When you’re dieting or trying to lose weight, it often seems like there are fewer things that you can indulge in and too many that you have to avoid. This is partially true, but it also depends on your portions and how often you eat certain foods.
High-fat foods are often one of the first things that you’re told to eliminate from your diet. However, it isn’t necessary (or healthy!) to cut out all fat from your diet. There are healthy fats that you can and should include in your diet.
If you eat meat, be sure to choose leaner cuts and eat smaller portions. The recommendations for adults are to limit the amount of red meat that they eat and replace it with lean poultry and fish. Opt for white-meat chicken or turkey, and chose fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, or herring). Preparing these meats by boiling, baking, or roasting is healthier than frying.
It is also suggested that one should increase the amount of fruit and vegetables that one eats. As much as possible, pick fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables because canned foods sometimes have higher amounts of added salt. When fruit and vegetables are in season, they tend to be grown closer to where you live, less expensive, and fresher.
Add fiber to your diet for a healthy gut and normal intestinal function. There’s a complex mix of over 100 trillion healthy bacteria cells in your gut, which can influence your metabolism, nutrition, and immune function.
Any disturbance in this balance can cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Some of these disturbances have been linked to conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity. One dietary strategy for controlling the microbiota in your gut is to eat more fiber.
Empty calories are those foods and drinks that contain a lot of calories without any significant nutritional value. These should be eliminated from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. Some of these foods include:
- sugar, pastries, ice cream, candy, and soft drinks
- products that contain high fructose corn syrup
- sweetened cereals and breakfast bars
- products containing trans fats and saturated fats (commonly seen in fast food and fried food)
- chips, crackers, and microwave popcorn
- packaged frozen snacks
Finally, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just when exercising. Hydration not only helps quench your thirst but also helps to flush out toxins and byproducts from your body and aids in digestion.