20 Nutrient Dense Foods to put on your grocery list

Diet plans come and diet plans go, yet one thing remains the
same. Taste and hunger are powerful forces. They’re a desire and they’re a
need. Attempting to reject that need in an effort to lose fat can only lead to
failure and disappointment. Although just about everyone would like to shed
some extra flab, at times it seems to be a near impossibility and that lean
muscular look continues to elude.
Isn’t it funny how once hunger pangs have been quelled,
that’s the time we realize the need to eat right? That’s why you hear so many people
say they’re going to start their diets tomorrow, or next week, or after the New
Year. The intention may be sincere but the days are long and when hunger sets
in, there’s only so much willpower one can muster before the cravings become
too great.
Instead of using denial as a method for staying on track, a
more effective and realistic tactic would be to adopt an eating plan that
allows you to eat good tasting food and still stay within your bodybuilding
goals. This is the premise behind many of the low carb diets. The idea of
eating steaks and cheeseburgers and rack of lamb is very appealing, yet it
becomes quickly apparent that without carbohydrates, the food choices are very
limiting which is exactly the reason why many people lose weight on low carb
diets.
With less food to choose from, the less you tend to eat —
which leads to eating less overall calories. The problem with this game plan is
what causes the downfall. Sooner or later, you just have to eat a piece of
bread or a bowl of pasta! And when you do that, the diet is blown.
A more practical approach is to stick to a variety of foods
that are filling and offer a high ratio of nutrients with the emphasis on
protein. In this way, you can apply and adhere to a more “normal”
eating lifestyle. As long as you don’t binge or eat total junk food (sweets and
snacks with empty calories), it’s possible to eat what you enjoy and as much as
you need.
The following is a list of 20 foods which fit the bill
perfectly. They’re nutrient dense and each choice is meant to serve the purpose
of either providing maximum energy or muscle building protein. They also taste
good. And let’s face it, that counts!
1) Salmon
Besides being an excellent source of protein, salmon is
abundantly rich in heart healthy omega-3 oils. Omega-3’s have been shown to
lower LDL levels (the “bad” cholesterol), improve the immune system
and help the body utilize body fat for fuel. Salmon is also high in Vitamin
B12, which helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates.
2) Oatmeal
The bran found in oatmeal helps eliminate toxins from the
digestive tract and assists in the removal of fat before it’s digested by
clinging to the fat particles and pushing them through the intestines
unabsorbed. Oatmeal can be eaten alone or added to a wide variety of foods.
Homemade oatmeal cookies with added protein makes a wholesome high protein
treat.
3) Eggs
If it were possible to concoct the perfect food, it wouldn’t
be much different from the good old egg. Eggs are pure high quality protein but
their advantages don’t stop there. The yolks, which many a health conscious
individual discards, contain mono and polyunsaturated fat (the “good”
fat) as well as a hefty dose of lecithin which helps to emulsify body fat. Eggs
also contain vital lipotropics such as DHA as well as lutein and carotenoids.
Many experts believe eggs are also anabolic due to the cholesterol content.
(All cell growth requires cholesterol). And one egg contains only 75 calories.
They’re are also extremely economical, making them a “must have” for
anyone interested in growing muscle and losing fat.
4) Broccoli
It may not be on everyone’s list of favorites, but broccoli
is one mighty nutritious food. High in vitamins C, E and A, it’s also rich in
sulforaphane which has been shown to inhibit cancer growth. Try cooking it in
olive oil and garlic and you may change your mind about the taste of broccoli.
5) Soups
Many soups contain beans and vegetables making it a filling
and nutritious adjunct to a meal or as a “light” meal all on its own.
Just watch out for canned soups which tend to have an excess of 1000mgs of
sodium per serving!
6) Salads
Sufficient roughage is a must for proper digestion when on a
reduced calorie diet. A common mistake among dieters is to eat salad without an
accompanied side dish. Lettuce is mostly water and digested quickly, leaving
you with hunger pangs shortly afterward. Salads are best with a meal because
they “take up room” in the stomach and prevent overeating.
7) Chicken
This is a no-brainer. At over ninety percent protein,
chicken is the staple of anyone looking to build muscle while keeping fat
intake low. Chicken can be prepared in countless ways, making it the most
versatile of all protein foods.
8) Whole Grain Cereals
Normally, cereal products are an inferior food — highly
processed and laden with sugar. But whole grain products such as Shredded Wheat
and bran flakes head the list of cereals worthy of consideration. It’s perfect
for a quick, low calorie breakfast.
9) Strawberries
This summer delight is a delicious way to ward off free
radical damage due to the abundance of antioxidants. Equally relevant,
strawberries are high in quercetin which promotes healing and reduces the
