Let’s face it, doing a complete 180-degree change from what you were doing previously is really difficult. Most people do not plan properly and before they know it, they’ve lost sight of their goals and are back in their regular routine.
That’s why I encourage people to make small tweaks and changes to their lifestyle, rather than giant life shifts, in order to reach their goals. It’s these small wins that add up over time to become big changes! For many, weight loss is that big wish they’d like to see come to fruition. The problem is, they aren’t really sure where to start. Is exercise the number one component? Do they need to be on a strict diet?
The short answer to both of those is no. Yes, what you eat is the major determining factor in your weight-loss success, but finding a sustainable way to do that is of utmost importance. After all, if you can’t stick to it, it won’t work in any case. This matters with your workout program, as well. Diving into a six-day-a-week intense workout routine when you’ve been sitting on the couch over the past months isn’t going to bode well.
I talk a lot about this in my book Strong Is the New Skinny: Find something that is easy to start and will get you moving without overwhelming you. You can always build from there.
With that, I’ve got my list of the top 21 superfoods to help you jumpstart your weight loss in 2017. Add these to your meals; eat them as snacks; or replace those junk food habits with these great alternatives and you’ll be looking and feeling better in no time!
1. Bone broth
Why I like it: The collagen and gelatin in bone broth are what make it such a beneficial addition to your diet. The collagen aids in the growth of your hair, nails and skin, while the gelatin has anti-inflammatory properties for your intestines. Just one warm cup per day will yield noticeable results in just a few days’ time.
2. Black beans
Why I like it: These guys are packed full of fiber, potassium, folate and Vitamin B6, to support heart and digestive health. When paired with a lean protein, this balanced meal will be sure to satiate you for hours.
3. Pickled vegetables
Why I like it: You’ve probably eaten a pickle before, and seen other pickled veggies out there, but I bet you didn’t know that they were also really healthy for you, too! Because of the fermentation process, lactic acid is released from the veggies and produces enzymes that improve your gut health. Pickled veggies are made with vinegar, which doesn’t contain any calories, so this also makes for a great snack that won’t set you back on your diet.
Why I like it: This is another vegetable with a high concentration of beta-carotene and Vitamin A. At just 49 calories per cup, this high-volume, low-calorie food allows you to feel fuller on fewer calories than potatoes or grains. Go ahead, indulge in pumpkin everything!
Why I like it: In addition to its many health benefits, cauliflower has been the latest craze because of its versatile usage. Consumers are buying prepackaged bags of riced cauliflower and using it as a base to their favorite dishes. Others are using it to make their own pizza dough crust. There are no limits, and because it’s a vegetable, you’ll save hundreds of calories compared to the count in your regular rice and grain dishes!
Why I like it: These can be eaten as a snack or an addition to your favorite dish. They are not only packed with antioxidants, but contain the healthy monounsaturated fats that help lower the risk of heart disease.
7. Edamame noodles
Why I like it: These are just now popping up, and for good reason! These healthy noodles come with a whopping 17 grams of protein per serving. They’re also relatively low in carbohydrates, making for the perfect complement to your favorite sauce. Now you can eat pasta and get your protein in all at once.
Why I like it: With more potassium than bananas, this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) also contains the good kind of fatty acids that will actually support your body’s mechanisms for fat loss. Avocados are incredibly filling and will leave your hair and skin glowing.
9. Oat bran
Why I like it: This has the benefits of regular oats, but with 50 percent more fiber and thus more volume for the same amount of calories. Oat bran also aids in digestion; and it has more protein, calcium, iron, thiamin, phosphorus, riboflavin, magnesium and zinc than regular oats. Try oat bran in the morning or a few hours before your workout, so you can utilize the carbohydrates throughout the day.
Why I like it: This is probably one you haven’t heard of, but it’s time you do! This African fruit has six times the amount of Vitamin C that an orange does, helping to protect and boost your immune system. It also has anti-aging benefits to ward off wrinkles and other skin problems. Try these as a great addition to a healthy smoothie!
Why I like it: Studies show that drinking one to two 4-ounce glasses of wine per day can lower your risk of heart attack and heart disease. In addition, there are a high number of antioxidants in wine which will help to aid against the presence of free radicals.
12. Kidney beans
Why I like it: In addition to being a fiber-packed food, kidney beans help to prevent your blood sugar from spiking too quickly after a meal. This helps to keep your blood sugar steadier throughout the day, which is especially beneficial for anyone with diabetes or insulin resistance.
13. Green tea
Why I like it: This is a great alternative to coffee. It contains tons of antioxidants, including polyphenols and EGCG, which can help to reduce free radicals. It’s also a great energy booster that you can have in the morning with breakfast or for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.
Why I like it: In the past, eggs have gotten a bad rap for being high in cholesterol. Luckily, updated studies have shown that in moderation, whole eggs are actually a great addition to your diet. Eggs contain phospholipids which can help to reduce blood pressure, protect your memory and reduce inflammation levels in the blood. They’re also full of protein and healthy fats, which have been shown to help you stay fuller for longer.
Why I like it: Apples are not only delicious, but they’re packed full of fiber, which helps to satiate you; and because of their sweetness, they’re a great alternative to curb your sweet tooth cravings (which leads to less snacking). They’re also full of antioxidants, to battle against free radicals, which have been found to increase the risk of cancer.
Why I like it: While they may look like bananas, they are their own fruit! Plantains have less of a sweet taste than bananas and even more potassium than their look-alike fruit. Plaintains can help regulate your digestive health and boost your immune system.
17. Butternut squash
Why I like it: This high-fiber food allows you to eat a high volume of food without a high amount of calories. This is great for those with a big appetite or a sweet tooth! The high amount of Vitamin A has even been shown to give you healthier-looking skin and hair, and the presence of beta-carotene has been known to lower the risk of cancer.
18. Hot sauce
Why I like it: Made from a variety of hot peppers, hot sauce contains a plant compound called capsaican. The capsaican (which is what makes the peppers spicy) actually sends a message to your brain that you’re in pain, which triggers your brain to release endorphins. This is a natural opioid to make you feel good! In addition, the heat of the sauce revs up your metabolism so you’ll be burning calories at a faster rate. Try brands like Sinai Gourmet, which uses quality ingredients in all of its products.
Why I like it: Walnuts contain a high dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are the good kind of fat that assist in fat metabolism. They’ve also been shown to help with bone and heart health. Don’t fear the fats. As they say, you need fat to lose fat.
20. Brussels sprouts
Why I like it: While many people run in the other direction when they hear this vegetable is on the menu, I suggest you give them another shot! Brussels sprouts have a high amount of Vitamin C, which has been shown to support your vision and skin health. It also has your daily dose of Vitamin K, which improves bone health.
21. Coconut oil
Why I like it: Coconut oil’s versatility is off the charts. Its healthy fats aid in weight loss by helping your body to metabolize fat. You can use this oil to cook with, or you can mix it in with your favorite foods to add a coconut-ty flavor! Coconut oil also gives your skin and hair a shiny glow, so feel free to slather it on before bed or after a shower!