Trying to lose a few pounds doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself, nor does it mean subsisting on lettuce leaves, carrots, and low-fat spreads. In fact, many low-calorie foods will only do you more harm than good. For a start, many are devoid of nutrients, which means they won’t provide any of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly. Worst of all, most people just end up piling the weight back on when they start eating ‘normally’ again!
Good diet foods are real foods. These are foods that are low in sugar and calories, but they also contain a healthy balance of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They should provide you with slow-release energy and keep you feeling satisfied. They should also be nutritious enough to keep your metabolism burning over several hours.
Here’s my pick of some good diet foods to keep you looking and feeling great.
1. Bircher Muesli
Bircher is a homemade blend of oats, fruit, nuts, and grains that have been soaked in water or milk overnight. Soaking the ingredients helps to make them more digestible, which means the nutrients are more easily absorbed by your body.
Bircher Muesli is not only a good diet food, but it is also rich in healthy complex carbs, protein, and fiber. It provides slow-burning energy that keeps you feeling satisfied throughout the day. It also contains everything you need to keep your blood sugar in balance so you don’t suffer from sugar cravings.
Best of all, you can make your Bircher Muesli and use only low-sugar ingredients—so it’s the perfect breakfast for a weight-loss diet!
A simple Bircher Muesli recipe can include oats, raisins, cinnamon, nuts, and applesauce. Simply combine, add low-fat milk or water, then stir in some grated apple. Place the ingredients in a glass jar, screw on the lid, and refrigerate for up to five days.
2. Homemade Bone Broth
Bone broth is not only one of the best diet foods, but it also has a huge range of health benefits. It’s especially good for an inflamed gut!
Bone broth contains an important amino called glutamine. Glutamine plays a major role in restoring the damaged lining of your gut. It helps to ‘glue’ those loose intestinal cells back together again, which is crucial for those who suffer from Leaky Gut Syndrome or IBS.((NCBI: Role of Glutamine in Protection of Intestinal Epithelial Tight Junctions))
Bone broth is low in calories. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A, calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and much more.
Making your own bone broth is simple. All you need is high-quality bones from roast chicken or beef (preferably organic) and some vegetables.
Place the bones in a large stockpot and pour filtered water over them. Add the bones and a little apple cider vinegar to help release the nutrients in the bones. You may like to add vegetables such as carrots, onions, and parsley for extra flavor and nutrition. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until done.
Beef broth usually takes around 48 hours while chicken or poultry broth is around 24 hours. You can then freeze the broth or keep it in the fridge for up to four days.
3. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are a fantastic source of plant-based omega-3. They’re also rich in protein and fiber. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain almost 10 grams of fiber—around 40 percent of your recommended daily intake.
Research shows that a high-fiber diet can help fast-track your weight loss. Some studies even suggest that eating up to 30 grams of fiber daily may help you lose as much weight as any ‘on-trend’ diet. And because chia seeds are rich in fiber, they keep you feeling full for longer. In this way, they can help prevent you from snacking or overeating.((PubMed.gov: A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations))
More importantly, the omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds can help to reduce inflammation, which has been linked to weight gain and obesity. You can also add natural sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit extract to reduce the glycemic index without compromising on taste.
Simply mix chia seeds with your preferred milk, cover, and refrigerate overnight. You can add more liquid as you need to get the consistency you like. Sweeten to taste and serve with blueberries on top.
Chia pudding can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.
4. Keto-Friendly Pancakes
Even if you’re not on the Keto diet, these protein-rich pancakes are one of the best diet foods out there. They’re quick and easy to make, and they provide plenty of slow-burning fuel to keep you powering through your day.
Replacing carbs and fat with protein can help reduce the levels of ‘hunger hormone’ circulating in your bloodstream while also boosting several satiety hormones. This helps to curb hunger pangs and result in fewer calories eaten throughout the day.((NCBI: The Influence of Higher Protein Intake and Greater Eating Frequency on Appetite Control in Overweight and Obese Men))
And yes, it’s possible to make pancakes without bananas, butter, or carbs! Keto pancakes can be made with protein powder and your favorite nut milk, such as almond or coconut. Simply combine protein powder, eggs, water or almond milk, and baking powder. Whisk everything together and cook in the pan just as you would cook ordinary pancakes.
