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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

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17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

Fitness is not limited to workouts. In fact, your workout is just the beginning. Proper nutrition and supplementation are key components for a well-rounded fitness plan.

This article not only provides healthy nutritional alternatives, but tips on which foods are best before and after a workout.

Before your workout, your body needs calories. Not just any old calories, not empty calories, but calories that will fuel your workout with energy. After your workout, your muscles need replenishment, so it’s just as important to eat not long after exercise.

The following recipes contain essential nutrients: Protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They are not only delicious and nutritious, these recipes will help you burn fat and gain lean mass. Not to mention, they are filling, easy, and don’t require a lot or prep time.

1. 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad

    Got 15 minutes? This is a great post-workout meal. It contains Omega-3 oil, protein, potassium, carbohydrates and a host of other nutrients to help replenish those lost during exercise. This Tex-Mex Chicken Salad is courtesy of Registered Dietician Matthew Kadey.

    Check out the recipe here: 15-Minute Tex-Mex Chicken Salad, Muscle & Fitness

    2. Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink

      Think about it. Our bodies lose a lot of water during exercise, leaving us dehydrated. And what’s one of the natural supplements to replace lost electrolytes? Coconut water.

      After a spin class, Crossfit, or HIIT, a Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink is perfect. Chia seeds are full of “good” carbs, mostly fiber, which means your body digests them slowly, keeping your hunger at bay. Bananas contain potassium which helps to curtail muscle cramps. Just blend and go!

      Here’s the recipe from the “Minimalist Baker:” Chocolate Chia Recovery Drink

      3. Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats

        Let’s face it, getting to the gym is hard enough. Who has time to muster up all kinds of ingredients, cook, and consume? Prepare Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats. Full of fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates, this filling meal awaits you in the morning.

        The antioxidants in the blueberries will help kick up and spit out free radicals that exists in the body, making way for smooth cellular activity. Prep time: Five minutes!

        Here you go: Blueberry-Almond Overnight Oats

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        4. Asian Jalapeno Chicken

          Boost your metabolism! Spicy foods are great for speeding up your metabolism. They contain the almighty chemical, capsaicin, which will shift your body – and weight loss – into high gear!

          If you can take the heat, get this perfect combination of protein and spiciness here: Damn Delicious Asian Jalapeno Chicken

          5. Fat-Burning Chef Salad

            Getting lean can require a lot of discipline for some people, but when you eat tasty foods, like eggs, smoked turkey, and an abundance of greens, your goal is more attainable.

            Certain foods have fat-burning properties, such as turkey breast, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, onion, raw vegetables, and many others. Whether you’re getting in shape for a wedding or the beach, this salad will get you ready!

            Check out the recipe here: Fat-Burning Chef Salad

            6. High-Protein Chicken Meatballs

              Protein shakes aren’t the only way to put on mass. It’s always preferable to consume real food as the body digests these more efficiently.

              High-protein meals are best for gaining muscle mass, so if you want to get buffed or toned, a combination of protein, complex carbs, and heavy weight-training will get you there. Get the recipe, then get to the gym!

              Here’s the recipe: High Protein Chicken Meatballs Recipe

              7. Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake

                If you do, however, enjoy the convenience of a protein shake, make your own.

                While it’s tempting to grab a protein bar or ready-to-drink protein shake, these usually contain ingredients which classify them as inflammatory foods. Unless you want to be bloated, steer clear.

                This Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake has a whopping 58 grams of protein, it’s a powerful source of fuel for athletes, and it tastes incredible!

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                Here’s the recipe: Peanut Butter Banana Bulking Protein Shake Recipe

                8. The Best Protein Brownies

                  Not a quick recipe but worth the wait, these melt-in-your-mouth brownies provide just the right amount of protein and “good carbs,” not to mention decadent dark chocolate.

                  So, if you’re the type who skips dessert due to guilt, you can enjoy these brownies with a clear conscience. Don’t forget to complement them with a nice cold glass of unsweetened almond milk.

                  For The Best Protein Brownies, go here: The Best Protein Brownies

                  9. Trainer Terri’s Light ‘N Healthy Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice

                    Yours truly loves Chinese Fried Rice so I came up with a way to remove all of the oily fats and sodium that are typical of this dish while maintaining the flavor. It’s packed with vegetables and healthy carbs, so if you need a little energy before your workout.

                    Try my recipe here: Light ‘n Healthy Chinese Fried Rice

                    10. Stuffed Bell Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables

                      Vitamins A and C are your friends when it comes to maintaining healthy immune system, and bell peppers contain them both.

                      This recipe for stuffed bell peppers is the complete package, with protein, vitamins, metabolism-boosters, Omega-3 oil, antioxidants, and potassium.

