source of vitamin C, but they are a handy addition to juices and smoothies to help neutralise the earthy taste of green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Lemon juice is also a low calorie salad dressing; it helps to lower the GI of carb based meals and for some it can be a great ritual when teamed with a glass of water to start the day by rehydrating.
Any berries are fab but blueberries in particular are packed full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fibre while also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. Enjoy as a light snack in between meals; as a fibre boost to smoothies and juices or as a sweet treat after dinner with a little Greek yoghurt and seeds or nuts and the extra good new is that they are so low in calories you can literally eat as many as you like!
One of most versatile leaves, fresh baby spinach leaves make a delicious salad base; can be added to green juices and is delicious stir fried with a little olive oil and nutrient rich garlic and teamed with light fish meals or as a veggie base for omelets. The dark green leaves of spinach gives some insight into its rich nutrient content; spinach leaves are a rich source of vitamin C, E, K beta carotene and folate and cooking spinach in a little olive oil will help to enhance nutrient absorption. And like the majority of salad veges out there, spinach contains very few calories.
If weight loss is your goal, white fish is your superfood. Exceptionally high in protein, low in fat and calories, any type of white fish ranging from dory, perch, barramundi, sole, flounder and whiting is a superfood when it comes to weight loss. Served grilled, barbecued or even fried in a little olive oil, fish is a perfect base to light meals served with plenty of brightly coloured, nutrient rich veges.
Consisting of more than 96 per cent water, an entire cucumber contains just 60 calories and is good source of fibre and potassium, which helps to rid the body of extra fluid. Simply munching on a cucumber a day and adding it to green juices and smoothies gives you the benefit of one of nature’s most powerful diuretics, especially if you feel bloated and heavy.
Often slammed for being relatively high in sugar, what is important to remember is that watermelon as the name suggests is 92 per cent water, and contains just 45 calories per 1 cup serve, making it a low calorie, nutrient rich food despite the fact it contains some natural fruit sugar. High in antioxidants and the phytonutrient lycopene which is linked to heart health long term, you could do a lot worse than choosing some fresh watermelon to snack on. A great addition to mixed veggie juices, a based to salads or as a filling tasty snack, watermelon like cucumbers will help to rid the body of extra fluid.
Greek yoghurt not only contains much less sugar than the average serve of store-bought yoghurt but it is much higher in protein which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day. An added benefit will come if you choose a variety of Greek yoghurt which also contains probiotics, the live bacteria that will help to feed the good bacteria in the gut and is thought to have a powerful role in optimal immune functioning long term. Enjoy with some oats for breakfast, as a filling snack, as a light dessert option, add to smoothies and protein shakes or even as a dressing option with vegetables for a daily calcium boost. .
Often forgotten, humble cottage cheese is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can enjoy, with minimal calories especially on a low calorie weight loss eating regimen. With a serve giving more than 16g of protein per ½ cup along with calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B12, adding a serve of cottage cheese into your day is a great way to bump your intake of essential nutrients for very few calories. Add to sandwiches or crackers for a protein rich filling, serve with cereal and fruit for breakfast or even use to help add flavour to salads and vegetables.
Another nutrient rich, low calorie vegetable choice, red capsicum is a rich source of carotenoids, the group of antioxidants known to play a powerful role in helping to down regulate a number of inflammatory pathways in the body. Red capsicum is packed full of vitamin C, folate and fibre and with just 45 calories per cup, you can enjoy an entire red capsicum as a filling snack and for a major nutritional hit. A flavoursome base to sauces, added to salads or teamed with hommus or Greek yoghurt, forget an apple a day to keep you in optimal health, a red capsicum a day is the way to go.
If you are looking for a fat burning boost, adding in a couple of cups of green tea to your day is the way to go. Not only is green tea a rich source of powerful antioxidants that help to prevent cell related damage but there is also some evidence to show that green tea may increase fat metabolism. Any variety is a good choice, matcha even better and a great addition after meals to help neutralise sugar cravings.