Watch your portions
You can easily manage your calorie intake by controlling how much food you eat. Portions are very important when it comes to weight loss and it is often the reason why people struggle. Your portions should be large enough to fill you and provide you with energy, but at the same time, it should also be controlled to help you to lose weight.
Luckily, your meal plan has you covered and will indicate exactly how much you need to consume.
Choose the right types of food
You have probably heard that not all calories are created equal. This is true and when you are trying to lose weight, food choices are everything. The more processed and refined a food option is, the lower the fibre, vitamin and mineral value of the food and the higher the energy density, salt or trans-fat values tend to be (in most cases anyway).
Choosing the right foods will also help you consume the right amounts as well. For example: 3 ó cups of boiled broccoli = 190kCal, 1 small packet of crisps = 190 kCal. From this example it is easy to see how the right food choices can help you. 3 ó cups of broccoli is larger in volume and will fill you up better compared to a small packet of crisps. The broccoli will also provide you with more fibre to help you feel fuller and more vitamins and antioxidants to take care of your health. On top of that you might even feel satisfied with only 2 cups of broccoli leading to an even lower energy intake.
Prepare your food the healthy way
The way you prepare food can unknowingly add a lot of calories to your meals. Choose to steam and grill foods instead of shallow frying and deep frying them. As a rule of thumb, try to avoid cooking with any traditional fats or oils. One teaspoon of oil equals 100 calories, eek!! Sauces, dressings and condiments add large amounts of calories to an otherwise healthy meal, they should be avoided as far as possible.
Sticking to our recommended food and menu options will keep you on track, without complicating your process.
So, what should you eat?
A healthy approach to eating includes a variety of foods from all food groups to provide the essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, fibre, proteins and carbohydrates needed to support optimal health. Our eating plans and recipes makes it easy for you to consume a variety of foods, making sure that you limit ‘empty’ calories while maximising the nutrient density in your meal plans.
For optimum nutrition, eat more foods from the lean proteins, fresh vegetables, salads, greens and healthy fats to support your immune system and good health, helping you to adapt to the new lifestyle choice you have made.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, plus they provide high levels of fibre. Colour and crunch are important, and fruits and vegetables that are deep green, orange or red contain the most vitamins and minerals. Vegetables are lower in energy than fruits so that is why we recommend eating lots of it to fill you up without leading to weight gain. Include lots of green leafy vegetables with most meals.
Select lean proteins
Proteins can come from both plant and animal sources, and it remains an essential component of your eating plan. Protein is important for the growth and repair of your muscles and other tissues, while being largely thermogenic. It is important to meet your protein recommendations. Eating high protein meals also has the advantage of keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Dairy provides several important nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals, and may help to improve bone density and strength, as well as supplying nutrient demand for exercise adaptation. Dairy has also been shown to promote the weight loss process.
Choose foods with healthy fats
Whilst we recommend not adding in additional fats and oils when preparing your meals, as you’ll be getting all the fat you need from the ingredients themselves, it’s also good to focus on the foods which contain naturally occurring healthy fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (plant, nut and seed oils) have the ability to balance cholesterol, benefiting our heart and vascular health. These unsaturated fats should make up most of your fat intake. Saturated fats (animal fats), might be beneficial to human health, particularly on a cellular and hormonal level, but they should be consumed sparingly. Processed and modified fats should be avoided.
Go for whole grain, unprocessed carbohydrates
Whole grains contain more nutrients and fibre than processed or refined grains. They also have a lower GI score, supporting your appetite control and improving blood sugar regulation while keeping you energised throughout the day.
Zero sugar and calorie free drinks are allowed to be consumed in moderation during the Fast Challenge.
Water is the most beneficial drink of choice as it contains no calories, preservatives or additives, and it plays a core role of assisting in hydration, metabolism, recovery and waste removal. You can add sliced fruits or freshly squeezed lemon juice to add flavour, variety and zest.
If you fancy a cuppa, 2 to 3 cups of tea or coffee a day with skimmed milk is fine but make sure you swap any sugar to sweetener and avoid all fruit juices as these contain more calories.
If smoothies are your thing, avoid preparing them yourself during the challenge due to the high levels of sugar they usually contain, instead try one of our delicious meal replacement smoothies from the range.