Forget about appetite suppressants and popping pills. Don’t even get us started about the cabbage soup diet. While these quick-fix solutions may cause quick weight loss at first, they are doomed to leave you feeling unhappy, unfulfilled and primed for the inevitable rebound. Far from providing a safe and sustainable solution to your weight loss dieting dilemmas, these bogus quick-fixes aggravate it with a vengeance.
A successful weight loss eating plan is one you can and want to stick to. This means practical ‘everyday’ lifestyle strategies paired with delicious foods which naturally accelerate your body’s fat-burning metabolism leaving you full and feeling great! And this is what we offer below.
Designed to help you conquer your dieting demons for good and get the body you want, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips from around the web, plus the scientifically-proven blueprints to help you go from flab to fab in no time! And the best part? You’re required to chow-down! What are you waiting for? Tuck in and get slim below!
#1. Think Very-Berry!
Ladies, here’s a simple and delicious way to cut back on calories, trim your waistline and improve your memory: Eat more berries! They’re loaded with antioxidant’s and belly-filling fiber which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer — a big benefit when you’re trying to lose weight. Their high levels of flavanoids also help keep your mind in shape too by slowing the rate of age-related memory loss.
You don’t need to eat a truck-load of berries to get these effects either. Positive effects were seen in women who consumed only half a cup of blueberries or one cup of strawberries a week. So pick up your favorite frozen varieties at the supermarket. Grab a handful as a healthy pick-me-up, add them to yoghurts, cereal or blend ’em up with low-fat milk for a delicious smoothie!
#2. Crank Up The Heat with Protein-Power!
The secret lies in something called ‘postprandial thermogenesis’. It may sound like something straight out of the science lab, but it’s the reason why high-protein foods like chicken and eggs are your weight loss allies in the battle against the bulge. Digesting protein is more energy-intensive than any other food (about 50-100% more than carbohydrates!) and the good news is that all of this extra work uses up energy in the form of calories.
The best way to harness this no-effort ‘thermogenic’ effect is to start early. Ditch the sugary cereal in favour of some high-quality protein at the breakfast table. A couple of rashers of lean bacon, a low-fat chicken sausage and a poached or boiled egg is perfect. Fill the rest of your day with these common sources of protein. Limit your intake to a few times a week and always opt for the leanest cuts on offer. As for dairy, stick to the low-fat versions.
Aim for three servings of lean protein a day. In addition to being an essential nutrient, protein helps to keep you feeling full longer. Boosting your protein intake also improves levels of blood triglyceride’s and ‘HDL’ (good cholesterol), which helps cut the risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attack & stroke.
Don’t forget, non-animal sources of protein including lentils, leafy-green veggies, legumes, tofu, nuts, beans and grains are all excellent sources of protein, too. Finally, if you’re struggling to meet your daily protein quota, a quality protein powder, whey or plant-based (checkout our review of PlantFusion protein) can make it easy when you’re stretched for time.
- How much do I need? As a general rule of thumb, experts advise between 0.5 and 1.0g of protein per pound (lb) of body-weight. So if you weigh 160lb’s, that’s 80 to 160g each day. If you’re active and want to slim down, aim for a happy-medium – around 120g.
#3. Drink Smoothies!
Let’s face it, eating healthy can be a real grind sometimes. We don’t always have the time, energy or patience to prepare the perfect meal or snack, which is one of the reasons why smoothies are just so good. Just throw in some healthy ingredients, hit ‘blend’ and you’re done!
Unlike soda’s and other ready-made drinks, you can pick and choose your own smoothie ingredients based on your mood, taste and weight loss goals. Better yet, their creamy texture takes up extra room in your stomach, meaning you won’t be hungry again in an hour. Whip up one for breakfast, before or after your workout or as a meal replacement, anytime of the day.
Here’s a short-list of healthy ready-to-blend foods you can use to stock your pantry and fridge:
- Protein Powder – The staple of any good smoothie. Add 1 scoop of Whey or Vegan Protein of your choice (See PlantFusion)
- Milk (dairy/almond/soy) – Add as desired to create a creamy, delicious shake
- Ice – Add a few for a ‘cool’ refreshing crunch
- Oatmeal – Slow digesting carbohydrates, great for a sustained energy-hit
- Peanut Butter – Loaded with protein & healthy fats
- Fruit – Berries & banana’s always make for tasty, nutritious additions
- Honey – Healthy natural sweetener
- Cinnamon – Add a pinch for a tasty metabolic-boost
- Yoghurt – Greek yoghurt is our #1 pick
- Chia Seeds – Sprinkle a 1 tsp for added omega-3, antioxidants & fibre
#4. Eat Quick-fix Snacks!
