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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

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Published on January 14, 2021

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week

Meal plans are a great way to cut down waste, make shopping for food quicker and easier, and help you to stick to healthy choices. But where do you start? What makes a healthy meal plan for the week, and how do you know what to include?

Firstly, there is no healthy meal plan that works for everyone. At different stages of your life, you will need different levels of nutrients, but there are some general principles that you can follow, and then adjust as necessary. Here’s how to create a healthy meal plan for the week.

The Backbone of Your Healthy Meal Plan

For the vast majority of adults, these practical tips should be the backbone of your meal plan:

  • A range of fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain carbohydrates (brown rice, brown bread, millet, bulgar wheat, etc)
  • Fermented food such as kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut
  • Unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, rapeseed oil, avocados, and nuts
  • Two portions of oily fish such as salmon per week (or nuts and seeds if you don’t eat fish)
  • A handful of nuts and seeds a day
  • Aim for 30g of fiber a day
  • Eat a range of beans and pulses (such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and lentils)
  • Drink approximately 8 glasses of water a day[1]

Calorie Counting

A calorie is the energy required to raise the temperature of 1g water from 14.5 to 15.5°Celsius. This is calculated in a laboratory, by burning the food. However, the food is not “burnt” in our bodies, and people’s metabolism and energy expenditure vary, so it’s a very rough estimate.

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The absorption and, therefore, how much energy is available for you to use, is also affected by how the food is processed. An example of this is sweetcorn. If you grind it down into a powder and make a tortilla, you will absorb far more calories than if you eat whole sweetcorn kernels. Instead, you will see most of the kernels untouched, in the toilet!

Another concern with calories is that instead of thinking about nutrient quality, it promotes prioritizing quantity. For example, there is a huge difference in the number of nutrients you could consume in 500 calories of fruit and vegetables, versus 500 calories of ice cream.

Also the number of calories you need varies according to so many factors, such as age, gender, lifestyle, and activity level, that it is hard to accurately predict exactly how many you need. Instead, I prefer to recommend a general principle of how to balance your plate and a reminder to eat mindfully when you are physically hungry, not because of an emotional trigger.

How to Balance Your Plate

When thinking of your healthy meal plan, for each meal your plate should contain approximately:

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  • Fruit and vegetables (1/2 plate)
  • Whole grains (1/4 plate)
  • Lean protein (1/4 plate)
  • A spoon of unsaturated oil

This will help you when you think of each meal to work out what to include and approximate portion sizes.

An Example Day

Breakfast

  • Overnight oats, with chia seeds, quinoa and milk or fortified plant based milk
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • A handful of mixed nuts

Lunch

  • Grilled tofu with a mixed salad and bulgar wheat
  • A piece of fruit

Snack

  • Apple slices with nut butter

Dinner

  • Chicken / tofu / salmon with miso brown rice and spring greens
  • OR vegetable curry, daal, and brown rice
  • OR stuffed aubergine with mixed vegetables and millet or quinoa
  • A piece of fruit

How to Adjust Your Meal Plan

There are certain phases when more or less nutrients are needed, so it is important to consider your changing needs.

When You’re Pregnant

During your pregnancy, you should limit oily fish to once a week, and only 2 tuna steaks or 4 medium sized cans of tuna per week, because of the risk of pollution.

You should also avoid the following food groups:

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  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Unpasteurized cheese
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Pâté
  • Swordfish, shark, and marlin
  • Homemade ice-cream with raw egg
  • Soft-serve ice cream from vans or kiosks
  • Vitamin A supplements
  • Liquorice root
  • Alcohol

When You’re Breastfeeding

While you are breastfeeding, your body needs more calcium (1250mg), selenium (70mcg), and iodine (200mcg). Ensure that you include these in your meal plan.

When Going Through Menopause

Menopause

changes your long-term risk of disease, so it is important to focus on items that help support bone and heart health. The framework above already sets out a diet to support long term heart health, but for bone health aim for:

  • 1200mg calcium per day
  • High-quality protein at every meal
  • Foods rich in vitamin K
  • Foods rich in phosphorus
  • Foods rich in magnesium

Organizing Your Shopping

Once you have completed your healthy meal plan for the week, you can save the ingredients that you regularly need to an online shopping list, in order to make repeat ordering simpler. Some recipe books also now have a QR code so that you can easily synchronize the ingredients needed with your online shopping.

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Try to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables where possible, but canned beans, frozen, dried, and freeze dried fruit make great substitutes for fresh, retaining most of the nutrients.

Final Thoughts

Creating a healthy meal plan for the week may be daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll become a fun addition to your weekly planning, and one that will ultimately improve your overall lifestyle. Try to use the general feedback above and adapt it to your own specific needs. Enjoy looking for new and exciting recipes to include in your plan!

More on Healthy Eating

Featured photo credit: Ello via unsplash.com

Reference

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