Pantry Essentials for Healthy Weight Loss
Want to lose some weight and not sure where to begin?
Making over your kitchen is a perfect place to start and is an essential part of your journey to better health.
It's difficult, if not impossible to succeed in achieving a healthy weight if you are constantly surrounded by processed, unhealthy foods.
You may not be able to control the type of foods at your workplace or school, but you can definitely stock your fridge and pantry for weight loss success.
Here are our Top 12 Favourite Foods to help with Healthy Weight Loss.
Protein is essential for sustainable slimming. It provides the body with a slow releasing source of energy and is essential for maintaining lean muscle mass – our in-built fat burner.
Choose your protein sources wisely for the most health benefits. Avoid conventionally raised meats, fish and poultry, as these can be packed full of growth hormones, antibiotics and pro-inflammatory fats.
Instead, choose wild fish, organic or genuine free range poultry, eggs and meats. Grass fed (pasture raised) meat also contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid, an anti-oxidant fat which significantly improves body composition.
Vegetarian sources of protein include raw nuts and seeds, legumes, organic tofu and tempeh and good quality protein supplements.
Dietary fibre is a complex carbohydrate that cannot be digested. Both soluble and insoluble fibre encourage healthy weight loss or management by helping us to feel fuller for longer after eating, slowing the absorption of dietary sugars and promoting bowel regularity.
The most benefit comes from eating fibre from fresh fruits,veggies and legumes as these contain a load of other healthful nutrients. You can also try adding a fibre supplement such as Omega Fibre to your daily diet – this is delicious in smoothies and has additional hormone balancing effects too!
3. Healthy fats
Regardless of what you may have heard, good fats don't make you fat! Fat is necessary for the production of hormones, healthy nervous system and cardiovascular function. It even improves skin health for a more youthful appearance!
Medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil can assist weight loss through stimulating thermogenesis, improving appetite control and enhancing general metabolic health. Omega 3 fats from fish oil and flaxseed oil also help to improve weight management through decreasing inflammation and improving blood sugar regulation via increased insulin sensitivity.
4. Green tea
Green tea is one of the oldest medicinal herbs traditionally used for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Research shows that catechins (ECGC) in green tea support healthy fat loss, particularly around the abdomen and improve body composition through stimulating thermogenesis (fat burning).
Green tea also has detoxifying and cardioprotective effects.
Drink 3-5 cups of organic green tea daily for the best effects, but avoid having it with meals as it may reduce the absorption of nutrients like iron.
5. Super Greens
When it comes to weight loss and detoxification, super greens and veggies are your best friend.
Wether you eat them as a salad, sauté them as a side dish or blend them into a smoothie, dark green leafy veggies like spinach, kale and silverbeet will boost your nutrient intake substantially to keep you feeling at the top of your game.
Including at least 3-5 servings (cup full) of greens daily will stabilise your energy levels, alkalise your body, keep your bowels moving and help to reduce any cravings for unhealthy junk foods. Give your green intake an extra boost with a concentrated greens supplement such as Synergy Premium Super Greens.
Edible seaweeds are a great source of metabolism-boosting micronutrients such as iodine which is essential for thyroid health.
They are also rich in fibre which absorbs water in the gut to help increase satiety and reduce hunger.
Try adding seaweeds such as wakame or kombu to broths and miso soups, or prepare a seaweed mix as a salad with sliced cucumber and sesame seeds. You can also use kelp granules or dulse flakes as seasoning for your meals.
Even easier, start off with some brown rice sushi which is wrapped in nori.
7. Spices – Cinnamon and chilli
Getting hot in the kitchen is another great way to start cutting the kg's. Researchers have revealed that capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat of red chilli peppers can curb appetite, improve blood sugar control and increase fat burning.
Cinnamon is another useful weight loss aid. It is great for balancing blood sugars to reduce sweet cravings and stabilise energy levels throughout the day.
Include 1/2 – 1 tsp of each of these spices in your diet daily for optimal effects.
Berries are low GI fruits rich in antioxidant compounds, fibre and nutrients like vitamin C.
Blueberries in particular have been studied for their weight loss benefits and have been found to improve cardiovascular disease markers and metabolic health due to their high polyphenol content.
Add a handful of berries (fresh or frozen) to a delicious breakfast smoothie, mix them into some yoghurt with nuts and seeds or use them to top a 'sweet omelette' with ground cinnamon for a high-protein snack.
9. Raw nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin E. They are also a great source of dietary fibre and protein for snacks between meals.
Include up to one handful of mixed nuts and seeds in your diet daily and experiment with how you eat them to keep you coming back for more!
It is easy to make your own nut or seed milks – vanilla almond milk is a delicious dairy alternative, just soak some almonds overnight and blend with water and a small amount of vanilla essence the next day.
You can also crush nuts and seeds and turn them into homemade protein balls with some tahini, honey and protein powder or splash them with some tamari and lightly roast them for a crunchy savoury snack.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Good digestion is the key to healthy weight management. Without it, bloating, sluggish bowels, indigestion and reflux become daily occurrences and may cause you to stack on the weight.
While it may seem like weight gain is caused by excess nutrition, obese people are often malnourished from eating calorie-rich nutrient-poor foods and can struggle to absorb the nutrients they do eat.
Having a couple of teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in half a glass of water before meals helps to enhance digestion to improve food break down and nutrient absorption. Acetic acid in ACV is also known to balance blood sugar levels, suppress the accumulation of body fat and may help to decrease appetite.
Rich in protein, probiotics and calcium, natural yoghurt is a valuable weapon for weight loss.
Probiotics boost gut health to banish bloating, balance intestinal bacteria and support bowel detoxification, while adequate calcium intake is linked to healthy weight regulation and supports musculoskeletal health.
Did you know the type of bacteria in your intestines can contribute to weight gain?
If you can tolerate dairy, include a serving of natural, unsweetened yoghurt (preferably organic) in your daily diet. Make it into a delicious snack by mixing it with raw nuts, seeds and berries, or try adding some grated cucumber and lemon juice to make a zesty accompaniment for savoury dishes.
12. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa may support weight loss and weight management through its positive effects on mood and metabolism.
It is no wonder we often eat it as a quick 'pick me up'.
Cocoa has been found to boost serotonin levels which helps to reduce overeating and curb carb cravings. Cocoa also enhances cardiovascular health, improves fat metabolism and stimulates thermogenesis.
Like most things, Cocoa should be eaten in moderation. Research shows as little as one square of dark chocolate per day can be beneficial to health.