Filling your diet with healthy foods from all food groups helps balance your diet and maintain body weight. In general, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, selecting whole grains instead of refined grains and enjoying lean cuts of meat are all healthy options. There are a few foods in particular that can jump-start your diet, maximize your results during a workout and set you up for weight loss success.
Whole-Wheat Bread, Almonds, Apples and Beans
High fiber foods keep you feeling full for hours after you eat, which means you'll be less likely to snack throughout the day. Some foods have higher amounts of insoluble fiber, while others are higher in soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is not broken down in your body. It acts like a broom by moving food through your gut, explains MayoClinic.com. Fill your diet with whole wheat bread and almonds; both are high in insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber keeps food in your stomach for awhile, which can help prevent overeating. Apples are loaded with soluble fiber. Eat an apple between meals to keep you satisfied. Beans are another food high in soluble fiber. Tossing a few garbanzo beans on your lunchtime salad or having a side of black beans with dinner will fill you up quickly and help you eat less.
Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli
Sweet potatoes and broccoli are two vegetables that are low in calories, but loaded with important nutrients, like vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. You can add either of these powerhouse veggies to your meal, without feeling guilty. Enjoy a sweet potato with your grilled chicken at dinner, or mash it up and mix it with applesauce as a way to sneak in some extra fiber. Broccoli makes a great afternoon snack or hot side to your grilled salmon. A medium-sized 5 in. sweet potato has tons of flavor, but only 100 calories. Enjoy a 1 cup serving of broccoli with dinner, which has 55 calories.
Salmon and Tofu
Eating the right type of protein is an important part of your diet. Protein-rich foods help your body build muscle tissue, which ultimately increases your muscle mass during weight training. A 3 oz. salmon fillet provides 21 g of protein. Salmon is not only loaded with protein, it also contains healthy fats that provide additional benefits. Polyunsaturated fats, known as omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, protect your heart against irregular heartbeats, reduce your risk of heart attack and lower blood pressure, reports MayoClinic.com. Tofu is a versatile plant protein that is naturally low in fat and calories. In fact, a 1/2 cup serving contains 88 calories and less than 2 g of fat. The same serving of tofu also has more than 10 g of protein.
Yogurt and Milk
Dairy foods provide beneficial protein, but they also contain vitamin B-12. Food is metabolized, meaning broken down, with the help of B vitamins. B-12 in particular, helps metabolize protein in the food you eat, explains the Office of Dietary Supplements. You need 2.4 mcg of B-12 each day. A 1 cup serving of plain yogurt has 1.4 mcg and 8 oz. of milk provides .9 mcg. Select low-fat or fat-free versions to avoid consuming too many calories while dieting.