What foods should you eat to stay a healthy weight?

By Krista Harris | 11 February 2022
5 Minute Read
By Cath Chang of Fuel Coffeehouse + Kitchen

Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Not everyone needs to pursue weight loss, however the reality is that many Instinct clients want to work towards healthy eating to feel their best or to shed a few pounds.

With so much advice and seemingly conflicting ‘diets’ out there, how do you know what will work for you?

Coupled with regular movement, your diet can affect your health outcomes. If losing or maintaining weight is your goal, what foods should you incorporate into your lifestyle this year? 

Here is Fuel’s simple guide to some of the foods that can support a healthy weight loss journey, according to science…

  1. Whole eggs

Although a high intake of eggs may raise the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in some people, eggs are one of the best foods to eat if you’re looking to reach or maintain a healthier weight. They are nutrient-dense and because they are high in protein and fat, they help you feel full for longer. So versatile, they can be scrambled, poached, boiled or have you tried our protein pancakes or omelette muffins? Both will help you feel satiated for longer than a bowl of cereal for example, so will help combat the urge to overeat later in the day.

  1. Leafy greens

Ever wondered why we add spinach to everything in Fuel or have you tried our daily greens smoothie packed with kale and other goodies? Leafy greens include kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and a few others.

Greens have several properties that make them perfect for reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. For example, they pack fibre and nutrients that keep you satiated and hydrated. We grow them in the Fuel garden – long growing season and therefore always to hand.

  1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and tuna are incredibly nutritious, satisfying and loaded with high quality protein, healthy fats, and various important nutrients. Salmon for example is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation and iodine, necessary for proper thyroid function, important to keep your metabolism running at optimum levels.

  1. Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and the marmite of the vegetable world brussels sprouts! Like other vegetables, they’re high in fibre and tend to be incredibly filling. They also surprisingly contain decent amounts of protein

A combination of protein, fibre, and low energy density (low calorie content) makes cruciferous vegetables the perfect foods to include in your meals if you want to lose weight.

  1. Chicken breast and some lean meats

Whilst there is much conflicting research, most scientists and nutritionists would agree that a high intake of red and processed meats, could lead to a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, premature death, and heart disease. Need we say more? Stick to lean meats such as chicken where you can (a few fist size portions a week) and explore other sources of protein too such as fish, pulses, nuts, seeds and dairy products, Mix it up!

  1. Potatoes and other root vegetables

Potatoes and other root vegetables have several properties that make them wonderful foods for weight loss and optimal health. They contain an incredibly diverse range of nutrients — a little bit of almost everything you need. We love the flavour and texture of sweet potatoes and add them to a lot of the Fuel specials!

  1. Beans and legumes

Beans and other legumes can be beneficial for weight loss. These include lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and some others. Add them to soups, chilli, curries or salads.

  1. Homemade Soups

Soup can be a delicious way to increase your intake of vegetables and whole grains, which you may not get enough of otherwise. Stick to homemade, non creamy varieties – our favourites are chicken and orzo, mushroom, tomato, lentil and basil or Thai vegetable – so versatile!

Between the slurping, smelling, tasting, cooling, and chewing, soup takes most people longer to eat than other foods. Eating slowly helps you eat mindfully. It could also help keep you from eating past fullness.

Feeling satisfied and nourishing your body while listening and responding to your body’s hunger and fullness cues are important in reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.

If you would like a richer soup, there are ways to increase its creaminess without the use of heavy cream- try blending in avocado or cashews instead. 

  1. Cottage cheese/Full-fat Greek Yoghurt

Dairy products tend to be high in protein. Whilst not everyone loves cottage cheese it is one of the most protein-rich dairy products out there. We throw full-fat Greek yogurt into a lot of dishes too. Greek yogurt is especially great for weight management, as it has twice the amount of protein as regular yogurt. Fuel also cultivates its own kefir (fermented milk drink rich in probiotic bacteria with many associated gut health benefits) – add some to your smoothie next time you are in.

  1. Avocados

Avocados are unique fruits. While most fruits are high in carbs, avocados are instead loaded with healthy fats. Despite being mostly fat, avocados also contain a lot of water and fibre, making them greatly satiating. They also help your body absorb antioxidants and vitamins and contain important nutrients, fibre and potassium. They are energy-dense however so be mindful of portion control.

  1. Nuts

Nuts are high fat foods that also provide you with protein, fibre, and other plant compounds that benefit heart health. They make excellent snacks and can improve metabolic health and promote weight loss. Little and not too often though if you want to lose weight.

  1. Whole grains

Oats, brown rice, and quinoa are all fantastic sources of fibre – we love a Tabbouleh salad or Oats and Chia breakfast pot.

  1. Chia seeds

I am unapologetically boring and bang on about chia seeds being among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain 12 grams of carbs per ounce (28 grams), nearly 10 grams of which are fibre. They are low carb, high fibre and turn gel-like in your stomach which keeps you feeling full for longer. Win, win. I challenge all Instinct clients to try a chia pot for breakfast and if you feel hungry by lunchtime, I’ll give you another one free!

They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to support weight management. 

The bottom line

Many foods are delicious, nutritious, and supportive of your goals to reach or maintain a healthier weight. These are mainly whole foods like fish, lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Some minimally processed foods, such as probiotic yogurt and oatmeal, are also excellent choices.

Along with moderation and regular exercise, eating these nutritious foods should help pave the way to a healthy life. Remember we are always here to share recipes and ideas too.

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