Chances are that by now you might have a good idea of the food you shouldn’t be eating. It’s drilled into our brains that we should steer clear of fast food restaurants, chips, pop, and all other foods that are notoriously bad for you. Your weight loss journey depends on you filling your body with nutritious food. A well-balanced diet is attainable through a plan, which means it’s important that you know which foods to eat. Of course, you should eat healthy food and meals that you genuinely enjoy. Take a look at these healthy food options below if you’re planning your next grocery shop, creating a meal plan, or even if you just want to see if you’re on the right track!
Yum! There’s nothing quite like a big bite of a juicy lemon!
Said nobody. Ever.
Even though you may not eat them whole, lemons can be used as a healthy and delicious alternative for flavouring in your food and drinks. The next time you’re cooking vegetables, salmon, or chicken, try squeezing juice from a lemon on top for flavour. It can even be used as a marinade, salad dressing, and in your drinks too! Throw a slice of lemon and mint into your water or tea for a healthy kick. Lemons can have many health benefits, too! They have been shown to fight skin damage caused by exposure to sun and pollution, boost the immune system, and even decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality. A lemon contains roughly 17 calories depending on the size[i]. When divided into slices, that’s considerably less compared to using store-bought dressings and flavourings.
If you enjoy fish, salmon just might be for you! There are many benefits to incorporating salmon in your diet. Not only is salmon a great source of protein, but it’s also:
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- High in B vitamins
- A great source of potassium
- High in selenium
- A source of antioxidants[ii]
Dress your salmon up with some fresh lemon, lemon pepper or fresh dill. It can be a great addition to many dishes, from rice and quinoa, to salads and vegetable bakes. Salmon has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, fight inflammation, and aid in weight loss.
It’s time to hop on the current health trend that is avocados!
Avocados can be prepared in many different ways. The first (and arguably most crucial) step, is picking the perfect one. You can tell how ripe an avocado is by the colour and firmness. Dark green and hard signifies that it isn’t ripe yet, while dark purple and mushy is a clear-cut sign that it’s probably past it’s peak. If it’s a light green colour with hints of purple, that’s a good sign. Give it a squeeze, if it has a little give then chances are you’re good to go!
There are several delicious ways to prepare avocados, depending on your personal preference. You can cut it open and eat it with a spoon, chop it up and add it to a salad, sandwich, or wrap. Or try it mashed up and serve it on crackers or toast, or even add it into a sauce or dip!
Avocados contain 20 different vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E[iii]
They also have small amounts of Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorous, Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), and Niacin (B3). Of these vitamins and nutrients, they are particularly high in fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.[iv]
How are you going to include avocados in your diet?
If you weren’t already eating this healthy and delicious fruit, you definitely should start!
Bananas can be prepared multiple ways, making them a great addition to any breakfast, lunch or snack. Enjoy them right from the peel, or chop them up and add to your cereal, oatmeal, fruit salad, peanut butter toast, or yogurt! You can even take your banana addiction to the next level and make healthy protein pancakes! Combine 3 egg whites, one banana, and ½ a cup of your favourite protein powder in a bowl and whisk well. Add a large spoonful to your frying pan until the pancakes are about 3-5 inches wide and cook for roughly 1-2 minutes per side, depending how hot your pan is. To mix things up, add blueberries to your pancakes!
Bananas are rich in potassium, fiber, and many antioxidants. You can benefit from vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Protein.[v] One medium-sized banana contains 105 calories and is mainly water and carbohydrates.[vi] They have been show to help improve your digestive health[vii], aid in weight loss, and even help reduce muscle cramps and soreness following exercise.
You can’t go wrong with dark, leafy greens! Spinach is jam-packed with many nutrients and vitamins, making it a great addition to any diet. One cup of raw spinach has about 27 calories, most of which come from protein. It’s a great source of dietary potassium, calcium, vitamin K, fiber and thiamine. It also contains large amounts of magnesium, which can help improve your metabolism, maintain muscle and nerve function, encourage a health immune system and even maintain blood pressure.[viii]
Spinach can be incorporated into a variety of dishes, including:
- Sautéed meat and vegetables
You can even try cooking spinach by itself as a side dish. Simply garnish with some lemon and spices like garlic, turmeric or cumin.
So, there you have it! Five delicious and healthy foods that should definitely be on your next grocery list. Although, you shouldn’t stop there! These are only five healthy foods that you should be eating, among many others! This is a great start, but for more ideas or information you should contact your SmartShape™ weight loss support team. They can help you fill your grocery list with a bounty of healthy foods and help you explore nutritious meal ideas.
[i] “Lemons: Health Benefits, Nutrition, Research | Medical News Today” [Online]. Available: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/283476.php. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].
[ii] “11 Impressive Health Benefits of Salmon | Authority Nutrition” [Online]. Available: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-benefits-of-salmon/. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].
[iii] “Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects | NCBI” [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].
[iv] “12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado | Authority Nutrition” [Online]. Available: https://authoritynutrition.com/12-proven-benefits-of-avocado/. [Accessed: 2017-03-2017].
[v] “11 Proven Benefits of Bananas | Authority Nutrition” [Online]. Available: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-bananas/. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].
[vii] “Dietary Fibre and Health | Wiley Online Library” [Online]. Available: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2008.00705.x/abstract. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].
[viii] “Spinach: Health Benefits, Uses, Precautions | Medical News Today” [Online]. Available: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php. [Accessed: 2017-03-24].