A healthy plate for weight loss and good health

Proper nutrition plays a major role not just in weight loss but in good health. Working out like the gym is about to go out of existence then spending the rest of the day eating food that are unhealthy will bring you result – but not the one you may expect if good health or weight loss is your goal.

For you to get the best out of your workout and weight loss goal you have to know what to eat and the right quantity. Whenever you look at your plate, ask yourself

Where is the grain?

Where is the protein?

Where is the vegetable?

Where is the fruit?

Where is the fat and oil?

Where is my drink?

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Each time you eat, it is important that you have all this food groups in the right quantity. It might seem like a lot to do but if you follow this step, you will find that it is easier than you think.

A healthy plate should have the following;

½ of your plate is vegetable and fruits

¼ of your plate is protein

¼ of your plate is grain

Why do you need these foods and how will they help you lose weight? Let’s find out

Vegetables

vege

Quantity – ½ of your plate

Vegetables are a great way to give your body the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs for good health with minimum calories for weight loss. The antioxidants in vegetables helps the body to cope with oxidative stress. Oxidation can cause inflammation and inflammation is one of the causes of unwanted belly fat.

When eating vegetables choose as many color as possible. Do not limit yourself to any particular vegetable. Explore till you find the ones you absolutely love.

 

Types

Cucumber

Cabbage

Bell peppers (red, green and yellow pepper

Carrot

Tomato

Lettuce

Pumpkin

Asparagus

Kale

Water leaf

Mushroom

Benefits

They are filling and low in calories

The vegetables with color contain which may protect the prostate for men and help in reducing the buildup of plaques in the artery.

It helps in stabilizing blood sugar level

Vegetables are rich in fiber which can aid in digestive health and regular bowel movement

Tips

Do not cook vegetables till they become limp. When you add them to already cooking food, leave the pot open to retain the green color. Stir and bring it down. Cooking time should be between 10 – 30 seconds maximum. If you add the vegetables to already cooking food bring it down as the heat inside the food will cook it. Aim for a crisp vegetable not a limp and soggy vegetable. Buy vegetables in season. Yellow vegetables should be discarded.

 

Fruits

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Fruits contain minerals, loads of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. That is good news, but if they are not eaten with caution, they may lead to weight gain as they also contain carbohydrates and calories.

Fruits

Watermelon

Apple

Orange

Guava

Grapefruits

Banana

Mango

Cashew

Lemon

Strawberries, blueberries

Paw paw

Pineapple

Avocado pear

 

Benefits

The fiber in fruits make you feel fuller for a longer time and helps unclog your digestive system

Some fruits like water melon and cucumber has a high level of water content. This helps in detoxification and regular bowel movement

Fruits with color including water melon, carrot strawberries and blueberries contain antioxidant and lycopene

Tips

Fruits re good for you but for you to lose weight, you have to indulge with caution. A big ripe banana has as much as 100 calories. The body can store excess fructose from fruits as fat.

Eat fruits that are in season.

 

Protein:

protein

Quantity – ¼ of your plate

Every cell in your body uses and needs protein to function properly. They are constantly broken down and must be replaced through your food. When it is not replenished you run the risk of muscle loss and weight fluctuation. Lack of protein can lead to a condition known as kwashiorkor. People like this have a bigger head, bloated stomach and skinny limbs.

Benefits

Protein improves muscle mass,

Stabilizes blood sugar

Boosts immunity

Slow wound healing

Helps you feel full faster and for a longer time.

Types

Fish

Beans

Legumes

Nuts and seeds

Eggs

Meat and

Dairy – including yogurt and cheese

Poultry

Tip: Consciously add protein to your food and eat in small quantities throughout the day. Eat a variety of protein for maximum benefits.

Fats and oils:

pear

Fat is necessary in the body for weight loss and good health.

Benefits

Fat aids in weight loss

It improves metabolism

It leads to better reproductive health

It helps in hormone balance

It is a source of energy

It protects and cushions your vital organs

It is more filling and helps curb hunger which is an aid in weight loss

Helps with building muscle and lean tissue

Helps in burning abs fats

The important thing about fat is the type of fat you are eating. There are healthy and unhealthy fats and oils.

Unhealthy fats

unhealthy-fat

  • Saturated fat raises cholesterol level and is a risk factor in heart disease and Type 11 diabetes. It is found in meat and full fat dairy products like full cream milk.
  • Tran’s fat: This is the unhealthiest fat and should be avoided totally. Tran’s fat is also called hydrogenated fat. Most store bought and prepackaged cookies contain trans-fat. Margarine, butter are also trans-fat. Trans fat can easily be recognized by this 1 quality: they are solid in room temperature

Healthy fats

healthy-fat

  • Omega -3: His is found in flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, groundnuts and cashew nuts. They are especially good in protecting the heart and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Monounsaturated fatty acids MUFA: This is found in olive oils, avocado pear. It decreases your risk of heart disease and helps to stabilize you blood sugar.
  • Polyunsaturated Fatty acids PUFA: This is found in coconut oil, soya oil and groundnut oil. MUFA and PUFA are liquid in room temperature.

Margarine and unhealthy oils are best avoided. Groundnut oils give of groundnut aroma when heated a little and is more costly than the unknown stuff in bottles in the market that turn to block in cold weather, and has to be heated before selling.

Grains:

grain

Quantity – ¼ of your plate

Whole grains not the processed stuff is good for you.

Benefits

Whole grains reduces the risk of heart disease

It aids in weight loss

It contains fiber that helps you to feel full and keeps you regular

They contain minerals and vitamin

They are low in fat

Types

Oatmeal

Whole wheat

Millet

Popcorn

Barley

Rice

Drink:

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take at least 8 glasses of water a day

Water and tea that is unsweetened is the best. Juicing your vegetable and fruit is not really a great idea. When you juice, you remove the fiber and drink just the juice. This gets absorbed in the body quickly and may spike your blood sugar. In place of juicing, make fruit and vegetables smoothies that are refreshing and still loaded with fiber for weight loss.

Lifestyle: Although eating right is not part of your plate but it plays a vital role in weight loss and good health. Exercise should be a lifestyle not something you do at the beginning of the year or when there is a challenge. Make it part of your life. Make out time. Being busy is no longer an acceptable excuse. There is something you can still do on your own.

For your next meal, make sure all the food groups are there in the right quantity. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce the size of your plate but still observe the ½, ¼, ¼ principle.

I will like to hear from you. Leave your comments below

 

Author: Nkeoma DND Agu

Nkeoma DND Agu is a certified personal, group, and corporate fitness trainer. She is also a certified fitness and nutrition coach. She has been in the fitness industry for more than 10 years. She holds certification with one of the highest certifying bodies in fitness and wellness in USA, National Exercise and Strength Training Association (NESTA) She is the Director of Bellisima Fitness And Health Studio Ltd. She helps individuals and corporate bodies in Nigeria and all over the world to achieve personal and company fitness and health goals.

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