chance of infection. They also contain another plant chemical, anthocyanin,
which prevents against heart disease.
10) Wheat Germ
Did you know that wheat germ can be used instead of high fat
nuts as a garnish and works perfectly as a substitute in recipes that require
bread crumbs? Now you do.
11) Beef
That’s right — considered by many to be the bane of most
fat-loss programs, beef can be invaluable in helping to take off weight. The
slogan “beef satisfies” is more than a clever advertising angle. Beef
is slow to digest, leaving you with a feeling of fullness that lasts for hours
that can result in eating less overall calories throughout the day.
12) Carrots
Although carrots are a high glycemic food in that they’re
converted to sugar rather rapidly, they’re a tasty source of fiber and beta
carotene, an antioxidant which is proving to be an even more powerful free
radical scavenger than once believed. Carrots are a great choice when the
craving to eat something crunchy comes over you. Pass on the chips and pick up
some carrot sticks. When it’s time take off your shirt, you’ll be glad you did.
13) Lentils
Whether in soups, as a side dish or as a compliment to other
whole grain dishes, lentils are a tasty addition to most any meal. They’re high
in iron, folic acid and magnesium, which is vital to muscle contraction and the
maintenance of normal blood pressure.
14) Jerky
This almost falls into the “junk food” category
because jerky contains spices and preservatives. Still, with 12 grams of
protein, 4 grams of fat and only 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, jerky is
a snack with impressive macro-nutrient stats.
15) Soybeans
Toasted and salted soybeans are similar in taste and texture
to nuts. The big difference is the protein to fat ratio. Most nuts are over 75%
fat whereas soybeans are about 75% protein. They’re also high in vitamin B6 and
phytochemicals which have been recognized as beneficial to prostate health.
Don’t go overboard with soybeans, though. Although a small
amount are fine, excessive soy in its raw state may increase estrogen levels in
some people.
16) Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene which has been linked to a
reduction in prostate cancer. They’re also high in vitamins C and A. Does this
make pizza health food? That may be pushing it. Nevertheless, tomatoes in the
form of sauce, juice or in their raw state, are vital to every man’s health.
17) Bananas
Sweet and delicious, bananas are one of the highest sources
of potassium which helps regulate water balance. (Without sufficient potassium,
it’s easy to retain water which looks like fat.) Eating a banana one half hour
before a meal can help suppress the appetite.
18) Turkey
This delicious delicacy isn’t just for Thanksgiving dinner.
The biggest problem with fresh turkey is the time it takes to cook it, so save
the undertaking for a day when plan on hanging around the house and watching a
few games. Then you can count on having a high protein meal for the next three
days! Sliced deli turkey is also an excellent choice.
19) Sugar Free Pudding
Okay, so we cheated on this one. Sugar free pudding offers
no nutritional value but it’s as close as you can get to a sweet decadent treat
without all the fat, sugar and empty calories that go along with such an
indulgence. When a craving for dessert hits, sugar free pudding is the perfect
choice.
20) Meal Replacements
In many ways, meal replacements are the most obvious choice
of all in that they’re specifically designed to have a favorable nutrient to
calorie ratio. Once again, taste is a factor and that’s an area that varies
widely among the different products. Since flavor is subjective, it may take
some experimenting to find which products you prefer. At any rate, there’s no
reason to drink something you don’t like just because it’s “good for
you.” Many of today’s meal replacements taste like ice cream shakes. You
can even mix a bland protein powder with different flavorings, chocolate, fruit
flavors, etc., and make your own protein drink for a fraction of the cost. Add
creatine, colostrum or flax seed for a specialized muscle building meal.
There you have it. Twenty fabulous foods that not only won’t
blow your diet but help you have more energy and gain more muscle. There’s no
reason to starve or deny yourself good tasting food. As long as you make the
right food choices, you can enjoy eating and still get in great shape. Bon
Appetite.

About dkpilates

Pilates Instructor, Yoga Instructor, Personnel trainer and Group Fitness Instructor. Don teaches Contemporary and the Authentic forms of Pilates, in the later 90's, Don began his study of Yoga. His study of Yoga includes the Hatha, Iyengar, Bikram, and Astanga disciplines. His other areas of interest in fitness include Martial Arts, Spin, Boot Camp Training, and Weight Training. Don has extensive training and certifications from AFFA, IDEA, MadDog, B-Fit and Polestar. Don Continues his of Pilates education with Michelle Larson in Santa Fe New Mexico. His personal philosophy related to fitness is to aid students in a personalized balance of strength, stamina and flexibility. He is dedicated to design a program specifically for his students independent of the season of their life to create functional movement and help them reach their fitness goals.
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