The truth is that it’s easier to fill your plate with fat-filled, high-calorie snacks and meals. Healthy foods, like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, often require a little more preparation.
You can start your weight-loss meal planning at the grocery store by adding these foods to your cart.
1. Fresh produce
When it comes to healthy eating, virtually any fruit or vegetable will help you make your way toward your goal. Fruits high in water and fiber are good choices. Watermelon, grapefruit and berries are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals—powerful antioxidants that can help boost your immune system and help prevent disease.
Quinoa is a nutrition superstar and a great addition to your menu. It’s high in iron and fiber, and it has twice as much protein as white rice. Quinoa is also low on the glycemic index—meaning it won’t make your blood sugar levels spike and crash. However, it still contains a similar amount of calories as grains. When cooked, brown rice, white rice and quinoa all contain about 200 to 240 calories per cup, so you still need to pay attention to portion size.
3. Sweet potatoes or yams
A smart starch choice is the sweet potato or yam. These orange, yellow and even purple root vegetables are higher in fiber and beta-carotene than white potatoes and processed grains.
Beans are another excellent option for people who are trying to slim down. High in fiber and protein, they will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and extend the feeling of fullness longer. From black beans to chickpeas, there are plenty of options on the shelf.
When it comes to protein-rich foods, salmon is near the top of the list. The fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to boost both heart and brain health. Salmon is also relatively low in calories.
For many years, eggs got a bad rap for containing high cholesterol. Recent findings have shown that moderate consumption—up to one a day—can be part of a healthy diet. Also, eggs are relatively low in calories and high in protein.
If you need a sweet treat throughout the day, stock up on low-fat Greek yogurt. It contains twice as much protein as regular yogurt and nearly the same amount of calories. Buy the plain kind and sweeten it with fresh fruit.
Oatmeal is the perfect way to start your day! It is low in sugar and high in fiber, which will keep you full all morning long. One serving of plain oatmeal (1/2 cup dry) contains only 150 calories, 4 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein, and zero sodium and sugar. Feel free to dress up your oatmeal with fresh fruit or unsalted nuts for extra taste and nutrition.