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Published on January 1, 2021

7 Homemade Diet Foods That Are Good For Your Health

7 Homemade Diet Foods That Are Good For Your Health

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.

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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.[1]

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.

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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.[2]

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.[3]

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.

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5. Kimchi

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.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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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.[7]

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!

7. Kefir

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

Final Thoughts

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.

More Healthy Foods For Weight Loss

Featured photo credit: Brooke Lark via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lisa Richards

Nutritionist, Creator of The Candida Diet, Owner of TheCandidaDiet.com

6 Health Benefits Of Probiotics (Backed By Science) How to Stop Overeating the Healthy Way (Step-by-Step Guide) 8 Best Natural Energy Drinks For An Instant Energy Boost 6 Health Benefits of Turmeric (And How to Take It for Good) 7 Homemade Diet Foods That Are Good For Your Health

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement it into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Intermittent Fasting Schedules

There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

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The 16/8 Method

This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

    The 5:2 Method

    This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

    5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

      Alternate-Day Fasting

      As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

      Alternate Day Fasting
        The Warrior Diet

        This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

        Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

        The Warrior Diet

          Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

          1. Drink Plenty of Water

          Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

          2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

          The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge, as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

          3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

          One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes you to overeat.

          4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

          The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

          To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

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          5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

          While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

          Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

          You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

          How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

          Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

          Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

          “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

          Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

          This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[5].

          Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

          Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[6].

          The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

          Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

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          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

          One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[7].

          This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fat-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

          Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

          Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

          Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

          How Much Weight Will I Lose?

          The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors.

          One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

          Can I Work out While Fasting?

          Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

          If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

          You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

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          Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

          Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

          Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

          First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen.

          If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

          Is Fasting Safe?

          As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

          I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when you aren’t able to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

          Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

          As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to make sure your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

          For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

          The Bottom Line

          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

          More About Intermittent Fasting

          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

          Reference

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