                      Check it out here: Stuffed Peppers with Turkey and Vegetables

                      11. Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples

                        Not getting enough fiber in your diet? If you’re irregular or you often feel hungry, it could be that your body isn’t getting enough of this much-needed nutrient.

                        Soluble fiber, like oats, beans, barley, and even Brussel sprouts digest slowly which keep you from feeling hungry. You are sure to cut back on grazing throughout your day when you incorporate more fiber into your diet. Happy eating!

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                        Here’s the recipe: Skillet Chicken with Cranberries & Apples

                        12. Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad

                          Big on carbs? Try this wonderful medley of green peas, pasta shells, and rotisserie chicken and you’ll be in carbohydrate heaven.

                          Loaded with B vitamins, the green peas will serve as good source of energy. This recipe yields four servings so you’ll have plenty left over for your lunchtime meal at work.

                          Here’s the recipe: Herby Pea and Lemon Pasta Salad

                          13. No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                            Not in the mood for carbs? Try these low-carb chicken lettuce wraps that have fewer than 8 grams of carbohydrates.

                            With minimal prep, this meal is great when you don’t feel like cooking. Kids will be so focused on the chicken they’ll forget that it is wrapped in a vegetable.

                            Get the recipe here: No-Cook Chicken Lettuce Wraps

                            14. Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

                              In the winter months, instead of seeking out a good soup at a restaurant, you can have soup du jour in your own home!

                              Rather than use drugs, like Ibuprofen, turmeric is a natural source of relief to alleviate inflammation in joints and muscles. This anti-inflammatory-detox soup is perfect when snuggling under a blanket while watching a movie.

                              Get the recipe here: Turmeric Tomato Detox Soup

                              15. Almond Snowballs

                                The holidays just aren’t the same without cookies. These Almond Snowballs are yummy as an after-dinner dessert or to share at office holiday parties, or even as a reward after your workout.

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                                This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, a refined carbohydrate, and sugar, both of which have a high glycemic index, causing your blood sugar to spike. These ingredients can be substituted with almond flour which is high in healthy fats and fiber, and Stevia, a sweetener that has zero calories and is plant-based.

                                Get Rachael Ray’s recipe: Almond Snowballs

                                16. Avo-Tahini Toast

                                  Avocado toast has become a healthy trend that is now popularly-featured on restaurant menus.

                                  It only takes four minutes to prepare, unless you add the boiled eggs, which could take another ten minutes but will add protein to this toasty treat.

                                  The Omega-3 fat from the avocado and the fiber from the whole grain bread will leave you satisfied and full. A great pre-workout meal!

                                  Get the recipe here: Avo-Tahini Toast

                                  17. Salmon Salad Sandwich

                                    You’ll look at a fish sandwich differently with this 15-minute meal. Perfect for lunch, this high-protein, high-fiber, Omega-3-rich Salmon Salad sandwich serves four, which is great for a small luncheon with friends.

                                    You can even serve them as hors d’oeuvres for a dinner party by cutting the sandwiches into fourths and pin them together with toothpicks.

                                    Get the recipe here: Salmon Salad Sandwich

                                    Final Words

                                    It is important to consume the aforementioned nutrient-based meals 45 minutes to an hour, both before and after your workout. If not, your body will use muscle for fuel instead of nutrients and, ultimately, you will lose lean muscle mass and become flabby.

                                    There is also the risk of getting light-headed and fainting due to low blood sugar as well as poor brain function, nausea, and, of course, you won’t achieve optimal exercise performance.[1]

                                    Featured photo credit: Christian Kaindl via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

                                    More by this author

                                    Terri West

                                    Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutrition Specialist

                                    The Best Cardio for Weight Loss (and Routines to Try) 7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance The Best Fitness Plan for You Based on Your Body Type Try These Flexibility Stretches to Enhance Your Daily Workout 17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious

                                    Trending in Diet & Nutrition

                                    1 What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work? 2 13 High-Protein And Low-Fat Foods For A Healthy Diet 3 13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach) 4 How to Break a Fast When You’re Intermittent Fasting 5 How to Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks: 20 Simple Tips

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                                    Published on August 24, 2021

                                    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

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                                    What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

                                    I’ve been a dietitian now for a long time (more years than I care to mention), and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that fad diets are best avoided. This is why I’m so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

                                    Rather than a “diet,” I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, it’s delicious and—in my opinion—not limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

                                    A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

                                    • Fruit
                                    • Vegetables
                                    • Whole grains
                                    • Lean protein
                                    • Nuts
                                    • Water

                                    This is essentially all a whole food diet is. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accepted definition of the whole food diet, which means that there are some highly restrictive versions around and some involve principles to frame your diet around rather than strict rules.

                                    Read on to learn more about the whole food diet as a framework for eating rather than a strict rule book of dos and don’ts that restricts your lifestyle.

