There’s hundreds of thousands of lists like this all over the internet, designed by people wanting to give you the ultimate secret to weight loss. Despite there being so many lists out there I thought it was about time I wrote my own because, in my opinion, nobody has written the right list yet!
I love food and I love fitness… but most of all, I love food. Unfortunately, loving food can really be your downfall, something I’m reminded of time and time again. So how are you supposed to cope when you simply can’t see food as just fuel? How to you balance a love of cooking and eating with the desire to have a healthy body?
That’s easy… you learn how to make good food taste great. Seriously, even chicken, rice and broccoli is amazing when you do it right.
With that in mind, here’s my 7 favourite foods for weight loss.
#1 — Salt & Pepper
Steak. Chicken. Mashed potato. Pasta. Greens. Sweet potato. Fish. Salad sandwich. Hot chips. Pineapple.What do all of these foods have in common?They all taste better when you season them with salt and pepper.
Try this: Grill freshly sliced pineapple until warmed through, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt as soon as it comes off the grill… best pineapple ever!
#2 — Herbs & Spices
I’ve made an effort to learn a lot about herbs and spices over the past few years. Watch any cooking show and I guarantee the chef will be using herbs and spices. Why? Because they taste great! Consider any takeaway food you love: Indian, Chinese, even the local kebab shop… they all use herbs and spices. Start small and play around with using different spices in the simple meals you already cook.
Try this: Combine 1 tbs ground salt + 1/4 tsp chilli flakes + 1/4 tsp lemon zest. If using immediately, allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. (You can make a large batch and use on all types of meat, just store in an air tight jar). Slice a chicken breast length ways so it will cook more evenly. Sprinkle seasoned salt on chicken and allow to sit for 2–3 mins until the salt begins to dissolve. Grill chicken, serve with brown rice and grilled vegetables for a quick weeknight meal.
#3 — Soy Sauce
Soy sauce isn’t just for Asian cuisine and sushi. It’s often my go-to option when I’ve made a dish that doesn’t quite have enough flavour… add a dash of soy sauce (or a teaspoon of vegemite) and it’ll make your flavours pop.
Try this: Rump steak + Salt + Pepper; slap it in a HOT non stick pan for 2–3 mins, turn it over and leave for 2–3 mins, pull it off and let it rest. Then throw 90 sec packet of brown rice + cup of frozen mixed veg in the hot pan and stir for a few minutes until it’s all heated through, add a splash of soy sauce and stir. Put it all on the plate and bam… dinner in less than 10 minutes. Now don’t tell me you don’t have time to cook a healthy dinner.
#4 — Butter
Who doesn’t love a slice of crusty bread with real butter? Or those little dinner rolls with the tiny packets of salted butter you get in restaurants. I’m hungry just thinking about it. It’s true, bread and butter are the perfect pairing but that does not mean butter’s job is done. I certainly don’t advocate for using butter in every meal but on the odd occasion it makes a good meal great. Throw a knob of butter into some grilled veggies; use it instead of sauce on a piece of steak; or put a little butter in a pan with some olive oil (to stop the butter burning) and grill … well anything you like.
Try this: 1 piece of wholegrain toast + mashed avocado + salt & cracked pepper + mushrooms sauteed in butter + topped with a poached egg (if you can’t poach an egg, fry it in the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in). Tasty, balanced brekkie in less than 10 minutes.
#5 — Citrus
Lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, grapefruit… there’s so many choices and a multitude of opportunities to add some great flavour to your food. Just think, we go to the fish and chip shop and what do we add? Lemon! Every good cocktail has some type of citrus even if its just to garnish. You see… all the good food has a citrus component. Citrus is so versatile it can be used for seasoning meat and savory dishes, it’s a one ingredient salad dressing, it’s incredible in desserts (mmm lemon meringue pie) and it even helps you get rid of a cold. Next time you’re cooking a meal consider if a squeeze of citrus will add to the flavour.
Try this: Finely sliced red cabbage + finely sliced white cabbage + julienne carrots + juice of half a lime + salt & pepper. Use as a side salad with grilled meat & my potato salad, use as a garnish in pulled pork tacos, or simply stick it in a sealed container in the fridge so it’s ready for a quick lunch.
#6 — Balsamic Glaze
I don’t like salad dressings and we all know that the dressing makes the salad, so I was left in a bit of a predicament. That is, until I found the glory of sticky balsamic glaze. You can make it yourself or just buy it in the salad dressing section of the supermarket. As the name suggests, it’s sticky and it’s balsamicy but better than that, it’s sweet. I find balsamic and most other dressings to be too acidic for my taste, so balsamic glaze is the perfect middle ground. If it looks like salad, smells like salad and tastes like salad, chances are I’ll put balsamic glaze on it.
Try this: Toasted sourdough + hommus + diced tomato + diced red onion + ripped basil leaves topped with grilled halloumi + balsamic glaze = incredible bruschetta (thanks to Kylie who taught me this recipe about 5 years ago and I’ve been making it ever since).
#7 — Goats Cheese
Goats cheese is, without a doubt, my secret ingredient.
Try this: As far as I’m concerned pretty much every salad you make is boring until you top it with goats cheese… so top every salad with goats cheese.
And this: Nothing to eat for lunch? Spread goats cheese on some oat cakes (or crackers of your choice) and top with tomato, sprouts, salt and pepper.
This too: Can’t get the kids to eat their veggies? Grill some asparagus and top with goats cheese, salt and pepper.
Still going: Making a cheesecake with a cream cheese base? Substitute it for goats cheese and the slightly sour notes will balance incredibly well with whatever sweet fruit you top your cheesecake with (passionfruit all the way).
Told you it’s my secret ingredient: Add it in the last minute of cooking a risotto followed by a quick stir, then allow it to melt through during the compulsory 3 minutes resting time (if you don’t rest your risotto, you’re doing it wrong).
Just had an idea: Goats cheese is simply amazing on anything… sprinkle it on your oats in the morning along with some nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a swirl of honey. I bet it’d be damn good. I’m definitely going to try this.
There’s no actual food on this list…
Yep, I know. That’s because there are no secret foods that will suddenly make you lose weight.
If you want to lose weight and you want to keep it off long term, you have to make sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. You simply have to start eating better. To do that you need to eat lean protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and greens… and trust me, this list makes protein, carbs, healthy fats and greens taste so much better.
I’m sure going to stay at home and eat my grilled steak seasoned with salt and pepper, my mashed potatoes flavoured with a teaspoon of butter and my side salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, topped with goats cheese…. or would you prefer I leave the seasoning off, eat my boring dinner then head to the shop for a packet of chips and while I’m there I’ll pick up a tub of ice cream, a packet of chocolate biscuits and a bottle of coke to wash it all down? I didn’t think so.
The moral of the story…
My top 7 foods for weight loss are all additives from natural sources that make great food taste better… and if food that’s good for you tastes great, you’re going to eat it. Learn how to season your food, buy great produce and you’re well on your way to creating a healthier lifestyle.
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Originally published at www.tarafitnesspersonaltraining.co.uk on 11-Aug-2017.