According to a recent report in The Times, around one third of Britons have put on weight during lockdown, due to inactivity and an over-reliance on the fridge or food cupboard. However, transformation can happen really quickly if you set yourself some goals, and most importantly, choose the right foods.
Clinical nutritionist, Suzie Sawyer, shares her five favourite foods for getting yourself and your weight back on track.
High in protein, eggs contain all the essential amino acids, and keep you feeling fuller for longer, helping you resist the urge to snack. Eggs are also low in calories with around 70 to 90 per egg, depending on how you cook them. Hard-boiled or poached are better choices than scrambled or fried.
Eggs can play a key role in your post-lockdown eating plan. Starting the day with an egg-based breakfast will keep blood sugar levels balanced and help banish cravings. They also deliver plenty of key nutrients, especially folate and vitamin A, and a little vitamin D.
Many people avoid oily fish when trying to lose weight because they look at fat content. However, salmon is one of the richest sources of the essential and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These help boost metabolism as well as provide plenty additional benefits, especially for the skin, heart and joints.
Importantly, salmon is high in protein with around 22 grams per portion, so you’ll maintain muscle mass, which keeps the body metabolically active.
The word ‘potato’ generally conjures up thoughts of starchy carbs. However, sweet potatoes are quite different to ordinary potatoes in that they contain much less starch and have no negative effect on blood sugar levels.
Indeed, sweet potatoes help balance blood sugar, making them great for weight loss. Plus, they’re rich in beta-carotene – a powerful antioxidant which is turned into immune-boosting vitamin A in the body as needed.
Although all fruits contain sugar, apples are higher in fructose, which needs to be broken down in the liver. This means that blood sugar spikes don’t occur in the same way as when you eat cakes or biscuits. Importantly, apples are really high in a particular type of fibre called pectin, which helps to promote feelings of fullness.
Apples make great portable snacks but are also delicious sliced and added to salads for that extra crunch and sweetness.
One of the main reasons for including natural yoghurt in your diet is because it’s rich in probiotics, which help improve the function of your digestive system. Probiotics balance the natural friendly flora in the gut that are so essential for overall good health. Choose varieties that have active cultures but avoid sweetened yoghurts, as you’ll be eating additional unwanted calories.
It’s important to choose the full-fat variety, as most-low fat yoghurts contain sweeteners, which upset blood sugar balance even though they may still be low in calories. Additionally, full fat natural yoghurt helps keep you feeling fuller for longer and is a great source of bone-loving calcium.
If you want a change from an egg-based breakfast, then having some natural yoghurt with berries or sliced apple is a great way to start to the day and you’ll be getting your weight-loss journey off to a flying start.
And lastly, what you drink is important as dehydration can cause water retention, making weight loss harder; ensure you’re drinking at least 1.5 litres of water daily. Additionally, green tea has a known thermogenic effect, meaning it uprates the body’s metabolism. Try to drink three cups a day.
So, with a little planning and resolve, your waistline will soon be back to its pre-lockdown measurements.