With the spike in the world’s weight, we’re always struggling between eating healthy and eating hearty. It’s a constant battle to say yes to the right foods that will help with weight loss, but why pick sides? You can have your metaphorical cake (a slim body). Here are three easy and fast foods to make that will help you shed the pounds.
Lentils have sort of a “bad rap” when it comes to people who haven’t eaten them before. “They are mushy” or “They taste like peas” are a few chief complaints. If cooked properly then it’s not so. Red and yellow lentils cook extremely fast as compared to others, only taking 15-20 minutes to boil. Like any food if you cook it longer than it’s supposed to be it will be a little off in texture. Instead of water, use chicken stock and spices (curry spices do very well with these) to add unique flavor. Lentils also prevent insulin spikes, are high in protein/fiber and low in fat/calories. Only half a cup of lentils will give you a full serving of protein in a day, keeping you full and avoiding flab.
Broccoli was seemingly made for weight loss. It has very few calories per serving. It helps control high blood pressure, contributes needed vitamins and has a high fiber content. The high fiber will keep your stomach feeling full while the rest of broccoli’s arsenal will keep you feeling healthy enough to really work out and lose weight. Eating broccoli several times a week will give your body a better chance against diseases and cancers as well. Pick out dark green broccoli and steam it for about five minutes to get all of the health benefits it has to offer. To prevent the stinky smell of this nutritious veggie while it’s cooking, simply use an aluminum pan and don’t overcook it. Serve with some olive oil or pepper and you’re good to go.
Everyone out there will tell you that beef is horrible for diets and that it ruins everything you have worked for but the secret is that it’s not true. When you purchase locally raised, grass fed, organic beef you can actually enjoy this meaty treat without breaking the calorie bank. Grass fed beef does contain a pretty decent amount of fat in it, but it’s the good kind known as Omega-3 fatty acid. Even with the fat that grass fed beef has, it still is much leaner compared to traditional beef that’s been purchased at a supermarket. For a seven-ounce skirt steak bought at the store there are 386 calories and 16 grams of fat (and that’s already trimmed). The same steak that has been grass fed 234 calories and five grams of fat. That’s 152 calories of difference for spending a few more dollars. You have already started putting money into gyms or other weight loss supplements, but don’t forget that your grocery list is where it really counts.
It’s common to think that going to the gym is the only thing that you have to do to gain muscle, but what happens when you keep working out and your muscles have gotten as big as they’ll be? You’re going to need some help to get them past the plateau they’re at and build up even further. The best blocks to add to your foundation are foods that are high in protein and carbs to burn off before and after your workout. Try these three foods to gain muscle.
Eggs are a perfect little package of protein and despite what the movies say, you don’t have to eat them raw to gain their benefits. One cooked egg has six grams of protein in it along with four different vitamin types, riboflavin, and folic acid. While they do contain some fat, only a small amount of it is known as “bad” fat while the rest contributes to the things that get burned off during your workout. The protein fibers that your body collects after eating eggs get damaged more when weight lifting, meaning that they get even bigger and stronger when they heal. The whites in the eggs are actually fat free, so add more of those into your diet than the actual yolk itself. A recommended breakfast would be six egg whites and two egg yolks in the morning, providing 26.5 grams of protein.
Quinoa is a mix between rice and oats that is a complete protein source (like eggs). If you’re a vegetarian, this is a vital way to get all of your protein in without having to add other food groups. In addition to being a source of protein, quinoa is also a good carbohydrate for your body to burn off during a workout. In these tiny little balls there’s manganese, iron, and magnesium which helps to keep your body balanced. All nine amino acids are also packed into this tiny package. What does that mean? The complete sets of amino acids are essential for protein synthesis next to the eight grams of protein to completely aid in muscle growth. The manganese, iron, and magnesium keep the job going by keeping energy levels high and regulating muscle tone.
Okay, okay, water isn’t necessarily a food but it is the best thing for building muscle. The body is made up of up to 70% of water and always needs replenishing. Muscles are active tissues in the body, and all active tissues need large amounts of water to keep them moving and exchanging the electrolytes that are absorbed from the water. The electrolytes go on and stimulate the nerves that control your muscles. A good workout can’t happen without moving muscles. Some worry about retaining water weight from drinking too much water, but that’s not quite how it works. The less water you drink, the more your body will try to hold onto that water. If you add more than eight glasses (for athletes) your body will let the excess pass and you’ll stay sleek and muscular.
These foods can help you lose weight or gain muscle, either way. Be sure to stay adequately hydrated and if you happen to cheat, dust yourself off and get back up again. No shame, no gain. Good luck!