Kimchi has been a staple of the Korean diet for centuries. It harbors a huge range of health benefits including weight loss.
Research has shown that eating fresh or fermented kimchi can help to reduce body fat and overall body mass index. Fermented kimchi has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, which is important for keeping those sugar cravings at bay. In fact, fermented kimchi appears to have even greater results in reducing blood pressure and body fat percentage than fresh kimchi.((ScienceDirect: Fermented kimchi reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight and obese patients))
It’s thought that the ‘good’ bacteria within kimchi are responsible for its effect on weight loss. It’s also low in calories and high in fiber. As a fermented food, kimchi is a powerful source of nutrients for your gut microbiome. It helps to crowd out ‘bad’ bacteria. It also supplies the nutrients that your body needs every day: iron, folate, and vitamins B6 and K.((The Candida Diet: Fermented Foods: A Shortcut To A Healthy Gut))
Kimchi is made using the process of Lacto-fermentation, which is also used to create sauerkraut and traditional dill pickles. To make your own kimchi, simply chop up a large cabbage and salt it. Rinse and drain the chopped cabbage, make a spice paste, and combine with other vegetables.
The salty brine kills off harmful bacteria, while the fermentation stage allows Lactobacillus bacteria (the good bacteria) to convert sugars into lactic acid. This is what preserves the vegetables and gives them flavor.
6. Golden Milk Latte
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of coconut oil for weight loss. Indeed, some research suggests that coconut oil is a good diet food to reduce belly fat. One study involving obese adults showed that consuming two tablespoons of coconut oil daily helped to reduce waist circumference in male adults.
Turmeric is also a possible weight loss aid! A study involving mice showed that turmeric supplementation led to weight loss and reduced body fat levels even when their diet was unchanged.((BalanceOne: 7 HEALTH BENEFITS OF TURMERIC: IT’S NOT JUST AN ANTI-INFLAMMATORY!))
A delicious turmeric latte can also help to heal a damaged gut. It’s rich in healthy fats to support energy and cognition and cinnamon for stabilizing your blood sugar. Some sources suggest that turmeric can reduce inflammation by 59 percent. This can help relieve aching joints and encourage your body to burn fat faster.((NCBI: Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health))
To make your own golden milk, simply heat light coconut milk or almond milk with 1 tsp. turmeric powder and a pinch of black pepper in a saucepan. Allow to cool, then drink!
Kefir is a fermented beverage traditionally made with cow’s or goat’s milk. Kefir grains are added to the milk which provides its health benefits. These grains are a combination of Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria and yeast that break down the proteins in the milk to make a fermented beverage with numerous nutritional benefits.
Research suggests that probiotic foods such as kefir milk and/or kefir yogurt can help rebalance the colonies of friendly bacteria in the gut, which can help reduce inflammation.((Healthline: 9 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Kefir)) Some studies have also indicated that kefir may help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This is because the bacteria in your gut play a major role in the breakdown of protein and fats. There is also some evidence that probiotics such as Lactobacillus bacteria can assist with weight loss, especially when several strains are consumed together.((Cambridge Core: Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomized controlled trial))
To make milk kefir, you’ll first need to get some starter grains. Add these to fresh milk in a large jar and cover with a coffee filter or muslin cloth. Secure with a rubber band and place the jar in a warm area of around 68°-85°F to develop.
Over the following 24 hours, the milk will become slightly thick and sweet-smelling. You can then place the kefir grains in a new batch of milk and store it in the refrigerator.((The Candida Diet: How To Make Your Own Kefir))
There you have it, 7 homemade diet foods that are good for your health and well-being. All of these are relatively easy to make, so preparation shouldn’t be hard. After all, maintaining a good diet shouldn’t be difficult.