Whether we like to admit it or not: summer is just a few short weeks away.
And the majority of us are in the same boat, and really need to start tightening up our diets for the next eight or so weeks! The good news is that we do not need to go cold turkey on the foods that we enjoy, but if we make a few minor adjustments to what we consume we will end up shaving those extra few pounds off & be summer ready with a lot less effort than we originally thought we needed.
We’ve put together a list of 5 key tips you should consider working into your lifestyle over the next eight weeks.
1. Load up on Vegetables
While the term ‘superfood’ is thrown around very loosely these days – it’s fair to say that quite a few vegetables could claim this title. Vegetables contain a massive variety of minerals and vitamins and so should be a staple of any healthy diet. When it comes to summer however, vegetables also take on an entirely new benefit, and that is centred around how they are incredibly low in calories per 100g.
When seasoned & prepared properly, vegetables can be delicious and satiating, and bulking your meals out with a high amount of vegetables can satisfy your hunger and save you big on calories. 100g of broccoli contains about 30/35 calories, which is less than 10% of what the same serving of rice or pasta contains.
Start adding a wide range of vegetables to your meals and cut down on the size of the portions of your rices and pastas – and save lots of calories!
2. Cooking Oils & Sprays
Although Olive & Rapeseed Oils contain lots of healthy fats & add a delicious flavour to your meals, if you are cooking your meals in them, or adding them to your salad or meals – you must monitor this. By no means must you cut them out, but using them in excess is an extremely bad idea if you’re looking to lose weight!
This is because of the calorie content in them. A tablespoon of Olive Oil can contain over 150 calories, which will be absorbed by your food on the pan – and often we use a lot more than a single tablespoon!
Our recommendation for this is to purchase a 1cal spray which are available in most supermarkets. Add a drizzle of oil for taste once you’re done cooking, but ensure you’re keeping an eye on how much you use. It’s easy to forget to factor in the oils you cook your food in, and so this can hamper your weight-loss journey.
3. Use Lean Portions of Meat
Our suggestion here is to incorporate meats such as turkey breast, chicken breast & lean beef/steak for your sources of protein. Let’s compare two kinds of mince beef, that are usually sitting innocuously beside each other in the supermarket. Very rarely do we take into consideration the fat content on the containers. One may be 15% fat, and one may be 5% fat.
The difference in fat content leads to a huge difference in calories. Let’s use the portion sizes we use here at Clean Cut Meals. 200g of raw mince at 15% contains 180 calories more than 200g of raw mince at 5%. Both contain the same amount of protein, but you could be saving 180 calories by simply checking the fat content on the package.
Turkey breast & Chicken breast are incredibly lean sources of meat, with turkey containing roughly 1% fat, and chicken 3/4%. These are ideal sources for those eating in accordance for goals!
4. Use Herbs & Spices
Time to release your inner Gordon Ramsey & start learning how to season your food. If your meal is seasoned correctly, you can avoid having to use calorie-laden sauces that will inevitably push you into a calorie surplus and majorly affect your weight-management goals.
Home-made curries using coconut milk & curry paste, salad dressings, pestos etc are surprisingly high in calories, and you can use some calorie-free herbs & spices to add flavour to your dishes instead!
5. Avoid Processed Foods.
This may seem like a relatively obvious tip: but most of us do not know why we are avoiding these processed foods. The first thing we recommend doing is having a look at the ingredient list of what each product contains. If you are having trouble recognising quite a few of the ingredients, or find that for a fairly simple food there are lots of ingredients – we’d recommend seeking an alternative.
One thing that is usually common on all ingredient lists is sugar – in some shape or form. Excess sugar causes insulin resistance, along with being linked to a whole host of diseases. Eating these processed foods often invigorates cravings for more of these foods – rather than providing the long-lasting satisfaction from eating whole foods!