Well, happy new year everyone! Welcome to 2018. I kind of love the start of new years because everyone is always so pumped up. “New year new me!” is the rallying cry on everyone’s lips. Of course, we all know that this initial enthusiasm tends to fizzle out for many, which is a huge shame. Often, it’s because people have set themselves over-ambitious resolutions and are trying to change too much all at once. That’s exhausting. Small changes made slowly are far more likely to stick, and goals rather than resolutions are normally far more effective. One of my main goals for January is to lose a bit of weight and to support that I’m going to be really focusing on healthy eating as a mini-goal. So for those of you who are looking to do the same, I got some advice from Marina Rösser, Nutrition Specialist at Freeletics on her top hunger-beating foods to help kick-start your healthy eating goal for the new year…
I just love fatty fish. Tell me there’s a tuna steak on the menu and there is just no stopping me, while salmon makes for an easy, quick and healthy dinner and mackerel is perfect for a beetroot salad. Even better, because they’re higher fat they’re super filling. My daily fat macro is quite low to allow room for all the carbs for training, but I try to eat salmon or tuna once a week and just plan carefully around it. For those with a lower carb, higher fat macro ratio fatty fish is the dream. 150g of tuna steak (just your standard Tesco kind), for example, has an amazing macro breakdown of 1g fat, 0g carbs and 37g protein for just 161 calories. How easy is that to fit into a range of nutrition goals?!
Meal planning aside, fatty fish has loads of other benefits, as Marina explains: “Not only do these deliver the Vitamin D that you are lacking in winter due to a lack of sunshine, but they are also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which make you feel fuller for longer and are said to work with the hormones in your body that tell you to stop eating.” See, I told you they’d help you feel fuller for longer.
Ok, it’s been on everyone’s ‘superfood’ list for as long as we can remember, but the humble sweet potato is honestly one of my favourite foods. I make this awesome (if I say so myself) tray bake of chicken, onion, garlic, courgettes and sweet potato wedges with a plentiful sprinkling of paprika for an added kick. It’s such an easy dinner and it’s so delicious. Plus, if you cook with low-fat spray instead of oil you really keep that calorie count low. Again, sweet potato is super filling too, a little goes a long way. Plus, who doesn’t love having chips even when they’re dieting?
It’s those little things that feel like indulgences that go a long way towards helping you keep your goals, and Marina agrees; “Sweet potatoes contain almost double the filling fibre than ordinary white potatoes. The best thing is that in the winter, the opportunities to enjoy sweet potato are endless – bake them as fries in the oven, or add them to your colourful spicy curry to strengthen your immune system and warm you up after an outdoor training session. Whichever method you choose, you’re sure to be stuffed.”
Now, being on a high carb diet grains are a massive go to for me. Quinoa, buckwheat, wheatberries, rice and wholewheat pasta are all staples in my diet. But, Marina has a great suggestion to make those grainy favourites work even better for you: go sprouted. “There is growing research around the health benefits of sprouted grains. So far, the method of sprouting is said to not only make these grains (quinoa, spelt, whole wheat) easier to digest but also increases their essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, soluble fibre and essential amino acids. The increased fibre and longer digestion time make you feel fuller for longer on fewer calories. So instead of grabbing a loaf of white bread next time you’re craving some carbs, try baking your own using ground sprouted quinoa or sprouted spelt flour.”
Ok, I’ll admit, I’m time poor and I’m probably not going to start baking my own bread anytime soon. But I’m definitely going to be looking out for sprouted varieties of favourites. And a slice or two of sourdough isn’t going to be disappearing from my weekend breakfast anytime soon either…
My sister swears by these, and now that Marina has suggested them too I know I’ve got to get in on the action. Low in both calories and carbs (a perfect solution for those of you on lower carb diets then) they are also apparently super filling. “Made from glucomannan, a fibre that comes from the root of the konjac plant that grows in Japan, this low-carb noodle alternative is 97% water. With just 20 calories per serving, it’s a great low-calorie choice for a warming, spicy Asian dish and since the noodles move through the digestive system slowly, they leave you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to go hunting for another snack soon after.”
I’m going to start making delicious little snacks using these. I’m thinking prawns for protein, broccoli just because it’s my favourite, a boiled egg and the noodles, doused in a homemade teriyaki sauce. Whack it in a pot, chuck in your gym bag and it’s the perfect after-workout snack!
Now, you’ll probably have seen a bit of a theme in the last few suggestions and that’s fibre. Quite often we focus so much on hitting our calories and sticking to our macros that we forget how important a part fibre plays in satiety too. As Marina explained with the noodles, higher fibre foods move more slowly through your digestive system helping you to feel fuller for longer. Personally, I aim for 30g of fibre a day which is a lot! How do I make it work? Wholegrains and a tonne of fibrous vegetables. Honestly, if you saw my plates…well you wouldn’t see the plate because there’s always a green base pretty much covering the whole thing with my protein and rice/sweet potato on top. Not very photographable, but very, very filling. And when you’re trying to eat a healthy balanced diet, that’s what you want. So go overboard with that veg. Firm favourites of mine include kale, broccoli, green beans and spinach.
Marina also made a great suggestion for an alternative to cream, but I was a little loathe to include it due to my own bias. Yup, you guessed it. Nut butter. Great for most people, but not little old me with my all-encompassing nut allergy. What kind of fitness blogger doesn’t go crazy for nut butter eh?! Ah well, my workaround for that creamy texture in sauces and curries is always going to be high protein yoghurt. Both Total and Skyr are fantastic choices, I cannot get enough of them. But if you can eat nut butter then that’s a great option too! I’m just jealous really.
These are just a few, handy ideas to get you started. I’ll be thinking up some more healthy food ideas for you soon, but in the meantime, the Freeletics Nutrition App has loads of recipe and food swap ideas to get you going, as well as helping you come up with a personalised nutrition plan to follow. I really recommend it!
Let me know if you try any of these yummy, healthy ideas and even the app! As always I love to hear from you.
This post is in partnership with Freeletics. The Freeletics Bodyweight, Running, Gym and Nutrition apps can be downloaded for free in the App Store and Google Play Store. For more information about Freeletics, visit www.freeletics.com. All photo credits go to Freeletics.