Spring has sprung, and with it comes the need to bare flesh in the very near future.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to slim down a little before summer officially hits.
The key is to forget detox programs and quick-fix solutions, and instead focus on a balanced eating plan that provides sustainable results.
This way, you can achieve a calorie deficit, without the feeling of deprivation that accompanies many diets.
The other trick is to opt for foods that are nutrient-rich but relatively low in calories – then you can still eat plenty but achieve a sustainable drop on the scales over the next few weeks.
White fish is an especially smart option when it comes to weight control, as it is not only extremely high in protein but also significantly lower in calories than a typical red meat meal.
With 150 calories or less per 150g serve, swapping a couple of meals each week for white fish with salad or vegetables is an easy way to enjoy a filling, protein rich meal... for far fewer calories than a typical meat or chicken dish.
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White fish is also a good source of a number of other key nutrients including iodine, selenium, magnesium and – in some varieties like barramundi – Omega-3 fat. With a wide range of varieties including barramundi, Dory, flathead and Basa, you can enjoy white fish grilled, steamed, BBQed or marinated for a tasty, light meal that compliments any weight related goals.
All varieties of shellfish including prawns, oysters and mussels stand out as superfoods thanks to the extremely high amounts of Omega-3 fat, iron, zinc and iodine they offer per serve.
Shellfish is also high in protein and low in fat, which makes it a great meal addition or light meal when you are actively trying to lose weight.
Think a prawn salad, mussel pot or fresh oysters served with salad. Or if fresh shellfish is a little outside the budget, look for canned varieties that are both convenient and cost-effective options.
Leafy greens including spinach, rocket, and silver beet are known superfoods thanks for the powerful anti-cancer phytochemicals they naturally contain.
Leafy greens are also nutrient powerhouses, with extremely high amounts of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and folate. Ideally, we should consume at least two serves of leafy greens every day for optimal cellular health.
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In addition, replacing a meal each day with a veggie or salad with a leafy green base will not only support an overall calorie deficit and weight loss, but also healthy, glowing skin.
If you like it, cottage cheese is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can include in your diet, especially if you are looking to reduce calories. Half a cup contains just 100 calories along with more than 12g of protein, plus plenty of calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B12.
Cottage cheese is super versatile as well: a perfect topping for toast, in wraps and sandwiches or to enjoy with fruit and nuts, it is an easy way to significantly increase your intake of protein, for very few extra calories.
Whilst all berries are good for us, blueberries stand out when it comes to health and longevity. With exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, they are a rich source of Vitamin C whilst also being relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. An entire punnet of blueberries contains just 80 calories and 3g of dietary fibre.
This makes blueberries, when in season, as they are at the moment, a smart daily snack when you are keeping a close eye on your calorie intake.
Greek yoghurt not only contains less sugar than the average store-bought fruit yoghurt, but it is much higher in protein, which helps to keep your blood glucose levels regulated throughout the day.
For an even better option, seek out the growing range of high protein Greek yoghurts on the market. They're a nutrient rich food that can be enjoyed with oats for breakfast, as a filling snack, in smoothies and protein shakes, or even in salad and roast vegetable dressings.
All nuts are good options nutritionally but almonds are an especially smart choice if you're eating for weight control, as they are particularly high in protein.
Just 30g - or roughly 15 almonds - offers more than 6g of plant-based protein, almost 4g of dietary fibre, more than 1/3 of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin E, as well as significant amounts of magnesium, Vitamin B2, selenium, copper and zinc.
While all nuts do contain a significant amount of fat, (roughly 12g per 30g serve of almonds), it has also been shown that not all the calories in almonds are absorbed in the body, making them a smart snack option when the goal is fat loss.