Learn everything there Is to know about fItness, performance, fat loss and lifestyle from Adrian McDonnell.
When it comes to losing weight & dropping fat, is there anything more frustrating than going to bed hungry?
Or have you ever really want to eat something but you have to use every ounce of your will power to stop you?
If this describes you, then you’re not alone. I have felt this way before.
But luckily, with the help of these 9 foods below, I have found that anytime I’ve been trying to drop some bodyfat, these have helped tremendously.
It’s important to remember that not all calories (and specifically the nutrients within these calories) are created equal - they can have vastly different effects on your hunger, hormones and the number of calories you burn. I have strategically chosen nutrient dense foods which are relatively low in calories and are great for keeping you fuller for longer in between meals.
I always say, when losing fat, your goal should be to eat as much food as possible while staying within your calorie limit. I reinforce this concept in my Peak Performance Nutrition Manual.
How can this be done? Eat foods that are relatively low in calories but high in volume. High volume foods take longer to eat, fill you up more and make them a must for fat loss. These foods typically have higher fibre & protein which keep you full & satiated while keeping your overall calorie count relatively low.
Eggs are high in protein and fat and are very filling. They are nutrient dense and can be cooked in so many different ways – boiled, poached, scrambled, etc. If you are on a very low-calorie diet, you could even go one step further and remove the egg yolk. The egg whites contain the majority of the protein while the egg yolks contain the majority of the nutrients but also most of the calories.
Personally, I like to eat the yolk because calories aside, it’s very tasty! I also like to add spinach to my eggs when I scramble them to increase the micronutrient intake & most importantly, because I think it makes them nicer!
Greek Yogurt is without a doubt my favourite high-protein snack that I regularly eat. If you choose your brand correctly (I like Glenisk 0%, Liberte 0%, Skyr (Lidl), Brooklea 0% (Aldi) & Fage 0%), you’ll get an average of 10g of protein per 100g (about 2 heaped 2bsp). Not only is it high in protein, it gives you a good serving of probiotics which will help you digest your food better and may even help reduce inflammation.
I like to have a Greek Yogurt with my Saturday & Sunday morning pancakes (a ritual!), with my overnight oats or even on its own with some berries and mixed nuts. Having it regularly will allow you to keep your calories low but overall nutritional value of your food high.
Whole grain oats when cooked are very filling and contain a high amount of B vitamins. On top of this, they have lots of fibre which can help control your blood sugars.
They are very versatile how you choose to eat them, My favourites include microwaving a bowl of porridge (in water) and once cooked, adding in a scoop of Whey Protein and top with some berries. It helps satisfy my cravings while at the same time providing me with a nutrient dense meal which I usually eat post-workout to help with my recovery.
Note: Don’t mistake whole-grain oats with flavoured or refined oats. There is a big difference in both.
Lean Meats & Fish
Unprocessed meat is a weight-loss friendly food because they are so high in protein. Your average sized chicken breast contains about 170 calories. Some of my other favourite lean meats include turkey and turkey mince as well as steak mince with less than 5% fat. My favourite way to have these lean meats is by making a big ass salad or stir fry and adding all my favourite veggies, spices and flavourings. Some of my go to spices & flavourings include paprika, turmeric, Himalayan salt & cajun. When you make these stir fry’s and flavour them as you please, it means losing weight does not suck and you actually ENJOY your meals which is most important.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and trout are loaded with healthy fats, full of nutrients and high in protein. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon help reduce inflammation and I try to eat it about 2 times a week on average.
One of the things that annoys me most on the internet nowadays is people arguing over whether fruit is healthy or unhealthy. The claim is that fruit contains a lot of sugar and by eating a lot of fruit, your sugar intake drastically goes up and this contributes to weight gain.
Firstly, as Jordan Syatt would say – ‘Who ever got fat from eating fruit?’ Name me one person who is overweight solely by eating too much fruit! Like everything, moderation is key but don’t be afraid to eat fruit just because of it’s sugar count. If you just focus on the fructose (fruit sugar), you are ignoring all of the other vitamins, minerals and fibre found in fruit.
My favourite sources are berries – strawberries, raspberries and blueberries because they calorie count in them is low, they are full of anti-oxidants and they taste delicious. Watermelon is another super low-calorie fruit which you can eat a lot of with minimal calories.
Beans And Legumes
Beans and legumes have been somewhat of an eye-opener for me recently & they can be very beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight. Sources include lentils, black beans, kidney beans or even mixed beans. They are high in protein and fibre and I always add them to my stir-fry’s. If you have difficulty digesting them, soak them in water overnight. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, beans & legumes are a great way to increase your protein and carbohydrate count.
Soups are a classic example of a high volume, low calorie food which I really enjoy having around lunch time. They are super quick & convenient to have to tie you over between meals.
Note: Not all soups are created equal. Some contains lots of cream for instance and usually are much thicker in texture. I like the Avonmore vegetable (100 calorie) option the most and I like to add some chopped up chicken breasts for a protein hit to it. In general, per 100g there should be no more than about 40-50 calories on the packaging.
Potatoes – and specifically white potatoes seem to be getting a bad rap for some reason. The reason being is because they’re usually modified and cooked as fries or mashed with lots of added butter, milk and cream and therefore automatically branded as a food you should avoid.
However, boiled potatoes are one of the most filling foods you can eat and can perfectly fit into a healthy diet. There are only 80 calories per 100g of potatoes. Adding 1-2 cupped handfuls to your meals is a great way of providing your body with some good complex carbohydrates (especially if you’re active) and will help you feel psychologically satisfied.
Sweet Potatoes are also one of my favourite complex carbohydrate sources and I love to make homemade fries with them. Either way, don’t be afraid to add white or sweet potatoes to your plate.
Leafy Greens & Cruciferous Vegetables
Leafy greens are one of the best foods for fat loss. Jam packed with minerals and vitamins, they’ll help regulate your blood sugars and drastically increase the volume of your meals without majorly increasing the calories. Leafy greens include kale, spinach and lettuce. I love adding them to stir fry’s, to my scrambled eggs or loading them into my omelettes.
Cruciferous veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Like the leafy greens, they contain powerful anti-oxidants, help with your immune-function and even have some protein in them. I preferably like eating them as whole foods if I’m having them as part of my dinner but for stir fry’s & omelettes, I like to go for the frozen vegetables. Either way – fresh or frozen these are a great addition for fat loss.
When eating in a calorie deficit, the goal should be to eat as much food as possible while staying within your calorie target. A great way of achieving this is eating high volume, low calorie foods as listed below.
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Adrian McDonnell -
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