A good enough diet that’s realistically easy enough to stick to is 100% better than a theoretically perfect diet that’s unrealistic and won’t be stuck to.
Part of being realistic means being honest about which dietary logistics bother you the most. For me? One of those is cooking. I hate cooking. I hate cleaning up after cooking even more. If I had to slave away in the kitchen for hours a day to make my diet work I’d surely give up in a matter of weeks.
A lot of people think they have to become a sous chef if they want to eat healthy. But this isn’t true — healthy eating and easy eating are not mutually exclusive. In fact, on the tail end of my weight loss journey, I never ate anything that took more than 5 minutes to prep in the kitchen.
I’m going to share with you my top 10 weight loss foods that are also really easy to prep.
1. Eggs and Egg Whites
Eggs are arguably the best source of nutritious protein you can find, and prep wise they’re about as easy as it gets. I like to add liquid egg whites to the mix to up the protein ratio. Just throw a little butter in a skillet and fry them up, or scramble them, it doesn’t matter. You can chop up some produce like tomatoes or avocado and dump it in the mix to add some flavor.
Smoothies are a godsend for people looking to get more plant based nutrition. But lets get real: prepping, cooking, and chewing through boring vegetables is a hassle. Instead, you can get a high powered blender (Vitamix and Blendtec are the best on the market) and concoct an infinitely wide array of nutritious smoothies. My personal favorite? A homemade blended v8.
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ beet (peeling optional)
- 1 cup/handful parsley
- 1 thumb sized hunk of ginger
- ¼ lemon, peeled
- 1 medium stalk of celery and/or 1 cup/handful of spinach
You get nearly a pound of vegetables in you that will keep you full for hours, and it’s only ~150 calories.
3. Canned Salmon
If you’re not a cooker, getting enough protein is always a challenge. One of the best ways to meet your protein requirements is with canned fish — No kitchen prep required. Add some lemon juice, salt, pepper, and a tbsp of olive oil to give it some texture and flavor. Or try throwing in some hummus and chopped celery or peppers.
Asparagus is a choice green vegetable for fitness models because it’s nutritious as well as slightly diuretic to help your kidneys flush out the system. It’s also stupidly easy to prep. Just brush a bunch in olive oil and throw it in a toaster oven for ~10 minutes or fry it on a skillet.
5. Cruciferous Medley
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are the stereotypical king of weight loss foods for a good reason: They are highly nutritious, highly filling, and very low in sugar and overall calories. You can make a decent tasting medley very easily. Just throw a bunch of broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts into a bowl and mix with salt, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, and onion powder, then bake it in the oven on a tray for ~15 minutes. Super easy.
6. Greek Yogurt
It’s become one of the most popular go to snacks because it’s low calorie, high protein, and very filling. Casein based dairy protein takes a long time to digest and keeps people full for hours.
7. Cottage Cheese
If you need to up your protein intake, then cottage cheese is even more superior to greek yogurt, and has the same filling effects. Add some chopped strawberries or blueberries to give it some flavor if you wish.
8. Crockpot Chicken Breast
Chicken is the proverbial staple of bodybuilders — it’s cheap, filling, high protein, and low calorie. The problem? A plain, flavorless, rubbery broiled chicken breast might be the most depressing thing to eat on this planet.
However, making decent tasting and tender chicken breast is very easy with a crock pot. You literally just stack in 4 or so breasts, season with some salt and pepper, and put it on high for 2.5-3 hours. You don’t need to marinate or anything like that, because the chicken will simmer in it’s own juice and come out very tender.
With less than 5 minutes of work, you can have a few days worth of chicken breast ready to go at all times.
9. Coffee or Tea
Most fat loss supplements are garbage marketing gimmicks, but one exception is America’s drug of choice: caffeine. Caffeine has been scientifically shown to curb hunger.
What I do is drink caffeine in small even doses throughout the morning and early afternoon. I mix ~4oz of coffee with hot water and have 3 or 4 of those drinks between ~8am and 2pm. If I stop by then I’ll have no problem falling asleep on time.
If you’re caffeine sensitive, try green tea or mint tea instead. Or, one of my favorites, ginger tea. Any of those will help curb hunger and help you with your daily water requirement to, which leads me to…
I had to include this because it always needs to be reiterated: Drinking enough water on a diet (and in general) is absolutely crucial. The thirst and hunger mechanisms are often confused with one another. Many people who feel hungry are actually thirsty, which makes sense because most animals get a significant portion of their water requirement from the food they eat.
Depending on your climate, a good starting point is to try and drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day. Also be sure you’re getting enough electrolytes with salts or alkaline based plant foods.
At the end of the day, the weight loss battle stems on burning more calories than you consume over time, one way or another. Thus, the best strategy for most people is to focus on eating highly filling low calorie foods like the ten suggestions above.
But… It’s also important to be honest with yourself about what you’re actually willing to do. For me, slaving away in the kitchen daily is not one of them. That’s why I focus on viable food choices that require little to no kitchen prep.
Featured photo credit: cyclonebill/Vagtel-spejlæg via commons.wikimedia.org