If your weight loss has slowed, or even stopped, then there's a good chance that you haven't been.
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I'm going to end the confusion, and guessing, once and for all. In this week's column, I'm going to share my five steps to building a healthful meal. If you stick to this plan you'll know that your meals are healthful and goal supportive. And as a result, you can expect consistent, and healthy weight loss.
Here are my five steps to building a better meal:
Step 1: quality ingredients
These are the building blocks to a healthful meal. While you certainly don't need to dine in gourmet restaurants in order to ensure quality ingredients, you should pay attention to the quality of the foods you eat.
Choose foods that are:
- Fresh and locally grown
- Pronounceable ingredients
- Whole foods
Step 2: cooking method
The way a meal is cooked determines how many calories, how much added fat and the number of nutrients that survive. This simple factor will make or break your weight loss goal.
- Avoid foods prepared like this:
- Fried and battered
- Processed and packaged
- Doused with cream sauce
Choose foods that are prepared like this:
Step 3: mostly protein
The bulk of your calories should be coming from a quality source of protein. With the first two guidelines in mind, these will be high-quality and healthfully prepared.
Good choices of protein include:
- Lean red meat
Step 4: lots of fiber
Fiber is a huge part of eating healthy and being lean. Fibrous foods will fill you up while delivering vitamins and nutrient in low-calorie packages. Fill at least two thirds of your plate with fibrous vegetables.
Try these forms of fiber:
- Seasonal vegetables
Step 5: lay off the starches
Here's where many well-meaning dieters lose it. The facts are simple, in order to maintain the low-carb, high-protein diet required for healthy weight loss, there is no room for starchy foods.
Starches to avoid:
- Rice and cereal
- Bread and crackers
For faster results, pair your clean eating with a challenging, progressive exercise program. The fast track to steady weight loss is the knockout combination of supportive nutrition, and hard training. Build better, more supportive meals, and you'll see better results than ever before.
Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer and co-owner of Home Team Fitness LLC. Go to www.hometeamfitness.net for more information.