By James Lu
NUTS such as almonds and walnuts are full of good unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help you stay full, and they are also a great source of protein.
Now, don’t be afraid that nuts and seeds contain fat; these are the good types of fat that actually help with fat loss! Both nuts and seeds help build muscles, and help you stay full throughout the day (so you won’t have a sweet tooth for the unhealthy foods). Every nut and seed has their similarities and differences, but almonds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds are your healthiest choices because of the high-nutrient balance.
OATMEAL is great in every way – it is loaded with complex carbohydrates so it can be eaten for breakfast (to fuel your body for the day), and before a workout to give you that extra boost of quality energy.
Pre-flavored oatmeal comes packed with sugar, so it is best to avoid that and go for the unsweetened kind. To make the plain oatmeal more appealing to your taste buds, add a cup of skimmed milk (or water) and a handful of berries or a sliced banana for more essential nutrients.
Oatmeal is also one of the few foods that contain fiber (recommended you get between 25-35 grams of fiber daily) which will help with energy levels and proper bowel movements. Along with its high-quality complex carbohydrates, oatmeal also contains high-quality protein, with minimal fat.
WHITE RICE contains simple carbohydrates that give you a quick, but short burst of energy whereas brown rice gives you a steady amount of energy, for a longer duration. Brown rice is LOADED with complex carbohydrates (the healthy carbohydrates!) and would be great for a post-workout meal right after a good whey supplement.
There is literally no downside to brown rice aside from it’s taste/texture (for some), but there are many great recipes available to complement its taste.
VEGETABLES are packed with high-quality nutrients and are mandatory in every diet. Every vegetable provides different vitamins and minerals, and they all contribute to the body from energy production, to preventing specific diseases and conditions.
They can be added into most of your dishes by cutting them into smaller pieces and tossing them in (broccoli in brown rice, adding greens to a sandwich, etc). Some green vegetables like broccoli are rich in fiber which provides energy throughout the day and help with specific bodily functions.
CHICKEN or any other lean meats (turkey, lean steak, beef, etc) is one of the best ways to increase your protein intake. Sticking to lean cuts will reduce the amount of fat intake, but your body needs some saturated fat to help digest specific nutrients, and it also aids in other body functions.
On the other hand, fish (tuna and salmon) are loaded with healthy fats (omega 3’s) as well as protein, so try to add a couple of servings here and there. Some meats such as beef contain creatine, which is often desired by bodybuilders that are bulking to increase size, and mass.
EGGS are sometimes thought to be unhealthy because of the high cholesterol content. However, research shows that eggs contain the highest biological value of protein (measurement of how well it supports your body), so eggs would be your best bet for a choice of protein.
By removing the yolk from the egg itself, you reduce the cholesterol and there is nothing left but quality protein for those starving muscles.
COTTAGE CHEESE is loaded with protein and an amino acid called casein that is a slow digesting protein which would be perfect for a midnight snack.
Be careful though, cottage cheese does contain other nutrients such as fat and carbohydrates (and not to mention sodium), so do not abuse the portion size, especially if you are eating it as a midnight snack.