Do you have a smart eating strategy when hunger strikes or do you simply reach for the nearest quick-fix? Sure, that Snickers bar may seem like a good idea at the time but an hour later your stomach will be growling and your energy levels crashing as you reach for something even worse. Solve all of these problems with these tasty, waistline-friendly snacks for every occasion.
- Feel like something ‘Salty or Crunchy?’ Bags of potato chips are nutritionally bankrupt. Instead, boost the flavour and keep your waistline in check by tossing thinly sliced root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, sweet potato’s and beets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 200°C oven until browned and crispy. Quick and easy high-fibre snacks like popcorn are great too. But bypass the supermarket bags. Instead, make your own by adding 1/4 cup of popcorn kernels to a microwavable bag, along with a few teaspoons of vegetable oil and whatever spices you like. Curry, chili powder and herbs like thyme, rosemary and oregano all work well. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes and enjoy!
- Feel like something ‘Smooth & Creamy’? When you crave that gourmet ice-cream, bypass it for an indulgent yogurt instead. Most varieties provide a sustained hit of Low-GI energy and will slip in some essential bone-building calcium too. Better still, switch to low-fat or natural versions and sweeten them yourself with fruit and honey to further cut back on calories.
- Feel like something ‘Chocolatey? It seems obvious, if you want to lose weight don’t eat chocolate, right? In fact, research has shown the opposite to be true when it comes to dark chocolate. Occasionally indulging in the dark-stuff has been shown to decrease blood pressure and reduce cravings for salty, sweet and fatty foods. Look for choc treats that contain nuts & whole grains. You’ll feel fuller for longer and better curb your appetite until the next meal.
- Feel like something ‘Nibbly’ or ‘Spicy’? Whip up a dip with some whole grain crackers/bread, vegetables, mixed nuts or roasted peas and beans. You’ll boost dietary fibre and antioxidant’s and clock up essential nutrients like Zinc and vitamin E. Before you crack open that calorie-laden dip from the supermarket, take a page from the Italians and make your own instead. Simply combine 100g of chopped anchovies packed in olive oil with one tablespoon each of minced garlic and fresh rosemary. Heat on low for 10mins, then add a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper and let the dipping begin!
7-Day Weight Loss Eating Plan
Eating for weight loss doesn’t need to be boring or hard. Below you’ll find a simple 7-day eating plan that delivers just 1,500 healthy, nutritious calories each day – perfect for fat loss and keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
Note: If you do find yourself feeling peckish, checkout our list of fat burning foods and add them to your diet as and where needed. These simple, tasty and nutritious foods will keep your snack-a-tite in check and your metabolism ticking over, without piling on the pounds.
BREAKFAST: Wholegrain cereal topped with 125ml skim milk, 1/2 cup blueberries and 200g low-fat fruit yogurt
LUNCH: Wholemeal tuna salad roll: 1 wholemeal roll, 1 tsp margarine, Tbsp avocado, 95g can flavoured tuna, 2 slices beetroot, 5 thin carrot strips, 4 slices cucumber and 1 slice reduced-fat (<10% fat) cheese. Plus, 2 fresh apricots.
DINNER: 200g baked turkey breasts with pumpkin couscous (1/2 cup dry baked pumpkin, 1/4 cup boiled couscous and 1 tsp rice bran oil), 4 steamed squash and 1/4 cup steamed broccoli.
SNACKS: 3 wholegrain/9-grain crispbreads topped with 3 Tbsp cottage cheese,1 sliced tomato and cracked pepper. 1.5 Tbsp sultanas. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: 1 wholemeal flat bread toasted and filled with 3 Tbsp extra light (<5%) cream cheese. Serve with 1 small mashed banana 20g wholegrain cereal. 250ml skim milk cappuccino.
LUNCH: 1 wholemeal mountain bread roll with 2 Tbsp avocado and filled with 60g lean roast beef, 2 tsp honey wholegrain mustard, 1/4 cup each of grated carrot and chopped cucumber and 1 lettuce leaf.
