I’ve talked about what to eat before, but when eating well it can be hard to know where to start with packaged foods. As I’ve mentioned before the food industry bombards us with messages of ‘low fat’ and ‘diet’ foods as though these are synonymous with healthy foods. However, often this is just a way of saying that the fat has been replaced by sugar or chemicals.
When thinking about what to eat when trying to lose or maintain weight healthily there are two real questions
– 1. Will this food help or hinder my fat loss goals?
2. Is this food healthy?
Will this food help or hinder my fat loss?
Metabolic Effect have a great simple rule which works out the first part of this. There is a video here to explain or follow the steps below.
Step 1 – Look at the label of the packaged food and find the nutritional information for one portion.
Step 2 – identify the number of grams of carbohydrates, protein and fibre
Step 3 – start with the number of grams of carbohydrate and take away the number of grams for protein and fibre (carbohydrates – fibre – protein). If the number is less than 10, the food is ok to eat in moderation. Minus numbers are best.
Step 4 – take a look at the salt and fat as these also have an impact. Ideally, you need fat to be less than 15g and salt less than 200mg.
Is this food healthy?
When deciding if a food is healthy or not the easiest way is to look at the ingredients on the label. If there is anything you don’t understand or sounds like a chemical this always sounds alarm bells for me. At best it’s probably an ingredient our body doesn’t need, at worst one that will do it harm. For example I avoid all artificial sweeteners. Even if they have been approved for use in food I don’t feel the need to take the risk as my body doesn’t need them.
Top Swaps for Your Favourite Treats
Here are a few examples of foods from the UK, which can make a great treat without completely derailing your goals.
|Instead of…||Try…||ME Label Rule||Comments|
|Crisps||Clearspring Sesame Crackers||8 for half a bag|
|A bar of chocolate||Nakd Pecan Pie Bar||7 for one bar||Be careful as not all|
|Jam||Moose Maple Butter||3 for two teaspoons||Try this on my protein pancakes. Delicious!|
|Cinema popcorn||Propercorn lightly salted||8 for a 20g bag||If you can tolerate dairy try the sweet coconut and vanilla flavour|
|Chocolate truffles||Booja Booja Hazelnut Crunch Truffles||2 for one truffle||These are dairy and gluten free and are simply amazing. Try to keep to one or two as a treat though as they are relatively high in fat.|
|Cream||Coyo Yoghurt or Total Greek yoghurt||-10 and -3 respectively||Coyo is relatively high in fat but this is largely healthy fat from coconut and is dairy free.|
|Flapjack||Trek Protein Flapjack||10 per bar||This does contain soya which I try and avoid so you need to decide if you are happy to eat soya or not.|
Do you have any favourite treats which aren’t covered? Let me know and I’ll see if I can find a better alternative.
Click here to download the guide as a photo to save.