Grocery staples for weight loss: dietitian’s advice

If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey – or you’ve been trying for years and years – it’s time to say goodbye to the usual dieting rhetoric and hello to a healthy way of eating that’s going to serve you well. Move over expensive goji berries, greens powders and coconut oil.

Here are ten truly healthy, humble, whole foods that I, as a dietitian, think are valuable assets for any long-term weight management plan.

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1. Natural, untoasted muesli

As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and a natural, untoasted muesli is a great place to start for a boost of fibre and long-lasting energy. Look for a variety with a high percentage of rolled oats and minimal added sugar and oils, and stick to just half a cup per meal to keep the portion size in check.

2. Nuts and seeds

Packed with plant-based protein, nuts and seeds are an oh-so-good-for-you addition to your pantry. Although they are high in healthy fat, and therefore calories, research has shown that eating nuts on the reg can actually help with weight loss.

3. Canned legumes

Think: beans, chickpeas and lentils. These little morsels provide the winning trio of low-GI carbs, hunger-busting protein and satiating fibre, making them a wonderful pantry staple whether you’re trying to lose weight or not. Plus, they’re perfect for #meatfreemonday and even count as veggies!

4. Peanut butter

Just like nuts and seeds, peanut butter is jam-packed with hunger-busting protein and heart healthy fats. It’s a wonderful toast topper, but can also add a boost of nutrition to smoothies and homemade banana bread.

5. Dried lentils

As a general rule of thumb, canned lentils are just as good for you as dried. I find dried lentils, however, are a little more versatile and work well in anything from soup to dhal to salad.

6. Low-sugar muesli bars

Snacking can make or break a healthy diet, so it’s important that you’ve got healthy snacks on hand, especially if weight loss is on your radar. Contrary to popular opinion, muesli bars can certainly hit the healthy snack criteria, as long you look for a bar made with minimal ingredients and less than five grams of sugar per bar.

5. Pasta

Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t eat pasta when you’re trying to lose weight – you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Sure, pasta meals can send your intake of calories and carbohydrates soaring, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a well-balanced plate of pasta. Simply stick to one cup of cooked pasta per person and ramp up the veggie content.

8. Tinned tuna

High-protein tinned tuna is an economical way to get usually expensive seafood into your diet. I love tinned tuna as a sandwich filling, in a quick mid-week stir fry or tossed through pasta.

9. Corn cakes

Corn cakes are a super easy base for a healthy dip or a little cheese and veggies. For a snack, I’d opt for three crackers and a tablespoon of hummus, and for lunch, I’d double that and add some protein and veggies (think: a couple of hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks).

10. Extra virgin olive oil

All oils contains *a lot* of calories, so you wouldn’t necessarily think they’d be key to weight loss – but here’s my perspective.

A little bit of oil in a salad dressing or on roasted veggies has a *huge* impact on flavour, and if anything is going to help you eat more of the good stuff, I’m all for it. I’d suggest a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the added benefits of disease-fighting antioxidants.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.

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