Sounds weird right? How can one possibly stay in great shape or even maintain without a daily dose of exercise? I used to think the same until the time I couldn’t workout anymore. For two weeks I suffered a back injury which made me incapable of doing any exercise whatsoever. It was hard enough to sit and the only time I felt good was when I would lie down. I had been showing symptoms of sciatica.
Knowing the fitness freak that I am, it was not a surprise to find me worrying about – “How am I going to workout now? How will I maintain myself? What will I do if I gained weight?”. All the negative thoughts began consuming me until I decided to look at my situation differently. I told myself, “Pallavi, you have been working out way too much and your body is asking for some break. You could use this time to focus on other aspects of fitness and staying healthy – diet.”. And I immediately started researching, more than ever, about foods I could eat to give me energy, but at the same time help me keep the pounds off. I went on some serious grocery shopping and revamped my refridgerator. Here are my 8 super foods I heavily integrated into my diet:
1). Spinach: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. And the biggest reason I integrated it into my diet was because it was one of the prime cancer preventative food items. I added it to my stir fry, salad or sometimes even the protein shake. Here’s a recipe for Spinach Shake: http://mealsandmovesblog.com/2013/01/06/a-super-powered-spinach-shake/
2). Berries: Any type is great – blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc. They are extremely high in vitamin C, anti-oxidants and taste absolutely yummy. I integrate them everyday in my breakfast. Mix in some greek yogurt, honey, almond shavings and granola with flax seed, and gobble it all up.
3). Snap Peas: I had no idea how great they tasted by themselves. Snap peas are incredibly high in vitamin C, are good sources of vitamins K and A, folate, iron and manganese. All of that great nutrition comes with dietary fiber, no fat and very few calories. Whenever I am craving the crunchy feeling, instead of reaching out to a bag of chips, I reach out to these. I dip them in some hummus, and they make for some truly delicious snack.
4). Almonds + Walnuts: Your diet isn’t complete without them. Nuts are known to be number one super food items that help you lose weight. This food is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Magnesium and Manganese, and a very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol). They are extremely high in dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts are known to great food item for preventing cancer.
5). Green Tea: Eventhough Green Tea is more of a beverage, my list would be incomplete without it. I cannot emphasize enough on the important of green tea. Green Tea is extemely high in polyphenol which is an anti-oxidant that kills free radicals in the body, making the body less susceptible to degenerative diseases like cancer, etc.
6). Broccoli: It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Selenium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
7). Chicken: High source of protein and a great way to lose weight. Grilled chicken is the healthiest and tastiest way to consume them. I always add chicken breast to my stir fry, in order to balance out the carbohydrate and protein ratio.
8). Quinoa: No wonder they call it the golden grain! It is a superbly high in protein and a great substitute for rice.
a). Integrate food items from all the different food groups.
b). Avoid “white” or bleached food items: white bread, white rice, etc.
c). Eat the size of your fist. Smaller portions is key.
d). Eat quite frequently, preferably 5 to 6 meals a day.
e). Stay away from fried and canned items. Cook natural food as much as you can.