DINNER: marinated lamb skewers (200g cubed trim lamb marinated in 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 1 Tbsp each of fresh garlic, coriander and mint). Served with chickpea salad (3/4 cup canned chickpeas, 1/2 cup English spinach, 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, 3 onion rings, 1 Tbsp parsley) and citrus dressing (1 Tbsp orange juice, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp each balsamic vinegar and honey).
SNACKS: 1 medium fresh pear (diced) mixed through 220g natural low-fat yogurt. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: Fruit salad (1/2 cup each of chopped apple, orange, pear and banana), topped with 200g low-fat vanilla yogurt and 20g wholegrain cereal.
LUNCH: 1 wholemeal mountain bread with 2 Tbsp avocado and filled with 60g lean roast beef, 2 tsp honey wholegrain mustard, 1/4 cup each of grated carrot and chopped cucumber and 1 lettuce leaf.
DINNER: Broccoli and spinach soup with garlic prawns. 1 heavily seeded bread roll and 1 tsp margarine.
SNACKS: 2 soy linseed corn topped with 2 tsp margarine, 40g Camembert cheese and 2 slices prosciutto ham. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: 40g wholegrain cereal with 200g low-fat vanilla yogurt, 1 Tbsp ground Chia seed, 3 prunes and 3 dried apricot halves.
LUNCH: 4 rice, corn and sesame crispbreads – 2 topped with egg mayo (1 boiled egg and 2 tsp low-fat mayonnaise) and 2 topped with tuna mayo (95g can tuna in brine, 2 tsp low-fat mayonnaise). Plus 1 red apple.
DINNER: Creamy chicken pasta (200g skinless chicken breast, 1/4 cup light evaporated milk, 50ml reduced-salt chicken stock, 4 asparagus spears 1/4 cup each of frozen peas and corn, and 1 cup cooked wholemeal pasta.
SNACKS: 200ml skim milk with 20g Milo. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: Peach smoothie (200ml skim milk blended with 1/2 cup drained canned peaches). Plus 40g wholegrain cereal with 15ml skim milk.
LUNCH: Sardines on toast (2 slices wholemeal toast, 2 tsp margarine and 1 can sardines in tomato sauce). Plus 1 cup green grapes.
DINNER: Beef and spinach lasagne. Summer salad (1/2 cup torn lettuce, 1/4 cup each of sliced mushrooms, red capsicum and cucumber, 5 olives, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar and 1/2 tsp honey wholegrain mustard).
SNACKS: 1 & 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn. 6 dried apple rings. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: 1 wholemeal/high-fibre English muffin with 1 tsp margarine, 1 poached egg and 1/2 cup of baked beans.
LUNCH: Hawaiian toast (2 slices wholemeal bread topped with 2 tsp tomato paste, 2 slices lean leg ham, 2 pineapple rings and 20g light mozzarella shred — grilled). Plus, 1/2 cup fresh blueberries.
DINNER: Tuna pasta (150g barbecued tuna steak, 1/2 cup each of frozen peas and snow peas, 100ml light evaporated milk, 1 Tbsp dry stock powder, 1 tsp cornflour and 3/4 cup wholemeal pasta) and 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese.
SNACKS: Baked pears with pistachio, oats and dates. 250ml skim milk cappuccino. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
BREAKFAST: 1 homemade pancake (12cm diameter) topped with 20g extra light (<5% fat) cream cheese and 2 tsp plum preserve. Plus 1 cup diced fresh pineapple.
LUNCH: Tuna salad: 185g can of “tuna and 3 beans” mixed through 1/2 cup each of baby English spinach and cherry tomatoes. Plus 200g tub low-fat berry yogurt and 1 green apple.
DINNER: 150g grilled white fish served on broad bean potato mash (1/2 broad beans, 1/2 cup potato, 1 tsp olive oil and seasoning), with 1 medium sweetcorn cob and 1/2 cup of steamed carrots.
SNACKS: 2 rice crispbreads: one with 1 Tbsp avocado and cracked pepper, other with 1 tsp margarine and 1 slice reduced-fat (<10% fat) cheese. 250ml skim milk latte. Black or green tea. Water – aim to drink at least 1.5 litres daily.
- Hungry for more? Checkout Week 2 here, plus more great diet tips!