Eating the right food is one of the most important parts of effective weight-loss. Consuming the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables is key. You don’t have to be on a diet to lose weight; you just have to eat the right types of food. We’ve compiled this guide to teach you quick and dirty methods to eat healthier more effectively.
Don’t ask me what my favorite type of food is because I don’t think I could answer that. I love eating all different types of ethnic foods. I hate diets. They limit my enjoyment. They can be great for losing weight in the short term but it seems like I can never maintain the diet over the long term. Thus it’s easy to go through these cycles of losing 5 pounds and gaining 5 pounds.
WHY DOES MY FOOD MATTER
Lasting weight loss means balancing food and exercise. If you burn more calories that you consume, you will lose weight. But, you can’t just eat anything you want. You need to think “high-quality” not just lower calorie.
You need to add a source of protein to every meal. Protein helps to support muscle growth and when your muscles grow your metabolism naturally increases. The higher your metabolism, the more efficiently your body burns what you consume into energy.
So what should I eat to lose weight? Here are some examples of protein sources:
- Lean chicken breast
- Scrambled egg whites
- Lean ground turkey, chicken, or beef
- Turkey breast
- Fat-free or reduced fat cottage cheese
- Fat-free Greek yogurt
Here’s a quick and dirty method of deciding how much protein to put on your plate. The palm of your hand is the size of one portion of protein. Look at your hand, subtract your fingers and thumb and you left with just your palm. The size of your palm is the perfect portion of one serving of protein. Quick and easy!
All carbohydrates are not equal. Get rid of the simple carbohydrates and replace them with complex carbohydrates. Here is an easy way to tell the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are white. They are sources of energy for the body but their nutritional value cannot match up with what complex carbohydrates have to offer. Simple carbohydrates are digested so fast that you are left feeling hungry just as fast as you ate them.
So what should I eat to lose weight? Remember complex is better than simple.
COMPLEX CARBS – GOOD
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Bread
- Whole Grain Cereal
SIMPLE CARBS – BAD
- Sugar Heavy Baked Goods
- Refined Cereals
- Sweetened or Instant Oatmeal
- French Fries
- Sugary sports drinks
Here’s a quick and dirty method of deciding how much carbohydrates to put on your plate. Make a fist. That’s it! That is how much carbohydrates you need to add to your plate.
In most of our diets, we rarely eat the recommended amount of vegetables. So what should I eat to lose weight? Here are examples of vegetables to add to your balanced diet:
- Green beans
- Bell Peppers
- Brussel sprouts
Here’s a quick and dirty method of deciding how much vegetables to put on your plate. Make a fist. That’s it!
Did you think I’d forget about snacks? A small piece of fruit, carrots with hummus, a protein shake or a protein bar are good examples of snacks.
So what should I eat to lose weight? Remember fiber-rich fruits are good fruit:
Eating a small healthy snack in between meals is important because your body needs the energy to keep functioning and it helps prevent over-eating during your main meals.
- Fibrous fruit the size of your fist
- Small protein shake – with water, skim milk or almond milk
- Small protein bar – not a meal replacement bar
- Small cup of reduced fat or fat-free cottage cheese
- Celery and one serving of peanut butter
Combining a carbohydrate with a healthy fat will make you feel full longer. For example, you can combine fruits and nuts, Greek yogurt and fruit, or peanut butter and an apple
SETTING UP YOUR PLATE
Here’s a quick and dirty way on how to set up your plate; divide it up. According to the USDA’s Choose My Plate program, think 50:25:25. Split your plate in half and then split one of the halves in half again. The largest section, 50%, is for your vegetables. You could even split it and add fruits and vegetables. The remaining sections, 25% and 25%, are for protein and complex carbohydrates.
Let’s bring it all together now and summarize our quick and dirty methods.
Proteins should be the size of your palm.
Vegetables and complex carbohydrates should be the size of your fist, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Here is some good news; you can eat more than one portion of healthy vegetables and salads as long as there is no calorie heavy dressings added.
So what should you eat to lose weight? Remember to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two small snacks a day. Cue the moans and groans, don’t worry I was once there with you. Eating your way to weight loss is doable if you utilize these quick and dirty methods. Start slow and easy and make gradual changes to ensure long-term success and soon portion sizing and healthy eating will become second nature.