                                    What Is a Whole Food Diet?

                                    By definition, a whole food diet consists of eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of organic, local, or pesticide-free, but a whole food diet is basically food in its most natural form. Obviously, spices can be ground and grains can be hulled, but you get the idea. You eat the whole food rather than what’s left after being refined or processed.

                                    In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

                                    Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

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                                    Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets?

                                    Here’s where it gets confusing—yes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

                                    For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:[1]

                                    • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
                                    • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
                                    • Berries five times a week
                                    • Five or more servings of nuts a week
                                    • Olive oil five times a week
                                    • Whole grains five times a week
                                    • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
                                    • Legumes and pulses five times a week
                                    • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
                                    • Vitamin D supplement
                                    • Minimally processed foods
                                    • No more than one glass of wine a day
                                    • One or two coffee or tea a day max
                                    • Two liters of water a day

                                    That’s pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

                                    Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so it’s important to read labels really carefully. But it’s only some, not all.

                                    And here’s where it gets woolly. If you don’t need to eliminate certain food groups for whatever reason—ethical, health, religion—then a whole food diet can be great. But if you do exclude certain foods, then it could be beneficial to include certain “processed” foods. This is to make sure that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

                                    Processed Foods That Are Okay on a Whole Food Diet

                                    Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.

                                    For example, vitamin B12 (needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and mood-regulation), is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians don’t take a B vitamin supplement.[2]

                                    So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.

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                                    As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.

                                    Benefits of a Whole Food Diet

                                    In a 2014 analysis by Yale University, they concluded that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”[3]

                                    A diet rich in fruit and vegetables or other high-fiber foods like whole grains and nuts is really important in maintaining good long-term health and preventing health problems like diabetes and cancers. These kinds of foods also help our bodies to cope and control the effects of inflammation.

                                    In fact, one review from 2019 stated that “diets high in plant foods could potentially prevent several million premature deaths each year if adopted globally.”[4] This is a big endorsement for a whole food diet.

                                    Whole Foods and the Gut

                                    Whole foods are loaded with fibers that are sometimes lost during processing or refinement. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut because aside from its traditional “roughage” reputation, it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, providing a whole host of other benefits.

                                    They also provide a lot of variety, which the gut loves. The more variety, the better. So, even though you might fall in love with certain recipes, it’s important to mix up the kinds of whole foods you eat to maintain a healthy gut. Aim for 30 different whole foods each week. It’s easier than you think!

                                    Whole Foods and the Brain

                                    The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best is—you guessed it—a whole, unprocessed food.

                                    In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s.[5]

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                                    Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:[6]

                                    • Oily fish
                                    • Nuts
                                    • Eggs
                                    • Berries
                                    • Broccoli
                                    • Whole grains

                                    Is It Easy to Follow a Whole Food Diet?

                                    Once you’ve got your head around having “ingredients” rather than “ready-to-eat” things in your kitchen cupboards, it’s actually very easy. The only issue is the lifestyle and habit changes that come along with it.

                                    It is very likely that for many people, following a totally, religiously whole food diet may be unattainable at least some of the time. For example, there are days where you don’t get time to make your lunch or if you want to enjoy social eating. Similarly, people who have young children or who are working more than one job are unlikely to be able to follow a whole food diet all of the time.

                                    Sometimes, we put ourselves under pressure to be as perfect as we can with diets like this, which can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia, which is a preoccupation with healthy eating.

                                    This means that following a whole food diet, in principle, can be healthy and accessible for some people but not for everyone. It also means that those with previous disordered eating, as always, need to avoid any form of dietary restriction or rules around their diet.

                                    Is a Whole Food Diet Boring?

                                    Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.

                                    Here’s my advice if you’re just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. You’ll use them all the time in sauces.

                                    Best Hacks for Sticking With a Whole Food Diet

                                    Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.

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                                    1. Practice Batch Cooking

                                    Especially in the beginning, if you’ve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, you’re likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, I’d suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, you’ll have enough quantity to last several meals.

                                    For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and that’s breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

                                    I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.

                                    2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods

                                    Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

                                    Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.

                                    If you’ve got a container of carrot sticks on hand or can happily munch on a few pieces of melon from the fridge, use those—it’s almost easier than grabbing something from a package. This can extend to your other vegetables, too. If you get your veg delivered or buy it from a market, choose a few things to slice after you wash them. That way, if you need a speedy lunch or a lazy dinner, it’ll be ready in minutes.

                                    Ready to Try a Whole Food Diet?

                                    If you’re looking to maximize your overall health, well-being, and vitality, I’d absolutely suggest a whole food diet. But, as with everything, it’s important to do what works for you and your own lifestyle.

                                    Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel – Restaurant Photographer via unsplash.com

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