More healthy fats and protein, less carbs and processed foods
A common approach to weight loss is to decrease carbs and processed foods while increasing healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
This approach is believed to positively affect a weight-loss program for a few different reasons. Firstly, proteins and healthy fats take much longer to digest than carbs, which digest in less than half the time as protein and fat take to digest. This means that carb-heavy foods and meals make you feel hungrier again more quickly since they digest at a faster speed. Healthy fats and protein rich foods keep you fuller for longer, thus decreasing the amount of food you eat per day. They also aid in fat-loss and muscle building, as well as increasing your metabolic rate. Plus, the decrease of carbs is associated with decreased insulin levels. With decreased insulin levels, the body starts to burn through its own fat reserves for energy, a process known as ketosis, which ultimately leads to weight loss.
Keeping nutrient rich, protein filled, healthy-fat-full snacks and meals available in your home helps keep your weight loss journey on track and helps to avoid unplanned junk-food binges or making unhealthy food choices. and staying on track to avoid over eating.
Knowing the right foods to eat to keep the momentum of your weight loss journey going strong is one of the key factors of staying in the right direction towards making progress.
Here are 50 simple, low-carb, healthy snack and meal ideas made from real, whole, and natural foods:
- An avocado with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Carrot and celery sticks with hummus.
- Turkey and cheddar cheese roll-ups.
- Tuna and egg omelette.
- Plain, full-fat yogurt with a handful of raspberries and a drizzle of honey.
- Roasted cauliflower drizzled in olive oil with Parmesan cheese.
- Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.
- Cut up raw vegetables with homemade guacamole.
- Broccoli and cheese dip.
- Zucchini boats with bacon and cheddar.
- Baked Parmesan crisps.
- Ground beef, sauteed onions and peppers, cauliflower casserole bake.
- Cheesy stuffed mushrooms.
- A handful of sunflower seeds.
- A handful of roasted almonds.
- Bacon-wrapped dates.
- Pepperoni slices with cheese cubes.
- Tex-Mex style stuffed bell peppers, with ground beef, cheese, and spices.
- Cottage cheese with a handful of blueberries.
- Homemade cacao powder and coconut oil chocolate truffles.
- Roasted sweet potato crisps.
- Tomato slices with goat cheese and fresh Italian herbs.
- Almond butter on rice cakes.
- Oven baked chicken breasts with cauliflower and brussels sprouts with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Bacon-wrapped artichoke hearts.
- Olives with feta cheese cubes.
- Avocado slices on a tomato and cheese frittata.
- Turkey jerky.
- String cheese.
- A handful of walnuts with dried fruit.
- Celery sticks with cashew butter.
- A baked sweet potato with a dollop of sunflower seed butter.
- Hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper.
- Egg salad wraps, using lettuce leaves as the wraps.
- Tex-Mex style tacos with lettuce wraps, ground beef, cheese, and sauteed peppers and onions.
- Cauliflower rice with coconut curry sauce and sauteed chicken.
- Meatballs baked in tomato sauce.
- Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and lemon, garlic chicken.
- Cheesy twice-baked cauliflower.
- Eggplant Parmesan.
- Dark chocolate with a spoon of almond butter.
- Homemade trail mix: almonds, walnuts, dark chocolate pieces, raisins, coconut flakes.
- Avocado, cucumber smoothie with mint leaves.
- Kale chips.
- Fresh veggies with tzatziki dip.
- Smoked salmon with cucumber slices.
- Caprese salad: fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, tomato slices, a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil.
- A wedge of brie cheese.
- Nori seaweed wraps with raw veggies, nut butter, and a squeeze of lemon.
- Sauteed sardines.
Keeping healthy foods on hand
The key to staying on track with your eating plan is to make sure that your house is stocked full of healthy, nutritionally dense foods at all times. Not being prepared can result in eating unhealthy snacks and foods that you are normally trying to avoid and can set you back from your weight loss goals.
Make sure that the majority of foods you are eating come from the natural and produce sections of the supermarket. When you go to the grocery store, aim to buy foods around the outer perimeter of the store, as this is where meats, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products are found. The “inner” section of the grocery store mainly sells packaged and processed foods which should be avoided during a weight-loss program.
This is not to say that all pre-packaged foods and snacks are bad, but it is important to read the ingredients before you decide to buy. Make sure that any packaged snacks contain ingredients that you can pronounce and identify; otherwise, it is likely that you are choosing an item that contains chemically-processed ingredients that could be counterproductive to your diet. Some examples of healthy pre-packaged low-carb snacks include:
- Natural, organic turkey (or beef, or any other meat) jerky
- Organic, roasted edamame
- Roasted chickpeas
- Roasted seaweed
- Dark chocolate
- Trail mixes
Otherwise, aim for snacks that are natural or easy to put together, like celery sticks with almond butter, or cheese and turkey roll-ups.
Let healthy snacking be fun and simple
Snacking healthfully doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming. As long as you have an idea of what natural, healthy, and weight-loss supporting foods to have on-hand, you can snack freely and easily in your home in a way that will aid in burning fat without straying from your dieting goals.
While there is no “secret” to weight loss, one big step in getting to where you want to be is making sure that you are eating the right amount of natural, nutritionally dense foods.
Keep meals simple
Pinterest and Google are filled with creative recipe ideas for anyone on a weight-loss program. But don’t let all of the complex recipes scare you away from staying on track with your weight loss plan. While all of the new recipes you find online can be a fun way to get creative with your new diet plan, it’s also not the only way to stay on track with your meals. Eating simple, natural foods is really the main goal, and it doesn’t always need to involve a meal that takes over an hour just to prepare. Short on time? Throw some chicken breasts into the oven in a pan with some olive oil, carrots, brussels sprouts, and diced sweet potatoes. There are countless easy one-pot or one-pan meals that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes and are just as nutritionally dense as all of the fancy recipes found on Pinterest and Google.