Eating a diet that promotes weight loss doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice enjoyment and live on bland eggwhite omelettes or muffins that taste like gritty horse chaff. Weight-friendly foods can be appetising and appealing while still keeping your tastebuds interested and satisfied.
Filling your kitchen and stomach with healthy food varieties also allows you to enjoy many health bonuses including abundant energy, healthy digestion, clearer skin and a healthier heart. As you adopt the habit of making better food choices, you will not only crave these delicious foods but may discover you are needlessly depriving yourself of weight-friendly foods that appeal to your palate.
Grains and weightloss
Eating grains that are whole (with their germ and bran intact) increases their fibre content and maximises their level of nutrients, especially B group vitamins and minerals such as magnesium. Grains are an important part of any weight maintenance or weight loss diet because they provide long lasting energy and help curb appetite.
Bread and baking: Rye, spelt and wholemeal flours are all good examples of healthy grain choices, whether you’re choosing bread or baking muffins. They are low-GI carbohydrates, which means they provide a slow, sustained release of energy. They also help break down a chemical called homocysteine, which in high levels has been linked to Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Other grains: Barley is a good source of selenium and minerals such as copper and manganese. Oats have been shown in studies to help stabilise blood sugar levels and provide lasting fullness (make sure you avoid quick-cook varieties, which are higher in natural sugar, meaning they can cause insulin levels to spike). Wheatgerm not only helps alleviate constipation but improves muscular energy and strength during exercise. And, for a sustaining snack, don’t forget about homecooked popcorn — but go easy on the salt and oil.
Rice: This is a versatile food that can be served at breakfast (brown rice, banana and milk), lunch (sushi) and dinner (basmati with curry). As well as being filling, it contains a starch called amylose, which may help prevent bowel cancer. While basmati is the lowest-GI choice, other forms of rice such as brown, long grain and wild rice are also tasty and nutritious.
Pasta and noodles: After years of bad press, these carbs are back on the menu. They are now promoted as good foods for weight loss because they are satisfying and have a low glycaemic index, so they won’t increase your blood sugar levels. Having pasta? Then think beyond spaghetti to include agnolotti, fettuccine, tagliatelle, ravioli and linguine. Cooking noodles? Mix up your choices to include udon, soba, rice vermicelli, shirataki and ramen. To increase your fibre intake, choose wholemeal varieties.
Gluten-free: With so many people eliminating gluten, previously obscure grains are becoming more popular alongside the better-known varieties such as buckwheat, millet, tapioca and brown rice flour. Amaranth, a staple food of the Aztecs, is rich in protein, calcium, magnesium and iron, while quinoa, once considered the “gold of the Incas”, is also rich in magnesium and iron. It is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids, so is a great choice if you’re vegetarian and trying to increase your daily protein intake without eating meat.